Interesting behind-the-scenes stories of Harry Potter

The Harry Potter cameras missed out on a lot of mischief and memories. And with the recent passing of Robbie Coltrane, the beloved actor behind Hagrid, and other losses among the cast, we’re looking back at what went on behind-the-scenes of the most magical films in history. Everything from teenage drama to surprising stories that show certain actors in an entirely different light, here’s what actually happened at Hogwarts, and it’s giving fans a brand new perspective.

Emma Almost Quit

The rigid schedule of the Harry Potter films was almost too much for Emma Watson to endure. And after the fourth film, she considered quitting. Yes, really! As she told Entertainment Tonight in 2010, “I hate to sound whiny, but it’s hor­rible. This has definitely been the most intense, grueling period of film-making I’ve ever done.”

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Keep Away

While everyone agrees the late Alan Rickman was a master of his craft, it also comes as no surprise that he was a stickler about one thing on set: his BMW. Rickman wouldn’t let his young costars near his luxury vehicle after Rupert Grint and Matthew Lewis spilled a milkshake in the backseat of his previous ride.

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Cracking Jokes

By contrast, Robbie Coltrane was just as warm with his young co-stars as his character Hagrid. In a statement to People magazine, Daniel Radcliffe called the late actor “one of the funniest people I’ve met and used to keep us laughing constantly.” He specifically reminisced about their bond while shooting Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, “we were all hiding from the torrential rain for hours in Hagrid’s hut, and he was telling stories and cracking jokes to keep morale up.” Not a much better legacy to leave behind than that.

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Itchy Situation

What’s the worst part about a bunch of kids congregating in one place? The risk of head lice. And there was indeed an outbreak during the making of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Filming was halted when lice steadily spread from the preteen actors to the rest of the cast and then the crew. Only once the last louse was plucked from their heads were they finally allowed back on set.

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Given that the Potter cast were mostly teenagers, romance was bound to bloom on the set. And Emma Watson admitted as much, saying that she had a crush on Tom Felton during the filming of the first two installments in the series. While she had eyes for the villainous Slytherin, though, a few other castmates were quietly smitten with her!

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More Crushes

Predictably, both Grint and Radcliffe admitted to crushing on Watson. On the topic of his kissing scene with his co-star, Grint said in a 2009 interview with FHM, “It’s not something I’d say I’m dreading. Emma’s a pretty girl. Have Daniel or I ever hit on Emma? Well, she’s quite popular with the cast. As for who has the worst crush on her – me or Radcliffe – I’d rather not say.”

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Fighting Cancer

Proving she’s just as badass as her character Professor Minerva McGonagall, Dame Maggie Smith showed up to set for the last two films in the series while undergoing chemotherapy treatments. Battling breast cancer, Smith said she lost all her hair during filming. But there was a small silver lining. She candidly told The Times in 2009, “I had no problem getting the wig on. I was like a boiled egg.”

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Wand Injuries

“Watch where you’re putting your wands” was a serious thing the Potter stars had to consider. If not, they could have ended up like Matthew Lewis, who was on the receiving end of Helena Bonham Carter’s wand. She accidentally jammed the prop in the ear of the Neville Longbottom actor while filming a scene in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

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Incorrect Information

Unbeknown to J.K. Rowling, David Thewlis believed his character Remus Lupin was gay. Well, he had good reason to, as Prisoner of Azkaban director Alfonso Cuarón specifically told him so. It was a surprise for Thewlis, then, when he learned of his character’s romantic storyline with Tonks a few films later!

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Fat Suit

Instead of casting a child who matched the book’s description of Neville Longbottom, filmmakers opted for young Matthew Lewis to wear a fat suit. Then, later in the series, when Lewis appears noticeably thinner, many attributed the change to the character’s “glow up” — the classic nerd-to-hottie trope. In reality? Nothing changed, other than Lewis no longer wearing that controversial piece of costuming.

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Pet Coffin

A young Emma Watson dealt with a lot while making her first film. Not only did she need to adjust to the whirlwind of burgeoning fame, but she also lost her pet hamster Millie. In one adorably sweet move, the set decorators crafted a velvet-lined coffin for Millie to send her off properly. Was it a little morbid? Maybe. But Watson was touched!

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Legal Battle

Seamus Finnigan actor Devon Murray duked it out in a legal battle with his ex-agent Neil Brooks. According to the Daily Mail, Brooks claimed that Murray was “a joy to work with” until he allegedly dodged his commission fees following the fourth film. In the end, the high court ordered Murray to pay a sum of £210,000 (around $280,000) to Brooks.

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Kicked Out

Rupert Grint couldn’t control his laughter when Radcliffe and Watson filmed the awkward kissing scene in The Deathly Hallows: Part 1. In fact, Grint was so badly behaved that Watson kicked him off the set. But as karma would have it, he too suffered through the weirdness of kissing his friend in the next film installment. He was not so secretly looking forward to it, mind you!

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Caught In The Act

In a 2010 interview at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Jason Isaacs fessed up to swiping props. Apparently, someone saw him take a stack of Daily Prophets, the wizarding newspaper, from the set. Thinking he’d been totally sly, Isaacs went back to his trailer. A few minutes later, however, someone knocked on the door and asked for the papers back.

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Pot Smoking Rumors

Reports surfaced in 2009 that Radcliffe and Grint may have been caught smoking marijuana. And while the Harry Potter actor has admitted to rolling his own cigarettes every now and again, he categorically refused the allegations against him, as did Grint. But though they weren’t smoking funny stuff, Radcliffe wasn’t always well behaved.

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Drunk On Set

Yep, there were times when Radcliffe appeared on set still drunk from the night before. As he explained to Heat magazine in 2012, “I went into work still drunk, but I never drank at work.” He continued, “I can point to many scenes where I’m just gone. Dead behind the eyes.” Luckily, Radcliffe quit drinking in 2010.

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Underlying Tensions

Things were awkward between legendary British actresses Emma Thompson and Helena Bonham Carter on set. As was heavily reported, Thompson’s ex-husband Kenneth Branagh, another Potter alum, cheated on her with Bonham Carter. But while the affair broke apart Thompson’s marriage, she had nothing but fond things to say about her working relationship with the Bellatrix Lestrange actress.

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Serious Arrest

The same year the final film in the series was released, actor Nicholas Read, who played one of the Gringotts goblins, was arrested. He was charged and sentenced after indecently exposing himself to a teenager on a train. The performer underwent a sex offender course, avoiding jail time.

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Hooking Up With Fans

Though it’s the oldest cliche in the book, Daniel Radcliffe wasn’t too proud to admit that he has had a few one-night stands with Harry Potter fans. As he told the Daily Mirror in 2012, “I have… I mean, that has happened, but generally speaking, I’ve known the person. Apart from a few times when I was drinking.”

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Drug Arrest

The magic of making movies came to an abrupt end for Vincent Crabbe actor Jamie Waylett when he was busted with marijuana in his car. Then, after the police found eight bags of the stuff in Waylett’s vehicle, they searched his residence and found an in-home growing setup. The actor was sentenced to community service in 2009. And not long after, he ran into yet more trouble.

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Second Arrest

Two years later, in 2011, Waylett had another brush with the law. He was arrested and convicted of violent disorder during the London riots. He was handed a two-year prison sentence and an additional 12 months for handling stolen goods, as he had been photographed holding a petrol bomb and a stolen bottle of champagne. By then, though, filmmakers had already taken Malfoy’s lackeys in a different direction.

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Gambon didn’t prepare

After the tragic death of Richard Harris, Sir Michael Gambon stepped up to play Albus Dumbledore in his stead. And in 2015 Future Movies asked the veteran actor how he managed to ease back into the role of Hogwarts’ headmaster for Fantastic Beasts. Apparently? It was no biggie. Gambon said, “Well, I don’t have to play anyone, really. I just stick on a beard and play me, so it’s no great feat.” Fair enough!

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Crabbe Replaced

Draco Malfoy’s band of brothers, initially formed of Crabbe and Goyle, underwent a change during the films. This was due to Waylett being arrested in real life. And in order to continue filming, the producers brought Blaise Zabini into the scene instead.

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Age Discrepancy

Unlike the other children in the Potter films, Moaning Myrtle was different for one very specific reason: the actress playing her wasn’t 14. In fact, she was considerably older at the time. The ghostly witch was portrayed by Shirley Henderson, who was 37 when filming took place.

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Covering the Bump

Ever wondered why there were no close-ups of Bellatrix in The Half-Blood Prince? One very simple reason: the actress playing her was pregnant. Yes, Helena Bonham Carter had to wear baggy clothes and hide behind props on the set to mask the bump from attentive audiences.

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Groundhog Day

Did you know that there are scenes from the first and seventh films that mirror each other? Yes, Harry is taken to the home of the Dursley family on a flying motorcycle by Hagrid in Sorcerer’s Stone. Fast forward to Deathly Hallows: Part 1, and it’s almost the exact same scene as Hagrid takes Harry away from the house.

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Goblet of Fire Dance

Not only was Los Del Rio’s 1993 track “Macarena” a global hit, but it also spawned a worldwide dance craze of the same name. And this even impacted upon the Harry Potter franchise, as the Beauxbatons can be seen performing the dance in Goblet of Fire.

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Eye Color

If you’re a big fan of the Potter novels, then you may have noticed that Harry’s eyes are blue in the movies, despite being green in the books. However, you may not know the reason why. It turns out that the green contact lenses that Radcliffe initially wore brought on an allergic reaction, leaving him no choice but to go with blue ones instead.

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Product Placement

The Harry Potter films aren’t above featuring some blink-and-you’ll-miss-them product placements, even though they rarely pop up in the franchise. Two of the most notable examples include Harry donning a Belstaff coat and Luna Lovegood showing off some neat-looking Converse shoes.

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Lantern Secret

Thought that the lantern in the school library’s Restricted Section in Sorcerer’s Stone was really alight? Well, think again. It just so happened that Oxford’s Bodleian Library, where the scenes were filmed, have an age-old tradition that bans the use of flames in the building. As a result, the light that you see coming from the lantern is actually computer-generated.

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Behind The Portraits

Ever wondered who those figures are that move within the portraits at Hogwarts? Well, it turns out that they’re members of the crew. While it may possibly have been a way of reducing costs, it was probably more to do with wanting these people to be a part of such an illustrious project.

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Cold Embrace

Boy, was that hug between Voldemort and Draco in Deathly Hallows: Part 2 awkward. The two evildoers coldly embrace each other, but it seems that there’s a reason for the stiff reactions. Ralph Fiennes, who plays Voldemort, apparently improvised the whole thing, which explains why Draco’s body language is one of confusion.

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Celtic influence

The wands in Harry Potter are an integral part of the story’s mythology, so it’s no surprise that great deliberation was taken over them. So much so, in fact, that the main characters’ wands all correspond to their individual birthdays – by way of the Celtic tree calendar. Harry was born on July 31, so his wand is made out of wood and holly. Ron’s ash wand, meanwhile, shows that he was born in March, and Hermione’s vine wand reflects her September 19 birthday.

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Like Father, Like Son

Both Mad-Eye Moody and Bill Weasley certainly seem disparate characters in the movies. In real life, though, they’re much more connected. Yes, Mad-Eye is played by Brendan Gleeson, who also happens to be the real-life dad of Domhnall Gleeson, who plays Bill. They only appeared together in one scene during the movies, however.

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Snape Reference

In Order of the Phoenix, Petunia – the muggle aunt of Harry – reveals that she knew of the Dementors. “I heard that awful boy telling her about them years ago,” she says. Skip forward to Deathly Hallows, and you’ll find out that the boy to whom she was referring was none other than Snape. Wow!

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After The Credits

Some movies don’t warrant sticking around until the final credits have rolled, but you’d be missing a neat Easter egg if you left before Goblet of Fire’s. The director of the film, Mike Newell, inserted a humorous disclaimer that reads, “No dragons were harmed in the making of this movie.”

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Color Change

Ever noticed how Dolores Umbridge’s clothes change from a lighter color scheme to a much darker one in Order of the Phoenix? Well, it seems that this is no coincidence. The tyrannical teacher shows her true colors as the movie progresses, and her clothes are a reflection of this.

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Dumbledore’s Books

Those books in Dumbledore’s office certainly look ancient, but really, there’s nothing special about them. No, in fact they’re simply phone books that have been coated with dust and given new binding to hide their rather unglamorous contents.

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Snape’s Question

There’s a really clever hidden meaning in Snape’s question to Harry during his first potion class. He says to the young wizard, “What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?” If you look into the symbolism of the herbs, you’ll find that this is an oblique reference to Snape’s love for Harry’s mother Lily – roughly translating as “I bitterly regret Lily’s death.”

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Running Lines

Young Daniel Radcliffe used to ask Sir Richard Harris, the first Dumbledore actor, to run lines with him. He already knew his part, but the old man was having trouble remembering his lines so Radcliffe practiced with him. The boy is Gryffindor through and through!

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Unlikely Friends

Their characters wanted to kill each other on-screen, but Helena Bonham Carter, who played Bellatrix Lestrange, and Radcliffe actually got along really well. She told Stephen Colbert that the young actor used to help carry her beverages on-set.

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Real Terror

You may have thought Rupert Grint deserved an Oscar for his reaction to the spiders in Chamber of Secrets, but he actually wasn’t acting at all. He is intensely phobic about spiders in real life!

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