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Leaky's Complete Report from Warner Bros. Studio Tour - Making of Harry Potter Event, Tickets On Sale Oct. 13

Posted by: Stephanie_J
August 14, 2011, 11:24 PM

Earlier today, Leaky brought you live coverage from the O2 arena in London where Warner Bros. Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter presentation was held as part of Empire BIG SCREEN.

Present at the event were Warwick Davis (Flitwick/Griphook) and Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood) who announced that tickets for the Studio Tour will go on sale October 13, 2011. Tickets will be priced at £28 for adults and £21 for children. Warner Bros. Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter is still on track to open Spring 2012. A new concept art of the entrance to the Studio Tour was also released and can be seen at this link.

A complete report on the presentation has been put together by Leaky reporter Ky. Read all about it below!

TV presenter Ben Shepherd and his experiences on the Harry Potter set:
The talk started with Ben Shepherd (from the ITV "Behind the Magic" documentaries) talking about his experiences of the set when he had the opportunity to go on set visits during production in the past six years. He described Leavesden Studios as "you couldn't find a more nondescript location" in an old Rolls Royce factory, which was freezing cold in the winter and roasting hot in the summer. It has a tin roof which often leaked during heavy rain, causing filming to stop. But despite all this, he says Leavesden contains the most magical place he had ever experienced in his life, as there is no where in the world like the Harry Potter sets. He described an encounter of meeting Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) as he was on the way back from the toilet, (not Voldemort as "he doesn't do poos"), and meeting Death Eaters in the canteen ordering pie and spotted dick.

The studio tour is going to be the biggest UK attraction opening in 2012 and will now give the opportunity for the public to experience these locations. He described how we will get to experience being in the Great Hall and Dumbledore's office, which holds an extraordinary sense of grandeur. He also mentioned a room behind Dumbledore's office which was never actually used during filming but will be open to visitors, as well as getting to see a huge amount of costumes and props. The tour will be across two of Leavesden's sound stages which totals 150,000 square feet. 
The Trailer:
The session premiered a two minute trailer featuring clips of the films interspersed with small clips of the studios and interviews, overlapped with soundtrack from the "Deathly Hallows" movies. The interviews were with the trio: Daniel Radcliffe saying Leavesden Studios was their home and how amazing it was to see the sets everyday; Rupert Grint talking about being able to see the detail that isn't noticed in the film; Emma Watson being very excited and saying "it has been a long time coming." The trailer showed glimpses of the set of the Great Hall, the Ministry of Magic, including the "Magic is Might" monument, the Wanted posters, Diagon Alley and Weasleys' Wizards Wheezes, the opening to the Chamber of Secrets and the "special effects" of the snakes moving.
Warwick Davis on playing Professor Flitwick:
Warwick Davis came to the stage and spoke of the honour and privilege he had working on the films and was appreciative of the make-up artists for giving him that opportunity. He didn't realise while working on the first film it would become something that would dominate the next ten years of his career. He likened it to working on a soap opera, which is unheard of in such a large scale in movies. He spoke about Leavesden reporting its nondescript nature similarly to Ben Shepherd's account, but was overwhelmed by the artistry and craftsmanship inside and was excited for the pubic to now fully appreciate what couldn't be seen on film. He mentioned in particular the intricate carving on the doors to the Great Hall. He said the Great Hall was his favourite set as it was all real (apart from the ceiling, which was a lot of scaffolding and a lighting technician leaning over them). He spoke of his first day of filming, which was on that set, and the amazement of sitting at the head table with Richard Harris, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane and Alan Rickman. (He added a "woo woo!," and clarified jokingly that it wasn't for Alan, although he is a lovely man.) He said it was his favourite set due to all the varying scenes it had held such as feasts and the funerals and the Yule Ball. He took this opportunity to describe how he jokingly suggested to Mike Newell (the director of "Goblet of Fire") how it would be funny for Flitwick to do a stage dive, to which Newell came back after the weekend to say, "Let's do it!" He described how they dressed up stunt performers as students to catch him, as they didn't trust the kids, and that if you look carefully his false teeth pop out as he was caught in "one of those places."

The conversation then turned to Warwick as Griphook, for which the prosthetic he wore was on stage. He said it was weird to be looking at the mask rather than being in it and said how on the tour, this will be something we will be able to get up close to, not just the sets. 
Nick Dudman and the Goblin creature makeup:
Nick Dudman, the creature makeup effects artist for the Harry Potter films, was then welcomed to the stage. He has been working with Warwick Davis since "Return of the Jedi" (when Warwick was 11 years old, and he a trainee) and then through films like "Willow" and "Labyrinth." They appeared to have a good relationship, joking along as they went through the talk. Nick went to describe the making of the goblin faces, especially for "Deathly Hallows: Part 2" which required 38 goblins to be ready on set at the same time. He described the design process and how they wanted to keep the same look for the goblins as in the first movie, and this was a starting point for the design of the goblins in "Deathly Hallows." They then took molds of the actors, and started doing sketches and rough outlines in clay to wait for approval from the director. Once they were happy with that they would do the final molds in soft silicone in three separate sections to be applied to the actors. The detail was very important to get the right muscle shapes, but they also were conscious to make a mask that would move realistically, so that it would enhance the performance of the actor instead of covering it up.  Even though all the molds were pre-made and the hairs individually punched beforehand, it would take a further 4 hours for it to be applied to the actor in a way that the seams would not show.

They then welcomed to the stage Sarita Allison, a makeup artist on the films who had today applied the make up of Bogrod (originally played by Jon Key) to Warwick's wife Sam. They showed a film on the screen of an edited down review of the 4 hour process it took for Warwick to have the Griphook prosthetic applied. First to be applied is a bald cap to give a surface to be applied to, then the three pieces of silicone: a head, face and chin, and then ears, contact lenses, teeth and hand makeup and nails. The hair is human hair from Italy, and they also used some animal fur for the eyebrows as this is tapered at the ends giving a more realistic look, as human hair has to be cut.

They spoke about the difficulty of doing so many goblins for the Gringotts scene and having to call on makeup artists from fifteen different countries. Nick explained how each mask could only be used once so over numerous days of shooting there was a lot of prosthetics required, all of which needed to be hand painted and required 3 people to apply them. On stage some of the "background heads" were displayed. There were actually 60 goblins required, only 38 had the full three piece silicone prosthetic, and the rest had full piece masks. 
Creature Workshop on the Studio Tour:
For the Studio Tour they have created a "Creature Workshop" to showcase the achievement of the make-up department. They will have all models they worked on, even if they ended up in the film as digital creations, from Neville's Mimbulus Mimbletonia to Buckbeak, Aragog, and Fawkes, some of which will be moving. Nick then went to describe the making of the models like Fawkes and Buckbeak where the feathers were individually trimmed and applied in a way to make it look realistic when the wings opened. He joked about the complications of using an animatronic versus using an actor. Nick was appreciative of his work being preserved for the past ten years, whereas on average movies his work and the models are thrown away. 
Evanna Lynch on being Luna:
Evanna described briefly how she got the role of being Luna, that she was a "professional fan" rather than a professional actor and had seen the casting call on fan sites (a cheer from the audience at the mention of The Leaky Cauldron!). She described her first moment on set, being overwhelmed that she was standing next to Daniel Radcliffe, but then asking him to step aside so that she could admire the set! She echoed previous statements of how much detail on the set goes unnoticed in the films, especially on props such as the Quibbler. She spoke about the wedding scene set, and that it was uniquely wizardly in that it was like no ordinary wedding. She then performed the Wrackspurt dance and spoke of the inspiration for choreography of that and that it was Rhys Ifans's (Xenophilius Lovegood) idea to add the up and down motion. Although she didn't film there, she also liked the Lovegood house set and the drawings on the wall as it explains why Luna is the way she is. She spoke about Luna's outfits and how she thinks she wouldn't have been able to play Luna properly without the embarrassing outfits as they set her apart because she can't possibly care what she looks like, just like Luna wouldn't. Her favourite outfit was the "Christmas Tree" dress she wore to Slughorn's party, even though she couldn't sit down in it. She also liked the Lion Hat, which was displayed on stage, as it blinked and moved.

Evanna then spoke about how Harry Potter has changed her life, due to the poignant message in the books of the trio coming through the great burdens by having a lot of determination and teamwork, which she said was also given on the film set. Being a latecomer into the filming she had a lot of support from the friends she made during filming.

Lastly, Evanna announced that tickets for the Studio Tour will go on sale on Thursday, 13th October 2011 at . You WILL be required to pre-book tickets to get in to the studio. They will not be selling tickets on site. Evanna joked they have the protective spells surrounding the studios so no one can get there by broom or Thestral without a ticket.

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80450 Points

Very nice indeed!

Posted by Won_Two on August 15, 2011, 12:50 AM report to moderator

I worry that a tour might take away some of the magic. Is anyone else concerned about that?

I think I’d like to go to WETA and the Lord of the Rings tours in New Zealand first since I really like those movies but they don’t mean quite as much to me.

Posted by jillians642 on August 15, 2011, 12:57 AM report to moderator
20981 Points

Aww, I just loved everything Evanna said. Luna’s Christmas Tree dress was my favourite too! :D If I could, I’d find a way to re-create it. ;}

Posted by LunaLuver on August 15, 2011, 01:37 AM report to moderator
667 Points

@jillians642: I understand your concern, but I consider this as a tribute to all those designers, artists and craftsmen who have worked behind the scenes to create the wonderful films we have enjoyed. It’s also nice not to have to travel all the way across the Atlantic – London is closer to Denmark, after all.

Posted by chikitcorpuzvesterbaek on August 15, 2011, 02:20 AM report to moderator
10471 Points

I just love the Harry Potter books and films and after seeing the last film, everytime I think about it I just want to burst out and cry! So It’s heartbreaking that they talked about Leavesden as their home and now they’ll never be there! I really would like to go to Leavesden! But I know I probably won’t but my dream is to meet the cast and crew, visit Leavesden, and of course meet Jo! Basically, I just want to say Harry Potter really took a hold of my life and I don’t think it’s over, it’s too strong in our hearts to be over! But knowing there will probably be no more books and movies breaks my heart! </3

Posted by . on August 15, 2011, 03:21 AM report to moderator
1183 Points

wish i could go there, that would be THE BEE’S KNEES!!! :D:D

Posted by hermy007 on August 15, 2011, 04:42 AM report to moderator
212 Points

Yeahh I was part of that cheer for Leaky!

Posted by JoRowlingRocks on August 15, 2011, 06:46 AM report to moderator
321 Points

Sounds wonderful.

Posted by HogwartsForever on August 15, 2011, 07:42 AM report to moderator
4138 Points

I really want to go!!!!

Posted by Calum Wilson (RuneDream54) on August 15, 2011, 08:49 AM report to moderator
28416 Points

@jillians642: Seriously the tour won’t take away the magic, I had a couple of set visits to Leavesden during the making of Deathly Hallows and the sets and props are incredible, somehow it seemed to add to the magic, being able to see the detail of props and sets that you would not normally be able to do.

Posted by moglet [ITC!] on August 15, 2011, 09:07 AM report to moderator
2414 Points

i need to go there!!! sounds amazing!!!

Posted by ahaque521 on August 15, 2011, 09:37 AM report to moderator
324 Points

legend i love her haha!

Posted by Shona Macleod on August 15, 2011, 02:22 PM report to moderator
55 Points

Maybe someday I will go. I’m glad that they have something for fans in london finally. I live in America so I will have to save up money.

Posted by graziboi on August 15, 2011, 02:44 PM report to moderator
490 Points

I’m in USA too:(

Posted by farewell_fred on August 15, 2011, 03:42 PM report to moderator
69 Points

I live in PHilippines, so if i want to go there i need to work hard and save money.. i want to go and see the magic of Harry potter… I love HP.. books and moviessss

Posted by moonfairychyn on August 15, 2011, 05:42 PM report to moderator
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