When it came to transforming the beloved “Harry Potter” books into eight blockbuster movies, it took more than just a little movie magic to recreate the fantastical magic detailed throughout their pages. In one case, it took a whopping 95 takes.
The complicated scene comes early in the penultimate movie, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1,” when the Order of the Phoenix comes up with a plan to sneak Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) out of the Dursleys’ house to somewhere safer. The goal is to throw off the Death Eaters, so six of Harry’s allies use polyjuice potion to look just like him, and then each pairs off with an Order member to fly away and cause their adversaries mass confusion.
For the most part, it works! But in the process they lose Mad-Eye Moody (Brendan Gleeson) and Harry’s owl Hedwig. Despite the grim circumstances surrounding the plan, the initial scene of everyone turning into Harry offers plenty of humor. However, for all its fun, it was a technical challenge to film.
Daniel Radcliffe had to be very precise while filming
To create the “Seven Harrys” scene, actor Daniel Radcliffe had to film each individual character separately. Then, the editors and special effects team worked to put all seven versions of him into one scene. It required a very complicated, detailed plan to pull off correctly. Radcliffe said in a behind the scenes video interview that the camera was programmed to move exactly the same way for each take they did. Then he would stand on his mark and act out one of the characters, taking special care to recreate the character’s usual movements and mannerisms.
“You start to look at people in a very analytical way when you’re kind of studying them … Rupert [Grint] walks with a real wiggle in his hips. It’s actually quite a sexy walk,” Radcliffe said. He did between 10 and 12 takes for each character, except for Hermione, who he played with ease. “The most surprising thing was how quickly I got Emma [Watson],” he added. On top of trying to mimic six other actors, Radcliffe also had to make sure his movements were in a precise location because if he was off by a couple inches, the take wouldn’t work with the others.
In the end, it took 95 takes to record all seven of him in the scene. Still, for all the challenges the scene offered, he enjoyed filming it. In particular, he liked putting on Fleur’s costume: “I look fantastic in women’s clothing,” he said in the video. “And of course, I’m delighted with it because seven of me at once on screen, so it’s any actor’s dream.”
While that scene had the most takes, the final days of filming “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” had its own obstacles.