Harry Potter stars cast final spell on Orlando
Published: Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 17:11
"It's not over."
This sentiment echoed among the cast and filmmakers of the Harry Potter films as they walked the red carpet together one last time.
In honor of the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two on DVD and Blu-Ray, Universal Studios Orlando held a weekend-long celebration that brought out familiar faces such as Rupert Grint, Evanna Lynch and director David Yates to bid farewell to more than a decade of magic.
"People having been saying to me all day, ‘Are you sad that it's all over?' and I don't know that sad's the right word," said Warwick Davis, who played both Professor Filius Flitwick and Griphook in the films. "It's sad that, I suppose, not seeing everybody so often. … Overriding all of that is a sense of pride and achievement. Having been part of these eight huge movies, and [being able to] now sit back and know that there's a legacy to leave behind."
In 1997, Harry Potter producer David Heyman discovered an unpublished manuscript that he believed, at the time, could be turned into a small film. Today, that manuscript and its successors have been translated into more than 60 languages, have sold more than 400 million copies worldwide and have been made into eight films that hold the record for the highest-grossing movie franchise.
"When I first read this book, it was an unpublished manuscript," Heyman said. "It made me laugh, and it moved me. … It was just very relatable, and I connected with it and I thought if I was lucky it might be a small, British film."
With author J.K. Rowling's vision at his side, Heyman, along with other cast members and crew, helped turn the once-small book into a series of magic.
"The material, the family … it was a great, great group of people and the privilege of working with some of the best people in front of and behind the camera today," Heyman said. "I'll have that opportunity to work with great people again, but this was very special."
Just one week before the 10-year anniversary of the first film's release, the actors and filmmakers who attended the Universal event reflected on the beloved films that not only changed fans' lives, but theirs as well.
Grint, who played Harry's best friend Ron Weasley in the films, said that even though he's working on new projects, he'll always have a special place in his heart for the series.
"It's quite strange finishing, it left me in a weird place, really," Grint said. "It was quite nice just doing something completely different. … I'm going to miss Harry Potter, but it's nice to move on and do new things."
While the ending of the series tastes bittersweet, the cast admitted that the experiences and memories they gained from the films is something that will stick with them forever. Lynch was one particular cast member who was especially grateful to have been a part of the series. Lynch, who played Luna Lovegood in the films, was cast in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix after auditioning at an open casting call in London attended by more than 15,000 other fans and actors.
"I had such a new perspective coming from the fan world, and I'm so lucky they let me in because some fans are crazy!" Lynch said.
As an already-adoring fan, it wasn't until one particular moment after the actress had finished filming Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince that Lynch realized the impact the movies had on her life.
"After the sixth one, I was living in London and I was walking home and I was looking at the pavement … and I just saw a sticker of myself on the pavement, just there," she said. "That was when it struck me how big [it was], how it changed my life."
Devon Murray, who played Seamus Finnigan in the series, said his moment of realization happened while attending one of the film's premieres. He said the overwhelming fan recognition completely blew him away.
"I was maybe two miles away from Leicester Square in the car and all of a sudden it was like thunder, all these people screaming and shouting, it was like ‘Oh my god,'" Murray said. "My stomach was doing backflips, my heart was going a billion miles an hour … I remember getting out there and people with your name on their face and their T-shirts, it was just amazing."
After the red carpet, attendees gathered to watch Davis conduct the frog choir, as seen in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, after which the cast and filmmakers joined him onstage for an unforgettable fireworks display.
Yates, who directed the fifth through the eighth films, had one last message for those loyal followers who stuck by Harry's side until the very end: