Chris Columbus, who directed the first two Potter films, couldn’t find anyone to play Harry Potter until he watched a BBC miniseries of Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield. The young actor playing David was 10-year-old Daniel Radcliffe in his acting debut.
“I was a really happy kid who had a really haunted quality,” Radcliffe says with a laugh.
1. Hermione had a crush on Draco
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“So the prop people kept moving it and responding,” director Chris Columbus recalls with a laugh, as clips are shown of Harris marveling over the responsive creature. He doesn’t say if Harris ever figured out that Fawkes was not an actual living, breathing bird, but just an elaborate puppet.
2. When Harry met David
“The hardest scene to shoot was Quidditch,” director Chris Columbus admits. This last tidbit sounds like an urban legend, but the actors and crew claim it’s true. In 2002’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which featured Richard Harris playing Dumbledore, we meet Dumbledore’s pet phoenix, Fawkes. An elaborate prop bird was created for Fawkes, but Harris reportedly thought it was a real bird.
“It’s all right, it’s good for the scene,” said a teary-eyed Felton, showing that true actor’s grit.
3. Fire alarm at Hogwarts
4. Quidditch unmasked
Jason Isaacs didn’t want to play Draco Malfoy’s dad, Lucius — instead he auditioned for the role of Gilderoy Lockhart. Asked to read Lucius Malfoy’s lines instead, he was irritated, so read them “through gritted teeth and deeply bitter,” Isaacs says with a laugh in the special. Perhaps that helped him get the role.
5. Draco and his dad
Felton learned of her crush, but he was three years older than Watson, and nothing romantic ever developed. Tune in to Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts on
6. Order of the not-so-fake phoenix
Those adorable kids who grew up making the Harry Potter movies are adults now, and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) is even a dad. A new reunion special, Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, is airing on
Credit to the various Potter directors — the scenes of Harry and pals zooming around on brooms playing Quidditch are pretty amazing, and fun to watch. Viewers of the special get a treat — you’ll see behind-the-scenes footage of Radcliffe sitting on his broom, which is just part of a complex prop, with a green screen behind it.
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