I got to experience it all this past weekend, thanks to Warner Brothers, the Harry Potter Exhibition and the team behind How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.
The activities started on Sunday afternoon with a visit to the Apple Store on Prince Street, where producers David Heyman and David Barron were joined by Warwick Davis, Robbie Coltrane, Helen McCrory, David Thewlis, Natalia Tena, Oliver and James Phelps, Bonnie Wright, Evanna Lynch and Freddie Stroma; the entire recording will be up in the iTunes Store later this week. You can also catch up on some of the quotes here, and please feel free to discuss the actors thoughts on their characters in FictionAlley Park.
The producers agreed that had they filmed the last book "as one [movie] ... it would have made absolutely no sense at all." Also, Steve Kloves tried to convince them to do it as three films, and a few years ago they also considered making two movies out of Goblet of Fire.
When David Thewlis discussed his character with Alfonso Cuaron back in 2003, he said that "Alfonso Cuaron told me that I was gay... and then I instead got married. I saw it as a phase he went through."
Bonnie spoke of the pressure she felt when Harry and Ginny got together in the sixth film. "I was worried that everyone was going to suddenly dislike the character." Later she noted that "Ginny and Hermione have to step it up because the guys are a bit lazy..."
Michael Gambon liked scenes where he felt the power of being at the dais in the front of the Great Hall. David Heyman liked intimate scenes, especially Harry and Hermione dancing in Deathly Hallows Part 1.
David Barron said when Jo came to set for first time, she said the wands they'd made were too ornate so they redid them more simply. [Side note: when you go to the Exhibition in NYC, pay particular attention to the matched designs on Lucius and Narcissa's wands.]
You'll be able to hear all this and more on the free download from iTunes later this week.
Sunday afternoon, many of us decamped to walk through Harry Potter: The Exhibition, located at the Discovery Center at 226 West 44th Street (between Broadway & 8th avenues, across from Schubert Alley). Tickets are $25 for adults, $22.50 for seniors, and 19.50 for kids between the ages of 4 and 12; you can also add on the audio tour for $7, and it's definitely worth it, but it can be shared between two people.
Way back in 2003, I was lucky enough to have a chance to walk around the second floor of the Warner Brothers museum on the studio lot, and I wrote it up for The Leaky Cauldron; it's also posted somewhere in the Park but I can't find it now. Almost all the items on display in the Exhibition are different from the items at the WB museum, but they're just as amazing - if not moreso. We don't want to give away too many spoilers, but if you don't mind being spoiled, you can see images of some of the items here. There are costumes, creatures, two interactive stations - one's Herbology-themed and one's Quidditch-centric - wands of almost all the major characters, Horcruxes and Hallows, and a few new additions that were not seen in the prior installations, including at least one item from Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows: Part Two.
I strongly recommend getting the audio tour, because the interviews with the cast, producers and crew give so much additional insight into the creative process behind many of the items. You can read pages in schoolbooks, from cram guides and tests and issues of The Daily Prophet. Every time I've walked through, I've enjoyed glimmers of inspiration for fanfics because the props, costumes and items give fascinating and inspirational insights into the breadth and scope of the Wizarding World.
We're still working on our transcript of our interviews with the cast and producers - we got to chat with everyone who was at the Apple store, plus Clemence Posey, Domnhall Gleeson and Mark Williams, as well as Eddie Newquist, the curator and lead compiler of the Exhibition itself.
Monday night was the grand opening of Harry Potter: The Exhibition. At least a thousand fans were on bleachers and the sidewalk across the street from the Exhibition, and others walked back and forth on the sidewalk, much to the frustration of the NYPD. Evanna Lynch managed to convince the police to let her go and chat with the fans, but nobody else, including Robbie Coltrane, was allowed to go across because the street remained open to traffic. Ah, New York.
We got some photos of the actors, the producers and others on the red carpet, and you can check them out by clicking the collage:
On Tuesday, when all the excitement at the Exhibition had quieted down, I went back with friends to check out the gift shop and spend a little more time focused on the costumes, Horcruxes and Hallows. Then, in the evening, I went with friends to see Daniel Radcliffe in How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying; obviously, it's not Harry Potter, per se, but the audience was clearly filled with Harry Potter fans, as well as a few of Daniel's castmates, including James and Oliver Phelps, Bonnie Wright, Mark Williams and Warwick Davis; Freddie Stroma and Evanna Lynch went on Sunday afternoon. Personally, I'm a musicals-fan in general, but I don't automatically love everything, and this production was fantastic. Daniel really can sing and dance - and his American accent was a treat; the staging was fun and dynamic, and the rest of the cast are brilliant, too. "Grand Old Ivy" was a showstopper in a way that I don't think it's ever been before, and there were at least a dozen moments where the audience just erupted in joy and applause.
Click here to reserve tickets to How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying at a 40% discount. Showtimes are Tuesday at 7PM; Wed 2PM & 8PM; Thursday at 7PM; Friday at 8PM; Saturday at 2PM & 8PM, Sunday at 3PM.
Note: My tickets to Harry Potter: The Exhibition were complementary, but I paid for my own ticket to "How To Succeed", although I used the discount code linked to above.