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Father We Love Best: Mark Williams Talks His Role as Arthur Weasley

HBP Film
Posted by: sue
June 24, 2009, 08:27 PM

Tonight we have a bit of a treat as there is a new and rare in depth interview online in the LA Times with actor Mark Williams and his role as Arthur Weasley. In this interview we learn Mark, who has protrayed the Patriarch of the Weasley family in all Harry Potter films, read the series long before he was cast in the part. He offers his thoughts on Arthur, and has high praise for author J.K. Rowling, and the decision to make Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows into two films. While the entire interview is well worth the read, some fascinating comments can be found below:

So, how much freedom did you get to shape Arthur Weasley to your liking?
Well, in the book he's kind of balding and said to Chris [Columbus] 'Well, do you want me to shave my head or something' and he said 'No! No, don't do that!' He looked at me and said 'Don't take it so literally.' J.K. Rowling has been very good about that. She's allowed the films to develop sort of in parallel to the books, but she hasn't changed the sort of characterization of the books either ... And with "Deathly Hallows," I think for the first time, as the books got bigger, Steve Kloves' job got harder and harder. But having two parts to the last book is good. I'm a big champion of it, and not just because I'm in them. She [J.K. Rowling] has such a mathematical brain, or better put, a musical brain and all the themes and the melodies were resolved in the last book.

Arthur Weasley's role has increased through the series -- how did you approach him having a more active role?
I didn't know, but I believe that she has said that he's the only functional father left. Actually, though, I think he's the only functional father. Lucius isn't a functional father. "Proto" fathers Sirius and Dumbledore are dead, and there's no nice way to put that, so he's the only good image of a father really. But you should ask her about that, and believe me when we finish I will ask her.

So, the movies still have the whimsy, but they're getting a little darker it seems. How have you and your character dealt with that?
Well, it was always dark ... John Williams picked it up perfectly, I mean with music being 30% of the film .. I mean, you know, his parents were killed. There's just these great Dickensian -- I've never said that before and I kind of wished I hadn't -- but these great big scenes that you can play on the cello, you know what I mean. As time's gone on, I've just been more and more impressed about her (J.K. Rowling) sense of geography and knowing where she's going. There's a big map in there and I've never felt that any of the concerns or themes or problems have been swept under the carpet.

What's nice is that going into the last two films, thinking that this is a great pleasure to play this character .. and it's great that when we finish, we're gonna BE finished. Not gonna be left hanging.

Is there anything that Arthur Weasley has done in the books that you wish he had done in the film?
Yes! Well, I talked about this with Christopher Columbus and he was very clear that this was not gonna happen. But when we first see Arthur Weasley, he arrives home and a load of gnomes is eating in his garden and he kind of zaps them ... I so wish I could've done that.

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13596 Points

It’s nice to see that Williams, unlike Gambon, reads the books!

Posted by Garden State Geek on June 25, 2009, 12:17 PM report to moderator
1884 Points

From the first time I saw him on film, he was perfect for Arthur. I’m so glad that JK decided to keep him alive. With so many deaths, we do need a constant and Arthur fills that roll. The films and books wouldn’t be the same without Arthur and Molly. I just wish we could say the same for the actress who is playing Narcissa. The actress may do a good job but they really have her hair so off. Now this does bother me. Lol

Posted by Cool G on June 25, 2009, 12:20 PM report to moderator
2404 Points

What a great interview. Arthur is one of my favorite characters in the books and I’m always disappointed when his role has been limited in the movies.

Posted by bookishgal,OoM3,GS on June 25, 2009, 12:33 PM report to moderator
4630 Points

Interesting interview!

Posted by Live Laugh Love Potter ♥ROAR♥ on June 25, 2009, 01:25 PM report to moderator
872 Points

He’s a great Arthur!

Posted by Heavenly_Horcrux on June 25, 2009, 01:39 PM report to moderator
16692 Points

He’s the one and only Arthur!

Posted by Mrs Fred Weasley ROAR! (OoM1) on June 25, 2009, 02:09 PM report to moderator
73 Points

He portrays the spirit of Arthur Weasley so well. I can’t imagine a better person to play him. He’s just the lovable dad everyone wants!

Posted by hermione06 on June 25, 2009, 02:20 PM report to moderator
2482 Points

I love him as Arthur. I love how he’s in the series, and how much he likes his charachter and the whole Harry Potter world. I coulnd’t imagine someone else as Arthur Weasley. And he’s better with the hair!!! ;)

Posted by ele0206 -ROAR- on June 25, 2009, 02:42 PM report to moderator
1252 Points

I love Arthur Weasley! I hope they include the line with his “dearest ambition!” (I am still a bit disappointed they had to cut the part where he blasts the wall at the Dursley’s.)

Posted by Princess Leia on June 25, 2009, 02:51 PM report to moderator
2873 Points

Jo has a “musical brain.” I like that. Well put. I also like the fact that he read the books before he got this job, and that Kloves has yo tell him to pull back on his willingness to be faithful to the text. Aa a fanI appreciate that a lot.

Posted by Lunabelle7 on June 25, 2009, 03:44 PM report to moderator
925 Points

I was sorry that the whole St. Mungo’s part in Order of the Phoenix was omitted, and as a result Arthur’s near-death attack was seriously down-graded. The Weasley family is so much a part of Harry’s life I can’t see the justification for the decision.

Posted by Graymayne on June 25, 2009, 04:03 PM report to moderator
44049 Points

As long as he stops stealing puppies :D

Posted by Dolemite [FTC!] on June 25, 2009, 04:51 PM report to moderator
594 Points

Lovely interview! <3

When I saw the first HP films for the first time, all I could think of when seeing Mark as Arthur Weasley was “suit you, sir!” and some other bits from The Fast Show. But that went away soon and now he’s just Arthur to me. Mark really gets the character, he really gets what Arthur is all about. He’s definitely the most perfect Arthur Weasley there could be.

The same with Timothy Spall, btw — when I first saw him in POA, all I could think of was Auf Wiedersehen, Pet… But since POA, Timothy’s been just Peter Pettigrew to me. For example, when I saw him in Sweeney Todd, I was like “oh, look, it’s Peter Pettigrew!” LOL :D

Posted by MischiefManaged on June 25, 2009, 05:11 PM report to moderator
288 Points

I just love Mark and am so glad he has given life to Arthur Weasley, he does it so well! I am also happy that Jo left Harry with this wonderful father in his life.

Posted by Fereverto on June 25, 2009, 06:30 PM report to moderator

@MischiefManaged, Fast Show and Auf Wiedersehen Pet, two great shows! Mark will always be ‘suits you’ to me but is also totally Arthur Weasley; they are such totally different roles that I can associate him with both quite easily.

Posted by anne1 on June 25, 2009, 07:55 PM report to moderator
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