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'Harry Potter' Stars Gather for London Bash

19 Nov, 2004 By: Holly J. Wagner

LONDON -- A hundred days into shooting the fourth "Harry Potter" adventure, the principal cast and crew gathered in an atmosphere steeped in mystery at Middle Temple Hall to celebrate the DVD release of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

While they gave few clues about what to expect from the fourth film, they did talk about making the first three movies and how Harry Potter has changed their lives.

“The weirdest thing is people crying when they meet you…just to get your name written on a piece of paper,” said Tom Felton, known to fans as Draco Malfoy. Teenagers are less interested, he said, but children between 8 and 13 years and anyone over 18 seems to love the films.

Many of those who worked on the films didn't read the books before starting on the movies.

“I didn't want the book to give me a false impression of what I should be,” Felton said.

Before this film was offered, I had never read the books,” said director Alfonso Cuar?n. But when he was offered the job, friend Guillermo del Toro urged him to take it.

“He gave me just one piece of advice: ‘Don't try to do your own thing. Try to serve the material.' You have to strip your ego [from the production].”

He did that so completely that there is no commentary track on the two-disc set. T

“Generally speaking, I find the commentaries by the directors are boring,” Cuar?n said. “For the DVD of Y Tu Mamá Tambi?n I got around that by having the two actors in character, trashing the movie. In this one, I felt that the other materials would convey what I would try to convey.”

Although Cuar?n was not hands on for the DVD production, he and producer David Heyman were both pleased that another crew was shooting B-roll during the production of the third film that later became part of the bonus materials.

“This is the first time that Harry Potter goes behind the scenes,” Cuar?n said.

“We made a conscious effort on the first two not to do that,” Heyman said, because it is important not to give up too much of the mystery. All the same, he lamented not having crews shooting for the discs when the first two films were made, because the child actors have grown literally and professionally since The Sorcerers' Stone.

“You begin to think about the DVD once the film is up and running,” he said. “We worked very closely with the Warner Home Video team to make sure it is in the spirit of the books.”

The fourth film will feature the same cast members, but no one would speculate on whether they will make it to the end — partly because they don't know what happens in the next books.

“I almost played Professor Quirrel in the first one,” said actor David Thewlis, who played Professor Lupine. “Now I'm glad I didn't, because he's dead.”

But Felton hopes his character meets a bad end.

“I'm hoping he's going to die,” he said. “I don't want to just drift off, I want it to be in a swordfight or an explosion or something.”

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