Thursday, December 01, 2005

It's been a Harry Potter couple of weeks



Rupert takes the broomstick in sixth ‘Harry Potter’ film
By Ruben V. NepalesInquirer News Service Editor's Note: Published November 27, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

LOS ANGELES—WHEN WE RECENTLY wrote about our London interview with Daniel Radcliffe, we promised to write next about his “Harry Potter” co-star, Rupert Grint.

We found out that Rupert had a lot of fans from girls around the world, including Filipinas! Many of them e-mailed to make sure I would deliver on my promise.

So now we are writing about the red-haired Rupert who is excited about his turn to fly on a broomstick and play Quidditch in the next film in the wildly popular series, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” (due out June 2007). EDITOR'S NOTE: SNIFFLE. FAR TOO FAR AWAY.

While Daniel is confident and articulate, Rupert is shy—which is an appealing quality to many girls. They also love his hangdog expression and his other trademark facial reactions, a combination of scared, worried and what’s-this? look. That grimace or stumped look has endeared him and his character, Ron Weasley, to young fans everywhere.

At the Claridges Hotel in London, the young actor reacted with those various expressions
to the questions at our press con with him. When a female reporter asked Rupert what he liked in girls and he seemed bashful, the writer prodded him by inquiring if he liked big breasts. The question definitely elicited that smiling, oh-my-Gawd look from him. EDITOR'S NOTE: AS WELL IT SHOULD. JEEZ FOLKS, HE IS STILL KIND OF A KID, HUH?

Wearing a blue shirt and jeans, he appeared taller than the last time we saw him on the set of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” last February. He brought a bottle of Coke which he later drank in a glass between poses for our photographers. Shoulders stooped, he spoke in a very soft voice, often resorting to “um…” between sentences.

Are you doing films other than the “Harry Potter” series?
I’ve just finished “Driving Lessons.” I did this movie after “Goblet of Fire.” It’s a comedy which I quite enjoyed doing. Laura Linney is in it. I definitely want to continue doing more stuff like that.
Do you tend to look for a character that is different from Ron Weasley?
I did another film after the first Harry Potter film called “Thunderpants.” My character was completely a geek. I am not really worried about getting labeled like that at the moment. I’m having a really good time playing Ron.

What do you do when you’re not filming?
I’ve started playing golf. I’m also learning to drive a car at the moment and that’s taking up quite a lot of time.

If you were not an actor, what would you like to be?
I am not sure. I really do love acting now ... but I remember when I was a lot younger that I always wanted to be an ice cream man. EDITOR'S NOTE: YEAH.....NOT THE INTELLECTUAL THAT DANIEL RADCLIFFE IS. I THINK THESE TWO WERE RATHER WELL CAST, HUH?

What are you attracted to in girls?
A good sense of humor…

(Laughter) Okay, yeah. You can say that, yeah.

Do you play any musical instrument?
I have a guitar but I don’t know how to play it yet. Definitely I want to learn. I like rock at the moment. I like AC/DC—they’re cool—and Killers.

Has your success in “Harry Potter” changed your family’s standard of living? Perhaps you have moved to a castle? EDITOR'S NOTE: THESE INTERVIEWERS ARE DOWNRIGHT RUDE.
I suppose it has, a little bit. I don’t know about a castle but it’s not bad, yeah.

Do you still go to the same school? How are your studies?
When I was in school, I always went to the same one. Now, I’m a bit older and I’ve left school. I can always go back and take up art in the future.

In this movie, Harry Potter has dreams and nightmares. Do you remember your dreams?
I do sometimes remember them, yeah. I tend to have really surreal dreams.

How often do you and the main cast see each other?
When we’re filming, we see each other every day. This one took about a year to make. I play golf occasionally with the twin brothers in the film.

Do you play pranks on each other?
In the early days we did, yeah, but now we’re a bit more mature.

What do you have in common with Ron?
We both come from a big family and we both hate spiders. And we both have ginger hair.

And what do you have in common with Daniel?
Obviously, the physical things that change, like our voice. We have the same sense of humor. We muck about occasionally.

Not everybody gets to dance with the great Maggie Smith. What was that like?
I was a bit scared about that but it turned out to be quite fun. We had a choreographer on the set.

Stanislav Ianevski: Proud to be Bulgarian


Exclusive Interview: 28 November 2005, Monday.

Stanislav Ianevski, the Bulgarian-born star from "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire", answered the questions of international media hours before the movie's premiere in Bulgaria. SNA presents to you an account of the press conference and Ianevski's opinion on Bulgaria, love, sports and more.

Q: How did Stanislav Ianevski become Viktor Krum?
A: It happened by accident, I was found. I was late for registering for my college where I studied and while I was trying to explain why I had been late when I met Fiona Weir, one of the casting directors of the movie, and she noticed me and invited me for a casting the same afternoon. I went and they tested me for about half and hour. We talked about the movie and about Bulgaria a lot. Afterwards I received a callback for two more casting sessions, but I couldn't attend neither because I had exams, so I had no real expectations. However I received a call, and not a very nice one, because they were mad at me for not showing up. I went to see them again and I met Mike [director Mike Newell], and got the part.

Q: How did you feel in the first shooting days among the three stars, who have already made three successful movies?
A: At first we were introduced to the world of Harry Potter in a very special and warm way, we had two weeks of playing together in order to get to know each other. As for the first shooting day, we were in the labyrinth and everything there is very scary, everything moves and you live it exactly the way you see it in the movie. I wanted to impress Mike and prove to him that I was really the best for the part, so naturally I was worried.

Q: And what about the stars and their attitudes towards the rest?
A: The movie is very special because it works with a lot of kids. So every actor from every age goes down to a level where everybody understands each other that helps a lot and creates an atmosphere of a family. We helped each other, and all the newcomers, naturally had lots of questions for the ones that had already taken part in the movies. They are great professionals at what they do and helped us a lot.

Q: Was there something in the movie you were especially proud of?
A: Firstly, I am most proud of the fact that there is a Bulgarian presence in the movie. Also Viktor Krum is the best quidditch player in Harry Potter's world, which is also something to be proud of.

Q: Was there something that didn't make it to the movie?
A: I had training for a special dive in the water from a very high cliff, which was very hard, because I've never trained diving before. However it is understandable, as movies frequently get cut for time issues, and in this one there are a tremendous amount of new characters that have to be introduced, many things were cut out. When the DVD comes out these things will be there so everyone could see them. EDITOR'S NOTE: FROM YOUR MOUTH TO THE DVD ASSEMBLERS' EARS, MR. KRUM!

Q: How did shooting the movie change you?
A: Personally I think I am the same as I was two years ago but with small changes. Being famous is one thing, but representing Bulgaria to the world is quite a big responsibility. I assumed this responsibility by starring in the movie. I hope that I did it justice.

Q: You must feel like a star already. How do you handle security measures and the fans' attention?
A: I wouldn't say I'm feeling like a star yet. I have no problems with the security and hope not to have them in the future. I feel comfortable around the bodyguards.

Q: Yesterday you met your Bulgarian fans, was it exciting?
A: It was incredible, I felt like I was at the London premiere among Bulgarian fans, which is a great honor to me. Knowing that I am supported by the Bulgarians is important. There were over 2,500 children there and that was great. EDITOR'S NOTE: PRETTY SAVVY OF THE HP POWERS-THAT-BE TO GET A REAL BULGARIAN. THERE ARE PROBABLY YOUNG BRITS WHO COULD HAVE PULLED IT OFF....ESPECIALLY GIVEN HOW FEW LINES KRUM HAS....BUT TO GO TO THE (SMALL) TROUBLE OF GETTING THE REAL-DEAL, ADDS SUCH A BOOST TO THE FRANCHISE IN ONE POCKET OF THE WORLD. AND NOT FOR MUCH ADDED $, I WOULD BET.

Q: How many fans are you expecting at the premiere in Sofia?
A: I hope they'd be more than in London, where there were about 7,000.

Q: Do you intend to pursue a career in movies and do you have any other offers?
A: Naturally, after having tasted the movie world, I would like to continue and build a career in the field. I like it a lot and I think it is very important to love your job. Since I enjoy making movies I would like to continue forward. So far I haven't had any offers, but I there are several premieres left, if I'm not mistaken, and afterwards I'm hoping for some interesting offers.

Q: Would you star in a Bulgarian movie?
A: I would love to.

Q: Being a Bulgarian, how did you get along with the people in England?
A: I am a Bulgarian and I am proud to be one. Each country has its own culture. I lived in England for five years and I still live there and in Bulgaria. You get used to it except for the weather. They are just regular people.

Q: It is known that your character has been inspired by soccer player Hristo Stoichkov. What is your opinion of him, have you watched him? EDITOR'S NOTE: I DID NOT KNOW THIS!
A: In my opinion Hristo Stoichkov is a great Bulgarian and he has represented our country with much dignity it is true that there is a version that my character was inspired by Bulgaria's marvelous performance in the World Cup of 1994 and I think that Stoichkov plays an important role in the creation of Viktor Krum, something that I appreciate.

Q: Do you watch soccer and if yes, what is your favorite team?
A: As for my favorite team, I'd say the Bulgarian national team. EDITOR'S NOTE: THE PERFECT BULGARIAN EMMISARY!

Q: What about a favorite in England?
A: Even in England, I still support the Bulgarians. EDITOR'S NOTE: YEP.

Q: How about soccer player Trifon Ivanov, he was quite scary during the 94 World Cup, do you remember him?
A: Of course I do. He was a tremendous defender who saved us in many situations.

Q: Do you believe in magic and is there magic in your life?
A: I believe that there is magic in this world, especially the way I was cast as Viktor Krum was, in a way magical. Yes, I do believe in magic. In good magic.

Q: We say that love is the biggest magic, are you currently in love?

Mike Newell: Stan is the Real Thing

Exclusive Interview: 29 November 2005, Tuesday.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire director Mike Newell visited Sofia for the movie's premiere, accompanied by Bulgarian-born Stanislav Ianevski, who gained international fame with his performance as Viktor Krum.

Newell, who has directed hits like Donnie Brasco, Four Weddings and a Funeral and Mona Lisa Smile answered the questions of international media.

SNA gives you an insight into Newell's experiences on set and his opinions of British and American actors and of Ianevski.

Q: How many times did you watch the other three Harry Potter movies in order to prepare?
A: I watched the first film a lot. I watched the second film very little. I watched the third film not very much, but it went in a lot because it's very different from the first two.

Q: How many times did you read the books?
A: I read the books but I didn't read them obsessively because if what you do is to read the novels again and again and again and again, then all you do is to reproduce the book. And I wasn't doing the book, I was doing the movie. So I wanted to be very careful not to get so obsessed by the books that I couldn't make the film.

Q: Have you had an opportunity to consult with the author J.K. Rowling, have you met her?
A: Yes. Everybody thinks that Joan Rowling is a sort of dragon lady and she grabs the director with her claws. She doesn't at all. She's adorable to start with. She's very pretty she's blond, she's very self-possessed, but she knows that what she really cares for is that you don't betray the spirit of the books. And if you don't she's fine. So the producer and I went to see her and I had a lot of questions I wanted to ask her particularly where in Harry's moral development his character was in the story. And she was really good about that, she explained it in terms of John Wayne. What she meant by that was that at the end of the story, Harry , who is no longer simply part of a trio, he's on his own, has a choice to make with Voldemort as to whether he shall take his death-wound in the front or in the back. He's gonna die anyway but is he going to die bravely or is he going to die a coward. She was great about that, she put her finger on that and she was very helpful. EDITOR'S NOTE: WHAT A MARVELOUS IMAGE! (WE LOVE YOU MS. ROWLING!)

And then we didn't really talk to her again.

One really interesting thing happened, while we were talking to her in Scotland. She's very determined that nobody shall know what's going to be in the next story until the next story is published. She has an eight year-old daughter, she was eight then, and at one point during the conversation the daughter came in, and was listening to what we were saying and suddenly said: "Mummy, what's going to happen to so and so in book number six? " And Joan looked at her very, very calmly and said: "Darling, you know I won't tell you that."

Q: Why did you replace John Williams with another composer - Patrick Doyle?
A: I wanted a different composer because in the film there was a tremendous amount of music that the actors had to work with, dancing music, walking music, there's lots and lots of music. So it's very difficult for me to work with a composer who is 6,000 miles away. And John Williams lives in Los Angeles, so I needed somebody who was right there. And I've worked with Pat, Patrick Doyle, who is a great composer, twice before, also on Donnie Brasco and he is a great man, to work with, he gives you a lot. EDITOR'S NOTE: POSSIBLY THE BIGGEST FLAW IN THE FILM. FAR AND AWAY. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN WORTH THE FLIGHTS BACK AND FORTH TO LA TO HAVE MR. W. OR SOMEONE, ANYONE, ELSE. DOYLE MIGHT HAVE GIVEN A LOT, BUT UNFORTUNATELY, MUCH OF IT WAS PABLUM. REAL B-TEAM WORK. (AND YES, I FEEL FAIRLY STRONGLY ABOUT THIS. WHY DO YOU ASK?)

Q: Why did you include a rock band in the Christmas Yule, whose idea was that?
A: That was my idea. These are not little kids anymore, they are fourteen. They don't look in wonder at the world, they've got spots. So I wanted to get a kind of new reality and I remembered that when I was in university, there would be at the end of every year a series of these formal balls we got dressed up and mostly that was all very formal. But then at the end of the night when everybody was drunk we'd get a rock band in there and go crazy which is what everybody wanted. And so that's what we did with this and we thought Jarvis Cocker [Pulp lead singer] was brilliant.And the reason that we had a rock band as well was because Stan, Viktor Krum, had to be an absolutely wicked dancer and he had to wash her off her feet. It was much better to see him do that with modern dancing.

Q: What was the hardest thing for you, as a director, in this movie?
A: Oh yeah, I know what it was. The most difficult for the video stuff was under water There's a big sequence under water. What everybody who makes movies knows is that celluloid and water do not mix. They are a disastrous combination. The cameras leak, people drown, people get cold, it's a disaster. Do not get near the water with a film camera. So we were desperate not to shoot the underwater sequence in the water. So what we tried to do first was to shoot the whole thing upside down in dry land, which meant that we had to have a system of blue scaffolding poles, because the computer can take out blue. We would then hang the actors off the poles, upside down, because their hair would hang down like their hair would hang in he water. So of course the problem with that was that everybody went scarlet in the face, terrible, complete fiasco. So what we had to do then was train all the actors to swim like fishes and shoot it in this huge tank. But then the computers put in everything. They put in the fish, they put in the weeds, they put in the little dots in the water, everything was done with the computer, quite brilliant.

Q: What did you personally bring to the Harry Potter mania.
A: The thing, of course, that I brought was that I am English and I've been to schools like that. And I knew that schools in England are very anarchic places. Children there are nasty, brutish and short. Now look, that line either gets a laugh or people take it seriously. And I beg you not to take it seriously. So I wanted the school to be a character and I could do that because I'm English.

Q: Did you enjoy working with Ralph Fiennes who gave a face to Voldemort?
A: He's a good boy. I've known him for quite a while and I've nearly worked with him twice before. So he and I had a great appetite for working together and we had a very happy time. He's very intelligent and he's very precise, so we had a good time.

Q: Is it easier to work with Hollywood titans like Al Pacino and Julia Roberts, or with British actors?
A: They are absolutely different but they are equally brilliant. EDITOR'S NOTE: NICE (CAREER) SAVE. A British actor is brought up in the theatre and so he commands, he controls. Mostly the American actor is brought up on the screen and he can't control life, there's just too many things gong on. So an English actor will be very commanding, they tell you what should be. Whereas an American actor will surround himself by a feeling or a state or whatever and he simply won't come out. EDITOR'S NOTE: I AM BEGINNING TO SENSE THAT WHATEVER NEWELL'S TALENTS....AND HE DOES APPEAR TO HAVE A HANDLE ON THE WHOLE DIRECTING 'THANG'.....ARTICULATING HIS NOTIONS IS NOT THAT HIGH ON HIS SKILL CHART.

Q: Did magic help you compete in the "alien" world of young people nowadays, that ties them to computers, so that you could "win" with the movie.
A: I think it probably did because children now live in some ways in a very prosaic world. They can fly, they just get on an airplane, they can make anything happen on a computer, so there isn't very much mystery left in their lives. And I think that one of the reasons that these movies got so popular is children. Because they are for children and I think that they loved having this mystery to watch.

Q: There is a wax figures exhibition currently in Sofia, featuring Harry Potter figures. Should there be a Viktor Krum figure among them in the future?
A: Anybody who was in the water had to have a very exact body scan that means that the computer can reproduce exactly the body. And Stan had one of these done, it's probably in a computer somewhere. But what's a wonderful thing is, and I don't know if Stan even knows this, but he has made it into Lego.

Q: What will be your next project?
A: I'm either gonna do a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel, or a western. EDITOR'S NOTE: APPLES? ORANGES?

Q: Any last words of wisdom?
A: I don't know if I have any last words except that we couldn't have made Stan's character if I had to pretend that he was Bulgarian. If I had gotten an English actor then I'd have no idea what it means to be Bulgarian. What I know is that because he's real, he's the real thing, he's very handsome, he has beautiful eyes, but I don't believe that I would have found either his looks or his eyes from an English actor. And so therefore what Stan brings to the movie is that he brings absolute authenticity. And that's a big thing, a really big thing.

I want to say something about Stan and what kind of an actor he is. You don't get anywhere as an actor unless you can shut out absolutely everything except the character and your belief in the character and your belief in exactly the moment that you're playing right now. You can't think into the future, you can't think sideways you have to be now with an actor. Now he's never acted before, never acted before. And that huge, huge thing without which no actor is any good, he can do just like that. So he's good. So I am very glad to be here and I wouldn't be here if Stan wasn't the real thing and didn't come from Sofia.

Harry muggles through with a Down Under film role

On set ... Radcliffe with James Fraser, Lee Corme and Christian Byers yesterday. Photo: David Mariuz

How better to begin preparing for life as a full-time muggle than by starring in a small-budget film shot on location in South Australia?

Millionaire British actor and Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, 16, has crossed the world to make The December Boys, based on a 1963 novel by Queensland author Michael Noonan and with a local cast which is unknown but for Jack Thompson, of whom Radcliffe had not heard until recently.

"I always wanted to do something between Harry Potter four and Harry Potter five," said Radcliffe, who chose the Film Finance Corporation-backed script - in which he plays the leader of an orphanage gang - from hundreds of others. "It was just one that really stood out, it was a great story and it was a character that was really different from Harry and that's what I wanted to do."

Radcliffe's success is blessed by some of the magic behind the sequence of books of which the boy wizard is the star. For Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, Radcliffe, then 11, was paid $400,000 which rose to more than $4 million for The Chamber Of Secrets, to $8 million for The Prisoner Of Azkaban and about $12 million for The Goblet Of Fire, which opens in Australia on Thursday.

He has just signed on for a fifth, Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, for which he will get about $20 million, making him the richest teenager in Britain. EDITOR'S NOTE: AND THEY SHOULD KEEP THROWING MONEY AT HIM...AND ALL THE KIDS...UNTIL THEY MAKE ALL SEVEN.

Radcliffe insisted the controversial M rating The Goblet Of Fire was given in Australia was not only justified but necessary. It was a very dark film, he said - and had to be to do J.K. Rowling's story justice.

"It's the nature of the book - a 16-year-old kid dies in Harry Potter four, you can't make that light and froth," Radcliffe said. "If you are going to do justice to the book, it has to be dark."

New Wizard of the Month on has updated with a new Wizard of the Month:

Bowman Wright 1492 – 1560

Famous for developing the Golden Snitch. EDITOR'S NOTE: THERE WILL BE A QUIZ.



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