Latest ‘Potter’ Disc Brings Cast Closer to the End30 Nov, 2009 By: Chris Tribbey
WEST HERTFORDSHIRE, England — After spending a decade of your life building up a worldwide phenomenon, a film franchise that’s taken up a large chunk of your childhood and turned you into a star, what’s the first thing you do when it’s over?
“First thing is to dye my hair back to the natural hair color,” said James Phelps, who plays redheaded Fred Weasley in the Harry Potter franchise, saying he wasn’t quite sure what his natural hair color was.
Currently filming the two-part finale of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows at Leavesden Film Studios just north of London, the cast of the franchise spoke with Home Media Magazine about what to expect from the DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Dec. 8, Warner Home Video).
Warner is offering single- and two-disc DVD options, but every cast member pointed to the Blu-ray Disc as the way to go (Warner is including a DVD and digital copy with the high-def option). On Dec. 12 Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) and director David Yates will host a first-ever, worldwide community screening of the film via BD Live. One hundred thousand fans will listen to the two live as they answer questions while the film is rolling.
“This is going to be transmitting to the entire world,” said Radcliffe, who can be found on the Blu-ray plugging Warner’s Ultimate Collector’s Editions of the first two "Harry Potter" films, which also street Dec. 8 on DVD and Blu-ray.
Radcliffe and the rest of the cast show familiarity with Blu-ray, talking about BD Live and 1080p with ease.
“I’ve got the [PlayStation 3] with surround sound,” said Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy). “[Blu-ray] adds a whole new level to film. You can cram so much on it.”
“What’s amazing about Blu-ray is we can add this running commentary with the film,” added Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley). That “running commentary” is Warner’s Maximum Movie Mode, an interactive ride through the film that brings up film facts, commentary from the stars and director, photo galleries and more. “That,” said producer David Barron, “fans will find interesting.”
“I’m a geek when it comes to this kind of stuff,” Phelps added. “Blu-ray, it’s like you’re there.”
While it may be a pain after a long day on the set, Radcliffe and the rest of the cast readily accept DVD and Blu-ray bonus feature duty, when asked nicely. The two-disc DVD and Blu-ray bonuses of Half-Blood Prince have Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom) hosting a half-hour featurette with the cast; a nearly hour-long documentary about “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling; several other featurettes; deleted scenes; and a sneak peak at Universal Orlando Resort’s Harry Potter attraction.
“’Can they do a day in the life?’ No! Please!” is Radcliffe’s first reaction when it comes to bonus features. “But then you get to do some really cool stuff. On all the ‘Simpsons’ DVDs I have, I listen to the director commentary.”
Wright added that while bonus features take viewers deeper into the movie, “You don’t want to give too much of the magic away.”
“It’s always Daniel this, and Daniel that,” Dave Legeno (Fenrir Greyback) joked about what fans find in the Half-Blood Prince bonus features.
Oliver Phelps (George Weasley) said bonus features “get to show people what it’s really like behind the camera.”
Jessie Cave (Lavender Brown) said everyone turns “a bit juvenile with the camera turned on them” for the bonus feature for Half-Blood Prince.
“You’re getting a lot of content for your money — a bargain, actually,” Felton said of everything included with the Blu-ray and two-disc DVD options.
With still several months of filming left for the last two films, the cast and crew couldn’t share what DVD and Blu-ray fans will have to look forward to for the final two films. But they did take note that when those Deathly Hallows discs do arrive in a couple years, they will be the last.
“It’s definitely feeling like it’s coming to an end,” said Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley). “I’ll be sorry to see it go.”
Felton added, “It’s more than that we just worked together. It’s like we lived together.”