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A big, beautiful world beyond Hogwarts

The streets of Universal Studios’ replica Hogsmeade seemed a littlemore authentic last weekend, with actual Weasley’s and other wizardswandering about.

The streets of Universal Studios’ replica Hogsmeade seemed a little more authentic last weekend, with actual Weasley’s and other wizards wandering about.

Cast members and filmmakers from the eight-film Harry Potter series assembled at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park in Florida for one last hurrah, just in time for the DVD and Blu-Ray release of the series’ final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.

How much of a goodbye this really is isn’t clear, of course, as there are still a few Potter events on the calendar — Leavesden Studios in England will open its doors in March for special tours of key sets from the series, and a more comprehensive, extras-packed box set of all eight films will inevitably be offered up to consumers. And that theme park certainly isn’t going anywhere.

But the big party in Orlando still served as a send-off celebration of sorts, offering cast and crew a chance to reflect as well as look to the future.

“In one way, it’s quite nice to come back and do one last thing, in a way, as part of the process of letting go,” says David Yates, who directed the series’ final four films.

“It’s been all-encompassing. You just were completely immersed, and that has wonderful things about it and not-so-wonderful things. It’s a bit of an island, Harry Potter, in the sense that it was a very close-knit family and you work in this very intense, closed environment, and they never stop doing anything but just making Harry Potter. So it was a relief to get to the end of it and suddenly lift one’s head up and realize that there’s other things in life other than Hogwarts and wands.”

So what is Yates — who has won acclaim for his quieter TV work like State of Play and the Girl in the Cafe — looking to do next? The key is variety, he says.

“Potter gave me so many opportunities, but it never gave me the opportunity to do something small between each movie, and now I want to make some smaller movies alongside some big tent-pole movies,” Yates explains.

Rupert Grint, who shot to fame as Harry’s pal Ron Weasley starting at age 11, did get that chance to branch out, popping up in indie fare like Cherry Bomb and Driving Lessons between semesters at Hogwarts.

“It was really fun to do those other films, to see how other films are made and step out of this bubble and explore what else is out there. I’m really excited to do more of that,” he tells Metro.

 
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