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Top 10 Behind the Scenes Secrets From Harry Potter

VO: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: Sean Harris

Here’s how the magic really happened. For this list, we're counting down the most surprising, shocking, weirdest, strangest and most secretive behind the scenes stories from everyone's favourite Wizarding World film franchise, the Harry Potter movie series. With hints at who dated who, plus startling revelations about unusual on-set behaviour, and some in-the-know trivia about some of the saga's most famous scenes - this one's for all you Potterheads out there!

Special thanks to our user WordToTheWes for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Script written by Sean Harris

Top 10 Behind the Scenes Secrets from Harry Potter


Here’s how the magic really happened. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 behind the scenes secrets from Harry Potter!

For this list, we’ve gathered the juiciest, most surprising and most significant on-set stories to emerge from the “Harry Potter” franchise. Major news stories from the films haven’t been included, as we’re focussing on facts which largely bypassed the muggle mass media.

#10: Harry Was Hungover

The Boy who Lived may be one of the world’s best-loved heroes, but Daniel Radcliffe was a bit of a rogue, at times. Having grown up under intense public scrutiny, the actor has often admitted to being bleary-eyed on set, claiming that some crucial Potter scenes were filmed whilst he was nursing a hangover. He has also spoken about drunkenly hooking up with Harry Potter groupies, and some 2009 reports claimed that Radcliffe and Rupert Grint had been seen smoking a questionable roll-up – though both strongly denied those accusations.

#9: Draco’s Wife Was his Girlfriend

While the epilogue continues to divide opinion with fans, it did afford an opportunity for a very small, though quite romantic cameo. Just before Harry’s heart to heart with his son, we catch a fleeting glimpse of Draco and his family, including his wife Astoria. She was played by Draco actor Tom Felton’s then-girlfriend, Jade Olivia. The pair had met on set, where Jade worked as a stunt coordinator and extra, and they were together until 2016.

#8: Jason Isaacs was Caught Stealing

From one famous Slytherin to another, and Draco’s father Lucius Malfoy. An all-out baddie in the movies, he earned a slice of bad boy rep behind the scenes as well, because he had a tendency to steal stuff. First, he tried to nab his character’s wand, and then he tried to pinch some copies of the Daily Prophet – he failed on both occasions. But casual pilfering was supposedly rife across the Potter set, with one famous anecdote centring on a pile of gold coins which were supposedly swiped as mementos while filming “Philosopher’s Stone”.

#7: Emma Watson Almost Quit

In the mid-2000s, and particularly after filming finished for the third and fourth movies, contract speculation rumbled through the cast – particularly amongst the younger cast-members. Daniel Radcliffe is said to have seriously considered ditching his role following “Goblet of Fire” (concerned that Harry could hamper the rest of his career), but Emma Watson reportedly came the closest to quitting. The actress was worried that the intense schedule would distract from her education. Thankfully, a balance was struck, Hermione went unchanged and Emma eventually graduated from the prestigious Brown University.

#6: Neville Was Wearing a Fat Suit

Since Harry Potter, and after years of playing the awkward and lumbering Neville Longbottom, Matthew Lewis has made many a headline as a surprisingly handsome chap. But in truth, the actor was never a dead ringer for Neville in real life, as he wore a fat suit for a lot of his scenes. In fact, the assumption that Lewis himself was chubby caused the child actor some distress while filming. And Lewis’ misfortune doesn’t end there. While shooting “Order of the Phoenix”, Helena Bonham Carter ruptured his eardrum with an overenthusiastic thrust of her wand. Ouch.

#5: There Was No Need for Love Potions

Mimicking most of their on-screen characters, a lot of the Potter cast were rumoured to be romantically involved at some time or another – with some stories proving more reliable than others. Daniel, Rupert and Matt Lewis all supposedly had eyes for Emma Watson, but she was constantly linked with Tom Felton. And while he was reportedly into Emma too, we’ve already seen that Felton paired off with Jade Olivia – he also admitted that Helena Bonham Carter was his biggest cast crush. Then there was the Bonnie Wright/Jamie Campbell Bower engagement, but that was called off in 2012. It’s all quite confusing.

#4: Harry Had Lots of Wands

You’ve heard it said that the wand chooses the wizard, but Harry’s chose him at least 80 times. Daniel Radcliffe’s often foolish wand-waving resulted in many a broken prop, so his weapon of choice was replaced countless times. Sticking with breakages, the crew went through 14 battered Ford Anglias before filming finished on “The Chamber of Secrets”, and over 40 lockets were used in the making of Ron’s “Deathly Hallows” horcrux scene. And two further stats to blow muggle minds; Ollivander’s was filled with over 17,000 hand-decorated wand-boxes, and the Gringotts chandeliers held 25,000 crystals. Each!

#3: Some Famous Lines Were Improvised

While these films are responsible for some of cinema’s greatest ever quotes, some of the best one-liners weren’t in the script at all. Like when Harry’s running on Polyjuice Potion, and Malfoy says this: Or when Lucius improvises this line, only for Harry to hit back with this: Barty Crouch Jr.’s tongue tick was also an on-set invention by David Tennant, and the oh so awkward hug between Voldermort and Draco was completely off the cuff, too. No wonder Malfoy looks so taken aback.

#2: Harry Potter and the Outbreak of Head Lice

Movies can suffer production delays for all manner of reasons, but few films are held up for this. Cast and crew were forced off set during shooting for the second Potter instalment when the majority of youngsters (and some of the adults) caught a bad case of nits. Proving that even Hogwarts students aren’t immune to everyday school kid problems, “The Chamber of Secrets” was set back a couple of days while everyone de-liced. Madam Pomfrey was working overtime.

#1: Alan Rickman Knew Snape’s Story from the Start

Or, important parts of it at least. Snape’s final memories are an absolutely pivotal moment in the films and books, revealing where the character’s loyalties really lay. But while the plot twist at the Pensieve caught Harry by surprise, it was no shock for Snape actor, Alan Rickman. JK Rowling let Rickman in on specific details about his character’s history, particularly his love for Lily, prior to filming “Philosopher’s Stone”. As such, Rickman purposely shaped his performance with snippets from Snape’s story in mind, despite his directors being none the wiser. What a hero.
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