Exclusive: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - RT's Set Visit Preview

We tour the new sets from the sixth film and chat to the stars!

by | December 15, 2008 | Comments

Harry Potter fans: cast your minds back to January. Half-Blood Prince is atop your winter must-see list, Deathly Hallows is still one movie and if you want to read The Tales of Beedle the Bard you’ll need to dig $4m out from behind the sofa. It’s the middle of the month, and RT has joined Daniel Radcliffe and company on day 80 of principal photography on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince at Leavesden Studios in London.

We’re here to tour the studio and speak to the stars, and we’ll have a full set visit report in time for the film’s release in July 2009. Before that, though, we thought we’d share a small teaser of our time at Hogwarts.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
David Yates (left) directs Daniel Radcliffe and Bonnie Wright on the Burrow set.

Familiar scenery – the Hogwarts Great Hall, Dumbledore’s office, the Gryffindor common room – were present and accounted for, but we also glimpsed three very exciting new sets that will provide much of the film’s visual impact. One of these; an imposing, tiled orphanage, will play host to an important flashback scene involving Dumbledore and a ten year-old boy Tom Marvolo Riddle — a vulnerable, orphaned child, who turns out to be series villain Voldemort himself.

We also caught a glimpse of other new locations set aside for the film’s finale. One half takes place in a giant cave and involves just Harry and Dumbledore. They had created an island of crystalline rock – think the Fortress of Solitude from Superman Returns – in a sea of green screen. This will, after months of effects work, be replaced by a mass of reanimated dead bodies called Inferi.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Ron (Rupert Grint, left) readies for Quidditch with his teammates and Hermione (Emma Watson, right).

“The brilliant thing about [the cave scenes] was that we did them at the at the end of a three to four month period where Michael and I had been working together almost exclusively,” Radcliffe told RT when we caught up with him for a long chat. “For about the first two or three months of this film we were almost the only two actors in. The relationship between me and Michael had really built up over that time and got to the point where after three or four months we were absolutely ready to do the cave stuff.”

We were surprised by a few new additions to the film, injected by director David Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves in order to visually illustrate events only referenced in the book. “In the sixth book Jo talks about the Death Eaters attacking, kidnapping and striking terror into communities and she plays that idea backstage in the book,” explained Yates. “You read about it but you don’t experience it. We wanted to bring that experience to the fore for the audience so they kind-of felt what it was like and they could actually see what the Death Eaters were doing.”

This was illustrated in two scenes glimpsed in the recent trailer: the Death Eaters attacking London’s Millennium Bridge and a Christmas attack on The Burrow — home to the Weasley family. In the trailer we see Harry running through the reeds surrounding The Burrow, perhaps an attempt to escape — or confront — this movie’s new bad-guy Fenrir Greyback, described in the book as “the most savage werewolf alive.”

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Yates prepares Michael Gambon’s Dumbledore for a scene.

For Yates, though, it’s the quieter, character-based moments that he finds the most exciting, with Harry’s other nemesis – teenage hormones — making an appearance. “Steve came up with this notion that, after Order of the Phoenix, Harry’s in this quite intense, dark place and he’s riding the trains to free his brain a wee bit and he meets this really attractive waitress who he really likes,” he told us. “You immediately set up the notion that suddenly these characters are a bit more aware of the opposite sex. I thought it was a really charming, lovely idea.”

Talking of hormones, we also met Ron’s new love interest Lavender Brown, played by newcomer Jessie Cave. Cave told us that winning the audition was a real surprise. “I just screamed,” she said. “The group in front of me thought I was ill. I really just didn’t believe it.”

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Hero Fiennes-Tiffin is the 10 year-old Tom Marvolo Riddle on the Orphanage set.

But is she anything like the boisterous Lavender? “I’m actually quite shy and I’m not a loud character,” she told us. “It’s quite fun to play someone who is, because I guess everyone has a loud character inside of them waiting to jump out. I’m not saying that I want to jump out and be loud, but people can imagine that’s what they’d be like!”

As Harry Potter enters his penultimate year and the threats on his life become ever more real, perhaps it’s comforting to know that not everything has to be darker and more intense. Join us again in July to read our full experience on set, as well as the rest of our in-depth interviews with Daniel Radcliffe, Jessie Cave and David Yates, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Tom Felton and Bonnie Wright.

Tag Cloud

fast and furious Calendar cancelled A&E true crime miniseries Apple TV+ MTV Superheroe classics TCA Winter 2020 TCA YA Election disaster vampires boxoffice spy thriller documentaries police drama emmy awards ABC Family blockbuster GIFs Countdown spanish language tv talk television zombies Mary Poppins Returns theme song History VOD CBS All Access critics independent book sag awards Tarantino crime thriller Trailer dramedy green book Nickelodeon Marvel Television DC streaming service Sundance TV See It Skip It Western cancelled TV series Summer DGA Arrowverse comedies Disney Channel E3 game show Netflix sports Comedy Central Travel Channel child's play Turner Podcast Emmys Baby Yoda universal monsters jamie lee curtis Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt spider-man Holiday dragons Turner Classic Movies MCU comiccon anthology binge stoner Classic Film Winter TV Nat Geo free movies DC Comics GoT unscripted teaser comic adventure TBS Holidays Premiere Dates Starz politics Spectrum Originals Binge Guide justice league Disney streaming service cooking diversity Pop TV based on movie reviews TCM Anna Paquin Film indie cinemax OneApp dc Film Festival YouTube werewolf Netflix Christmas movies Television Academy Endgame best Black History Month mockumentary SXSW Adult Swim IFC robots casting Video Games war Best and Worst Paramount Academy Awards dceu FX on Hulu Tumblr MSNBC Bravo NYCC Lifetime Christmas movies 2020 BBC sequels Crunchyroll 2019 children's TV NBC Freeform Black Mirror kids blaxploitation Awards cars Mudbound President Crackle series superhero 2018 Pop Disney CNN Set visit New York Comic Con Schedule Winners cults Rocketman Chernobyl cancelled TV shows cancelled television Country Sci-Fi FX Comic Book latino supernatural Fox News Rom-Com Dark Horse Comics Mary poppins Super Bowl Apple First Look documentary obituary movies USA Ovation Amazon Studios Box Office twilight Extras Cosplay HBO golden globes cops breaking bad Sundance Now canceled movie FOX Warner Bros. BET Awards dark Marvel all-time Musical transformers Rocky renewed TV shows Vudu comics films Action Mary Tyler Moore quibi ESPN concert Disney+ Disney Plus Hallmark SDCC Cannes BBC America Musicals Television Critics Association award winner Song of Ice and Fire Infographic CW Seed Universal space laika PlayStation Shudder asian-american Horror Masterpiece Ghostbusters Disney Plus National Geographic crime TIFF serial killer rotten historical drama mission: impossible Lionsgate nature Walt Disney Pictures romantic comedy Women's History Month Mindy Kaling Marathons thriller DC Universe docudrama GLAAD reboot TV Land VICE richard e. Grant RT21 Ellie Kemper Kids & Family Animation Logo 71st Emmy Awards canceled TV shows Brie Larson batman animated Trophy Talk Columbia Pictures cartoon OWN 72 Emmy Awards medical drama USA Network Emmy Nominations directors Sundance Acorn TV Tubi franchise Food Network Britbox Esquire Elton John doctor who Polls and Games Creative Arts Emmys die hard El Rey AMC travel 2016 psychological thriller zero dark thirty hollywood halloween YouTube Premium Showtime stop motion hist 4/20 Trivia Valentine's Day nbcuniversal TLC finale A24 ghosts indiana jones Avengers ratings slashers Spike HBO Go Paramount Network Chilling Adventures of Sabrina name the review cats The Purge crossover Captain marvel YouTube Red singing competition satire dogs DirecTV Apple TV Plus Rock screenings Watching Series video on demand christmas movies Pride Month LGBT spinoff Fantasy Fall TV Music Pixar CBS 21st Century Fox stand-up comedy south america strong female leads talk show Quiz 45 scary movies anime TCA 2017 toy story criterion rotten movies we love Oscars Thanksgiving Superheroes WarnerMedia 007 elevated horror LGBTQ sequel TV renewals versus video Spring TV biography CMT ABC 20th Century Fox Teen Photos HBO Max Lifetime Heroines Christmas Hulu Epix VH1 Drama The CW The Arrangement The Witch Family TCA Awards revenge composers mutant SundanceTV American Society of Cinematographers Biopics Funimation Peacock Marvel Studios hispanic crime drama discovery science fiction E! Year in Review harry potter X-Men Character Guide parents 24 frames Amazon Prime TNT Comedy 2017 chucky psycho First Reviews technology Comics on TV Sony Pictures festivals Hear Us Out spain Nominations Stephen King Lucasfilm Amazon Star Trek game of thrones zombie RT History APB Amazon Prime Video BET witnail Shondaland worst Red Carpet Pirates adaptation Awards Tour Hallmark Christmas movies political drama Grammys screen actors guild joker what to watch Writers Guild of America ITV Star Wars Tomatazos period drama Sneak Peek Discovery Channel streaming Syfy 2015 a nightmare on elm street IFC Films romance social media news Pet Sematary foreign The Walking Dead facebook Cartoon Network Toys TV Opinion natural history PaleyFest sitcom FXX Reality BBC One BAFTA Reality Competition PBS TruTV Mystery Martial Arts WGN aliens Certified Fresh Interview San Diego Comic-Con