Harry Potter News

The Weasley Twins Speak!

TFK talks to actors James and Oliver Phelps about the final Harry Potter film

July 15, 2011
JOEL RYAN—AP

Twin actors Oliver and James Phelps play George and Fred Weasley in the Harry Potter movie series.

It all ends here. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, the eighth and final film in the spellbinding series, flies into theaters today. Part 2 picks up right where the last movie left off. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his best friends Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) continue on their quest to find and destroy the last of Voldemort's Horcruxes. The dark objects hold the key to destroying the evil wizard for good.

Their search ultimately leads them back to Hogwarts, where the Dark Lord's forces have surrounded the school, ready to attack. Who will survive in this epic battle between good and evil? Only one thing's for sure: No one is safe.

Deathly Hallows: Part 2, also playing in 3-D and IMAX 3-D, is already expected to shatter box office records. The first Deathly Hallows installment raked in more than $955 million worldwide. Eager fans purchased their tickets for Part 2 far in advance, and midnight showings were sold out across the country.

The end of the Potter era has been "bittersweet," actors James and Oliver Phelps told TFK, for the fans and the cast alike. The brothers have played the prankster Weasley twins for the past 10 years. James plays Fred, and Oliver plays George. Read on to learn about their last days on set and what it's been like for them to leave their Potter days behind.

TFK:

How does it feel now that the series is finally wrapping up after 10 years?

OLIVER:

I think we've had time to get it into our heads that it's coming to an end. It's just been such a great journey from the onset, since we were so young when we started it. In one way, it's sad that it's finishing, but in another, it's great that it's finishing on this high because of the energy. It's a testament to the whole franchise, really.

TFK:

Can you describe what it was like for you on your last day on set?

JAMES:

Bittersweet is the best way to describe it. [Director] David Yates yelled cut, and that was it after 10 years. We prepared for that, and we knew that we would see everyone again. But what I hadn't prepared for was leaving the hotel that we had pretty much lived in for 10 years! It's sad that it's over, but we made some great friends along the way.

TFK:

Do you see yourselves at all in the Weasley twins?

OLIVER:

I think so, especially since we've been doing the films since we were 14. It's kind of the age in your life where you work out who you are and what type of character you're going to be. I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing that we were playing these jokers, but they're definitely suited to our personalities. It's fun to be able to behave on set in that manner, and then you can always say, "Oh, I'm method acting."

TFK:

Who's the biggest prankster of the two of you?

OLIVER:

James always says that I take a joke too far.

JAMES:

I think I do more of the pranks because Oliver's very easy to wind up. If Oliver snaps, that's not very fun for anyone. [Laughs.]

OLIVER:

I just believe that revenge is a dish that's best served cold!

TFK:

Who's the good twin?

OLIVER:

James, completely, after hearing that story. Really, it was cool being able to do this whole series with my brother. The first day of filming is very much like the first day of school, so being able to go into that situation with someone you know well already was really a blessing for us.

TFK:

After playing these characters for so long, by the end, did you feel like you were still learning new things about them?

OLIVER:

Yeah, completely, especially in the last installment, Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and Part 2. It was the first time we were able to play Fred and George not joking around, so you see another side to their attitude. It was cool learning that side of their character as well. It made them more human. They are vulnerable; they can't laugh everything off. To be able to do that was really good.

TFK:

Did you keep any souvenirs from the set?

JAMES:

We weren't officially allowed to, but if we were to have, I think I would have taken something from the Skiving Snackboxes. All the props from Potter are just really cool. So much detail goes into all of them.

OLIVER:

Yeah, they were really strict on taking anything. I always wanted to take the wand, because every character's wand is unique; it's different. That was one thing they weren't letting go of at all. I was still holding out hope that at the last premiere they might present them to everyone. But I think that may be a really strong wish.

TFK:

Which was your favorite artifact from the Harry Potter traveling exhibition?

OLIVER:

There's some really cool stuff to do with the Quidditch gear. Obviously, we grew up playing Quidditch in the films, so it was something we displayed an interest in [seeing at the exhibition]. And there is a really nice set that they have in the exhibit where you can actually throw the quaffles to score points. It's quite cool, and it also shows how the costumes have evolved over the years—how it started off as almost like an old-fashioned, baseball-mixed-with-cricket-style getup, to now, where it's a very much more aerodynamic gear.

JAMES:

Mine would be the smaller props, like the program from the Quidditch World Cup. I mean, it's on screen for half a second in the background [of Goblet of Fire], but it's five pages long. It's incredible. It just shows how much detail goes into little things like that. We've met other people who have seen the exhibit in other cities and they're just blown away by all the details that go into the props.

TFK:

There's a real-world Quidditch game that people are playing now . . .

JAMES:

Yeah, we learned that when we were in New York! The NYU Quidditch team were there. I asked someone, "How do you play it? Is it violent?" The guy started laughing. He said he's left two games in an ambulance! I think I'd like to check it out—not play—but I'd like to check it out.

OLIVER:

I don't think I'll be playing it too soon! I think that just shows the scope of the whole Harry Potter thing.

TFK:

Do you ever go back and watch the first film and think, "Wow, we were so young!"?

BOTH:

No! [Laughs.]

OLIVER:

It's always on at Christmas in the U.K., and we know it, because we always get a text message from someone saying, "Oh, how young you are, how high your voice was, look at that hair." It's kind of like a home movie that everyone can see. It seems like yesterday when we filmed the first movie, and it's just amazing how quickly the time has gone. But luckily the hair color has changed for our day-to-day life.

TFK:

Did you have to dye your hair for the role?

OLIVER:

Yeah, we were redheads only for Potter. Our natural hair color is brown. That was something else.

JAMES:

They even did the eyebrows and everything.

TFK:

If you could perform any spell from the series in real life, which would you pick?

OLIVER:

I would have to say a Portkey. When we fly back to the U.K., it's quite a long flight. You've got to check in, wait, fly on a 10-hour flight, then get your bags and things. With a Portkey, you would be there in seconds. It would make traveling a lot easier.

JAMES:

I think Expelliarmus. When you play football or soccer, you could keep your wand in your sock. Then if someone is running at you, you could aim the spell at them and the ball would be disarmed from them. That would come in handy, I think.

 

Read the rest of the interview below. But be warned of spoilers!

 

TFK:

Were you satisfied with how the story wraps up for Fred and George, even though (SPOILER ALERT!) Fred dies in the final battle?

OLIVER:

Yeah, I think it's weird because at the premiere [for Order of the Phoenix], we actually started thinking about what was going to happen to these characters. And then the seventh book came out, so we read it, and we were like, "Oh, OK." One of our friends texted me and said, "Did you say something to J.K. Rowling of a nasty nature? Because she really has it in for your characters in the final book!"

JAMES:

I think it really shows, especially with Fred, that not even the younger members of Dumbledore's Army are safe. It shows that no one is invincible. When you lose a character like that, it sets up the tone that makes people think, "Is this going to end well for Harry or not?"

TFK:

Were you surprised when you read that Fred had died?

JAMES:

Yeah, definitely. It's one of those things where I had to read the chapter again to make sure I got it all right. It's kind of a surreal moment, really. I was on the bullet train in Japan, and I had just read the bit where he just died. The ticket inspector was asking for my ticket, and I can't speak Japanese and he couldn't speak English, but I was trying to explain to him what had just happened! We've become really close to these characters. Learning that Fred wasn't going to live was quite a weird feeling.

 

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