One of Harry’s most distinguishing features are the green eyes he inherited from his mother Lily. However, Daniel Radcliffe’s eyes are bright blue. Easily fixed with a pair of green colour contact lenses, right? Unfortunately not. On the very first day of filming, when they were shooting Harry leaving Hogwarts and saying goodbye to Hagrid, Daniel wore the contact lenses and ended up with streaming bloodshot eyes. While Harry having watery eyes was great for this moving moment, it wasn’t so brilliant for Daniel. It turns out he was having a severe reaction to the lenses and so was unable to wear them. Instead, the team tried to digitally alter his eye-colour – but it just looked fake. So, from that moment on, the film version of Harry had blue eyes.
The green contact lenses weren’t the only eyewear that caused Daniel Radcliffe problems on set. According to Daniel, during the first couple of weeks of filming he started getting ‘terrible spots’. It was his Dad, Alan Radcliffe, who noticed what might be causing them when he saw that they seemed to follow a particular pattern. The spots had formed neat circles around Daniel’s eyes – exactly where his glasses would be. It transpired that Daniel had a nickel allergy, and it was Harry’s iconic glasses that were causing this particular skin issue.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Fluffy the three-headed dog was completely a CG animation. And while they were for the most part, there were also some fun practical effects that went into Fluffy’s creation. One of these practical features were the giant paws that were built for the actors to use in close-up shots. However, not all the practical effects were so pleasant. Fluffy’s drool was not CGI. It was very real and very gross – and we’d have the same reaction as Ron if we ended up with it dribbling down our shoulder.
Warwick Davis did not just play the role of Professor Flitwick in Philosopher’s Stone. In fact, he played multiple characters found in the wizarding world. If you’re eagle-eyed and sharp-eared you can see him pop up in multiple places. In the first film he was the bank teller at Gringotts bank who asked Harry and Hagrid for the key to the Potter’s vault. He was also the voice (but not body) of the goblin Griphook. However, as a lot of you have probably spotted, he did go on to embody the whole role of Griphook in the final two films.
One memorable character trait of Hermione Granger (along with her bushy hair) was her buck teeth. As the production team on the first movie were trying to stick as closely as they could to the books – this included Hermione’s teeth. So, to emulate this a pair of prosthetic teeth were made for Emma Watson. But according to the film’s director Chris Columbus ‘They looked a little silly and they affected her speech’. That didn’t stop them the team from giving them a whirl on the first day of shooting. If you look closely at the final scene of Philosopher’s Stone, you will see Emma Watson in a pair of oversized dentures. It’s safe to say they weren’t particularly successful and were quickly abandoned!
When Harry wakes up on his first Christmas morning at Hogwarts, he isn’t really expecting to get any presents at all. Luckily, he does, and it turns out he’s even been given a famous Weasley jumper. However, did you notice that the film version was different to the book version? In the book, his glorious knitwear is described as emerald green and has no letter on the front. But in movie, his first Weasley jumper is blue with a large letter ‘H’. Either way, both are brilliant – we certainly wish we had our very own woollen Mrs Weasley creation.
If you think of the Weasleys, we reckon their flaming red hair is one of the first things to spring to mind. But did you know that not all the actors who played the members of this magical family were natural redheads? This was the case for James and Oliver Phelps, who had to dye their brown hair ginger to become Fred and George. Though their newly dyed hair did help them to convince their mates that they had been cast as the popular Weasley twins. Oliver has even said that nobody at their school believed them when they initially revealed they were going to appear in Philosopher’s Stone. It was only after they turned up one day with bright red locks that their peers started to think they were being serious.
It turns out that Emma Watson shared quite a few similarities with her character Hermione Granger – including going above and beyond when it came to doing her homework. During the filming of the first movie, not only did she learn her lines, but she also learnt those of the other cast members. When they were filming, Chris Columbus would often have to call cut because Emma would be mouthing the lines of Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint without realising what she was doing.
When the filmmakers were discussing how to bring the deadly Devil’s Snare to life, they soon realised that creating it using CGI would be too expensive. Instead, they had to think of a practical way for it to ensnare Harry, Ron and Hermione. In the end, they decided to use puppeteers and camera trickery to bring it to life. Giant tentacles were wrapped around the actors and the hidden puppeteers would make them move and slither off the trio. Then, to make the tentacles appear as though they were enveloping rather than releasing the characters, the film was played backwards.
Richard Harris was an excellent choice for the iconic role of Albus Dumbledore. He brought the character to life and made the part his own. However, did you know that he almost said no to being Dumbledore? According to Richard, he was about to turn the role down for various reasons when his granddaughter Ellie stopped him. In an interview he gave about his experience, he said that Ellie had called him and said ‘Papa, if you don’t play Dumbledore, I will never speak to you again!’. With such strong views he felt he had no choice and came on board. We know we’re very grateful that she gave him the push he needed!