This article was originally published on JustStarz
It doesn’t matter how much time has passed, once a Harry Potter fan, always a Harry Potter fan. And with the recent release of Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, there is no doubt that a marathon of the magical movies is due! But what if we told you that there are more than a few facts about the books and the movies that even the most avid fans never noticed? Check out some of Harry Potter's best behind-the-scenes, hidden details, and inside jokes that most of us never knew about - there's real magic in there!
Magic Was Made Through Creative Tricks
Though most of us would probably love to believe that there is real magic in Harry Potter, the hard truth is that everything we saw was a result of very creative filming tricks. In this picture, we can see a part of the scene in the Half-Blood Prince film, in which Hermione is talking to Harry while returning her books to the shelves. What we see are floating books being returned to each shelf space, when in truth, there were production members standing behind the shelves wearing green gloves.
Each person would grab a book directly from actress Emma Watson, creating the illusion that the books were flying on their own.
Alan Rickman Was A Huge Mentor For The Younger Cast
Professor Severus Snape was most certainly one of the most important and impactful characters in the books and in the Harry Potter movies. Though his character could be really dark sometimes, the actor who played the part, Alan Rickman, was considered the sweetest and most talented person behind the screens. In no time, Rickman transformed into one of the cast’s most important mentors, both for the younger actors and the older ones.
So, when Rickman passed away tragically in 2016, his passing created a huge hole among the Harry Potter cast, including Daniel Radcliffe. According to Radcliffe, he often looked up to Rickman as he established himself as an actor.
The Harry Potter Films Were Robert Pattinson's Debut Into Hollywood
Although it’s easy to forget by now, Robert Pattinson wasn’t actually that known before he appeared in the Harry Potter movies. The actor, who is a household name in the movie industry today, actually made his debut at the age of 19 in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Cedric Diggory’s character delivered an impeccable performance as Hufflepuff’s competitor against Harry during the “Triwizard Tournament.” Though he was part of the franchise for a very short time, his character had a tremendous impact on the storyline.
Pattinson went on to win the British Star of Tomorrow title in 2005 and then eventually became one of the main characters of the Twilight franchise.
J. K Rowling Already Knew That Robbie Coltrane Would Play The Giant
Some actors were just made to play a specific role, and we’re pretty sure Hagrid’s character could have not been played by anyone other than Robbie Coltrane. In fact, when asked about who she had in mind for the half-giant role, J.K Rowling didn’t flinch for even once second before asserting that Coltrane would be the one. By that time, the actor had already played a few known roles, including some within the James Bond franchise.
Coltrane went on to not only get the part, but he was also part of the group of 14 actors that played in all eight of the Harry Potter movies. You might not know that actor Robin Williams was actually pretty interested in the role too, but Rowling prioritized a British cast.
Daniel Radcliffe Was Known For Destroying Props
One of the things that actor Daniel Radcliffe was known for the most was for not keeping Harry Potter props tidy and safe. The actor constantly broke or lost different props, including the pair of glasses he wore on a daily basis. Apparently, he managed to wear about 160 different pairs of glasses throughout the entirety of the Harry Potter movie franchise. He also often played around with his wands, pretending that they were drumsticks.
Of course, that resulted in a few of them breaking, and at least eight had to be replaced. Since every single wand was specifically designed for each film, they had to make more and more new ones!
Hagrid’s Character Was Based On A Real Person
Hagrid’s character was in fact based on a real person, and although the person wasn’t the biggest giant on earth, they were pretty big. The character was inspired by a West Country biker who was pretty intimidating when it came to his physique but was the sweetest person from the inside, just like Hagrid. J.K. Rowling actually met the “Hell’s Angel from the West Coast” a few years back, and his image was so remarkable that the author just had to write a character with him in mind.
In this picture, we get a sneak peek of Coltrane's stunt double, Martin Bayfield, who was also quite big and had been a rugby player prior to entering the stunt scene.
Helena Bonham Carter Took Bellatrix A Little Further Than Planned
The more we look into individual characters, the more we feel like every single Harry Potter actor couldn’t have been more perfect for the roles they played. Helena Bonham Carter is certainly on that list, as there will never be any other Bellatrix. The actress has shared in the past that she was ecstatic when she was invited to play the part, claiming: “I love magic, I love witches, I love the whole Harry Potter world. I was all too happy to play a witch."
She did admit, however, that because of her love for the character and her investment in Bellatrix’s “dark craziness,” she might have made the character a tiny bit crazier than it was initially intended.
Fred And George Are Not Real Gingers
Believe it or not, the twin actors who played Fred and George are not actually redheads, although they easily fooled all of us. The actors were only 14 when they got the part, which became their breakthrough role in the movie industry. The beloved characters are twins in the real world, but both of them are brunettes with quite dark hair. Since they had to have ginger hair in the films, they not only dyed their hair but also had to have touch-ups done every single week to keep their looks impeccable.
Not only that, but they also bleached their eyebrows to make things more believable, which they weren't very big fans of.
The Older Actors Often Learned a Lot From The Younger Crew
It was pretty known that the younger Harry Potter crew felt incredibly lucky to star alongside a group of such experienced and talented actors. They got to learn a whole lot from them, but at times, they also managed to teach their older counterparts a few skills. During a specific scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Hermione completely transforms herself before entering Gringotts, taking on Bellatrix’s character.
To accurately portray the scene, Helena Bonham Carter took some time to learn from Emma Watson what would be the most accurate way to imitate her. In an interview, Watson claimed: “It’s a really interesting way of working because you suddenly become aware of your mannerisms. Watching Helena do me was bizarre. She’s uncanny.”
They Were Surrounded By More Than a Few Green Screens
It could be really hard sometimes for the actors to portray their characters in the magic world they were seen in. That is because most of the time they were actually surrounded by green screens that looked nothing like the majestic settings we see in the movies. In this scene, for example, we see Harry running alongside his friends during an Order of the Phoenix scene. When he reflected on this, Daniel Radcliffe shared that he took for granted that he actually played an action hero for a whopping 10 years.
He even gave some examples of extreme things he did: "I got to slide 40ft down a roof, I got to burst out of a ring of fire. I got to do some really cool stuff. I probably won’t get to do that so much anymore.”
Radcliffe’s Double, David Holmes, Was Paralyzed On Set
In this picture, we get a glimpse of Radcliffe’s relationship with his double, David Holmes, in between takes of one of the movies. The duo became really close friends as the years passed since the gymnast acted alongside Radcliffe from the first film. Radcliffe has been heard several times saying how important Holmes is in his life. Sadly though, during the filming of a scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Holmes suffered from a pretty bad accident that injured his spine.
While that resulted in Holmes becoming paralyzed, it didn't mean that he didn’t continue to live his life as fully as possible. He now owns his own production company named Ripple Production, he also raises money for the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and spends some time racing cars.
They Upped Their Wand Capabilities Through Dance Lessons
When it was time to film Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry, Hermione, and Ron were already at a level where their wand skills were almost elite. So, if they wanted to perfect those skills even further, there had to be something done in order to take the technique to different limits. In this picture, we see director David Yates and the big trio discussing different logistics involving their wands.
Yates eventually brought in a professional dancer called Paul Harris who would teach the crew different wand choreographies. The cast got to learn five specific moves that were used in several scenes throughout the films.
The Cast's Reaction When They First Enter The Great Hall Is Real
While some people believe that the Great Hall scenes were actually filmed in a castle, the Hogwarts castle scenes were all filmed in England’s Leavesden Film Studios. Yet, set designers really put a whole lot of work into making it seem like a real castle, and they obviously did an impeccable job. The team of designers chose to base the main design of the hall in The University of Oxford’s hall of The Christ Church College.
When the first scene in the hall was filmed, Harry, Hermione, and Ron had not been in there prior to that moment. This means that their reaction on screen was as genuine as it gets. The food they served was also real!
There Was A Lot Of Competition For The Role Of Luna Lovegood
If you’ve watched the Harry Potter reunion (spoilers alert), then you’ll have heard this little detail told by actress Evanna Lynch herself. While we cannot imagine Luna being played by anyone other than Lynch, there was a huge chance that that would happen. Apparently, hundreds of people auditioned for the role and Lynch was placed as ninth among 30 finalists. Lynch had been a huge fan of the books and films for a while by then, and she truly wanted to get the part.
Eventually, after producer David Barron watched her tape, there was no doubt in his mind that Lynch was Luna, and the actress went on to star in three Harry Potter films.
Draco Malfoy Had a Real Sweet Tooth
Draco Malfoy, played by Tom Felton, was one of Harry Potter’s opponents throughout the series and was a hard character to like most times. The actor was only 12-years-old when he got the part, but it didn’t take time until he completely nailed the role. Felton, who is an absolute charmer in real life, once shared: “It’s a lot more fun when you get to step into the shoes of someone really horrible. It’s not very nice to be horrible in real life. So it’s great to be able to do it on camera.”
He also shared that he used to sneak in so many snacks on set, that at some point the costume designers had to sew his pockets so that he wouldn't be able to do it anymore.
There Was A Lot Of Training Involved To Create The Magical Gillyweed
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, part of the movie involves the existence of Gillyweed, which obviously, does not exist in real life. And while some things were a little bit on the easier side to create for the film, the lack of gills was a tough one. The actors actually had to undergo a 6-month training program before they even began the filming process. The training involved a lot of practicing underwater, in order to ensure that the actors would be as safe as possible.
Filming took place in a big tank full of water, made to look like an enormous lake full of sea creatures.
Director Chris Columbus Thought Hagrid Should Have Been Bigger
Several times, director Chris Columbus shared that one of the things he wishes the team had done differently was in the way they portrayed Hagrid. He expressed that from the start, he always planned to make Hagrid a little bit bigger than he was, but there was not enough budget to create a CGI version of the half-giant, which meant that the crew was very limited in how big they could make him look.
In his own words: “He was actually walking there with the kids, and then we did forced perspective sets for Robbie (Coltrane) and created an image of Robbie being much bigger than he was, but I always thought Hagrid should be about two feet taller and about 100 pounds heavier.”
The Reason Why Dolores Umbridge Always Wore Pink
Have you ever wondered why Dolores Umbridge always wore pink in Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix? Turns out that her wardrobe choices were never a coincidence. Throughout the movie, the shades of pink she wore became darker and darker, which was a decision that was made to match her progression throughout the film. Umbridge, played by actress Imelda Staunton, has her mind going continuously out of control as the movie progresses.
As impeccably explained by Jany Temime, the movie’s costume designer: “I started with a lighter pink, and then as the film developed the pinks are getting hotter and hotter and hotter because she’s getting more and more hysterical.”
The Actors Couldn’t Stop Laughing Before The Kissing Scene
Here’s another cool behind-the-scenes fact that both Rupert Grint and Emma Watson brought up during the Harry Potter reunion. Turns out that many of the romantic kisses that everyone had been waiting for, were actually pretty chaotic moments behind the scenes. Because the actors were such close friends, to the point that they considered themselves siblings, kissing each other was extremely weird. When they were filming the part where Harry and Hermione had to kiss, the three of them could simply not stop laughing.
Grint, in specific, kept getting laugh attacks before Harry and Hermione had to kiss, to the point that Watson had to kick him out of the room.
The Underwater Christmas Card
Since several members of the Harry Potter cast and crew gained several new underwater skills as a result of the months-long training they went through, Daniel Radcliffe thought that this was a reason for celebration. So he brought everyone together and suggested they did an underwater Christmas card with everyone who was a part of the process. While the idea seemed weird at first, the entire cast eventually grouped together 20 feet under water in the tank they filmed the Gillyweed scenes in.
The picture was taken on the very last day of filming for the movie and is undoubtedly iconic.
Rupert Grint Was Terrified Of Spiders
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, we get to meet Hagrid's famous giant pet spider named Aragog. In this picture, director Chris Columbus gives Radcliffe and Grint a few instructions on how to act during the scenes involving the scary spider. While it is not completely surprising, it does turn out that throughout the entire time, Grint was actually cringing with the thought of such a spider due to his very difficult case of arachnophobia. In simple words, he is terrified of spiders.
In fact, he was so uncomfortable throughout the scenes involving Aragog that it is rumored that to this date the actor hasn't watched any scenes with it. Poor Rupert, we can't blame him at all!
Hermione Was Almost Replaced
Though it's hard to imagine anybody else as this character, it turns out that at some point, we almost lost the original Hermione. The televised reunion brings up a few moments of difficulty amongst the cast, that most fans were completely unaware of. For instance, after filming five movies in a row, Emma Watson reached a point of exhaustion in which she wasn't sure she wanted to continue being a part of the films.
She had grown from being a child into a teenager and was truly struggling with the impact that fame had on her. After doing a lot of thinking, including considering giving up her role to another actress, she ended up deciding to stay and we are extremely grateful she did.
The Access Code To The Ministry Of Magic Spells Out Magic In Numbers
In The Order of the Phoenix, we get to experience the Ministry of Magic through Harry's eyes for the first time. If you remember the scene, Harry used magic outside of school by using the patrons charm on a few random dementors. When he was summoned to attend the ministry, Arthur Weasley decided to go with him. In order to get there, the two of them got into a bright red phone box, in which Arthur dialed the number 6-2-4-4-2.
Just like that, the box began to slowly sink into the Ministry of Magic. You might have missed this Easter Egg, but the numbers dialed by Arthur actually spell m-a-g-i-c on any telephone dial, making it the most obvious password the Ministry of Magic could have.
The Deathly Hallows Symbol Is Hidden In A Shot In The Goblet of Fire
Before we even knew what the Deathly Hallows were going to be, filmmakers decided to hide a symbol of the Hallows in a scene during The Goblet of Fire. While most of us probably missed it, there were some avid viewers that did notice, even though the film was a whole three movies behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. If you pay attention to this picture, you'll notice the triangle symbol in front of Dumbledore, which represents the invisibility cloak.
Then, we should be able to identify a line that runs through the center part of the triangle, which refers to the elder wand. And finally, the circle within represents the resurrection stone.
The Scene In Which The Beauxbatons Dance, They're Just Doing The Macarena
There was so much excitement when students from other magic schools joined Hogwarts in Goblet of Fire. This happened just when the entire cast (and characters) were becoming teenagers, which only made more sense to bring a bunch of charming and unknown boys and girls to the mix. Funny enough though, while the dance that the Beauxbatons do during the film looks wonderful, they're actually just doing the same moves that muggles out there do when they dance the macarena.
During their entrance, they begin doing a stunning choreographed dance, and just before the start of the third trial, the moves start getting way too familiar.
The Giant Spiders, Troll, Dementors, And Werewolf The Trio Fights During Deathly Hallows — Part II Have A Meaning
Here's another cool Easter Egg that you might have missed while watching the Harry Potter movies. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part II, Harry, Ron, and Hermione fight exactly the same enemies they fought throughout the first three movies. This is not so obvious at first, but the sequence is pretty clear if you go back and look at it. During the tumultuous Battle of Hogwarts, the trio and their friends fight giant spiders, also known as acromantula, and they also fight Fenrir Greyback, the werewolf, and a bunch of dementors.
Though terrifying, these enemies were pretty familiar to them, since they had fought the exact same ones during the first three Harry Potter movies.
Sirius Screams "Nice One, James" To Harry In Order Of The Phoenix
Every time we remember Sirius Black, we just can't help but wish he had had a better fate than he did - Harry's godfather deserved more. But while he didn't have the best life, he made an incredible mark in Harry's and in all of our lives! This heartwarming throwback is another moment that might have been missed by some viewers. During Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry manages to disarm Lucius Malfoy during the scene in the Ministry of Magic.
Sirius quickly approves and yells "nice one, James." If you remember, this was exactly the same thing he said to Harry's dad during a flashback to Snape's childhood.
When Snape Duels McGonagall During Deathly Hallows — Part II, He Is Still A Good Guy
While readers and fans of the film may go through several stages of skepticism trying to figure out whether Severus Snape is good or bad, the character does several things that smoothly show he is on the good guys' side. Besides, Dumbledore trusted him, and we trust Dumbledore, so it seems like a pretty obvious choice. Interestingly, just before the Battle of Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part II, Professor McGonagall duels Snape to defend Harry.
But even though Snape is dueling McGonagall in that scene, he actually barely attacks her if you look closely. He keeps using defense charms as McGonagall attacks and even manages to deflect some of her spells to attack two death eaters who were standing behind him.
Tom Felton's Girlfriend At The Time Played His Wife In Deathly Hallows — Part II
We will never forget that epilogue at the end of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows - Part II in which we get a glimpse of what happens to Harry, Hermione, Ron, Ginny, and Draco. The entire crew is all grown up, married, and with kids at that point, and are seen sending off their kids to their own experiences in Hogwarts. Interestingly, many of us won't recognize the actress who plays Malfoy's wife, but she was actually much more familiar to Tom Felton than we'd think.
His wife was played by Felton's girlfriend at the time, to which Felton once said: "She was at first reluctant, but I pulled her arm and twisted it. She was filming with me for three days at King's Cross [railway station in the U.K.]; we were very excited."
In Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone, Harry's Scar Burns Because Voldemort Is Secretly Facing Him
In this scene of Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone, there is a moment in which Harry's scar starts burning. This happens when Snape and Quirrell are in front of him, and he interprets it (as well as viewers) as his scar giving him a warning sign about not trusting Snape. We find out later in the movie that Snape is actually trying to help him, while Quirrel is the terrible villain.
We now understand that the scar was burning as a warning sign for Quirrel, rather than Snape because of Quirrel's connection to Voldemort. Voldemort's head was hiding inside Quirrel's turban, which means he was facing directly at Harry, which is incredibly creepy when we think deeply about it.
Emma Watson Had To Wear Fake Teeth For A While
During the first couple of Harry Potter films, the production team was invested in trying to make the actors look like the Harry Potter characters were portrayed in the books as much as possible. For example, in the books, it was mentioned several times that Hermione’s teeth were quite an overbite. Since Emma Watson’s teeth were almost perfect, it was suggested that she used fake teeth for a period of time.
In Sorcerer’s Stone, for example, you might be able to notice that during the train sequence her teeth were quite different - this was among the first scenes they filmed. But eventually, Director Columbus understood that it didn’t make sense to make the actress struggle with the fake teeth for much longer.
It Took Two Hours Or Three Every Day To Make Voldemort Look Scary
While we know that Voldemort and Dumbledore’s relationship wasn't actually that dark behind the scenes, it might still be a little surprising to look at this picture of the two of them smiling at each other. The truth is that while Ralph Fiennes really made it believable that he was the Dark Lord thanks to his impeccable acting skills, he is just a really good guy in real life.
In order to make him look scary, it took the make-up team about two hours or three to carefully transform his face. Producers also decided to use CGI to remove his nose in order to make him even scarier.
McGonagall's Name Is Placed Right Next To James Potter's Name On The Quidditch Trophy With A Strange Year
In Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone, there is a scene in which Hermione helps Harry when he starts feeling anxious about his upcoming Quidditch game. Hermione takes Harry to the place where all Quidditch trophies are displayed, showing him his dad's name in one of the trophies. When Harry sees James Potter's name he instantly becomes emotional, making it a very heartwarming scene to watch. Interestingly though, Professor McGonagall's name can also be seen in one of the trophies, showing that she won the award in 1971.
When thinking about it, that doesn't make any sense, since the storyline says that she was a Professor in Hogwarts in "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald," which took place in 1927.
Why Ron Wears Run Down Robes In Chamber Of Secrets
It's not a secret that in comparison to his peers, Ron comes from a considerably less affluent home. This is a detail that is constantly pointed out by Draco Malfoy during Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone. In order to emphasize this detail about Ron's life, the movie's costume designers wanted to add little features that would make sense with the storyline. That is why throughout the movie, we see Ron wearing robes that were much more run-down than the others because he was most probably inheriting them from his older siblings.
The robes were clearly older, scruffier, and paler in color than the other students' robes, helping to highlight his background throughout the film.
A Scottish Deerhound Played The Other Syrius Black
Syrius Black is another one of those characters that one could not help but completely root for. While his character started a little bit off, as the film continued to unfold, we understood that Syrius was actually a crucial character in Harry Potter's life. Not only that, but he was also incredibly special. Syrius was one of the only seven wizards who were able to completely transform themselves into an animal.
Each of them transformed into something else, with Syrius being a wolf, Wormtal transforming into a rat, and professor McGonagall transforming herself into a cat. Obviously, it wasn't really a wolf that played Syrius after his transformation. It was actually a majestic Scottish Deerhound named Cleod.