"" Writer's Wanderings: Harry Potter - The Movie Workshops

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Harry Potter - The Movie Workshops

After our lunch and butter beers on the Harry Potter movie set, we entered the workshop area that displayed many of the makeup artists creations for the various types of characters found in the stories---mostly the goblins found in Gringott's Bank. Eerie heads and hands were lined up on shelves and shelves from floor to ceiling and all around a huge room. 

The most surprising of all were two heads fashioned for Hagrid. One was hooked to complicated mechanisms that blinked eyes, moved the mouth, etc. All for the stunt doubles and for wide shots when the actor, Robbie Coltrane, wasn't needed to speak in the shot. The actor is actually 6' 1"--as he puts it, "north, south, east, and west." He's a British comedian. Of course movie magic made him appear even taller and larger.
After passing by the extremely large and hairy spider from one of the movies, we were channeled into Diagon Alley. It was amazing. All of the shop fronts were there. Purchase an owl? Want a wand? How about ingredients for your magic potions? Of course all the stylish wizarding clothes were displayed in the windows and the Weasleys were set up in a shop with their clever off the wall (even for wizards) goodies.

Deciding we didn't really need anything magical at the moment (they were only store fronts anyway), we passed along and glanced back for one last look at the Gringott's Bank entrance before entering the model display area where many of the mock-ups of sets showed the planning stages for what was to come. In the welcome video, actor Daniel Radcliffe had mentioned a surprise at the end and referred to Hogwarts. We thought the large white cardboard mock up of Hogwarts was it. Not so.

The next room was at least as big as a basketball court--maybe two. And in the center was the real Hogwarts, the real model anyway. This was the one used to shoot the pictures of Hogwarts from the outside. Remember the bridge section I told you about? Well, the "real" bridge was part of the model and spanned the whole valley beneath it. The lights in the room cycled from daylight to night time so you could catch a glimpse of Hogwarts during all phases of the day and night. It was, well, magical!

Just like at Disney (everyone has learned this trick) we were funneled out to the gift shop but not until we had passed through a room full of wand boxes. Each box had a name on it that was significant to the writing, producing, and making of the books and movies. A guide in the room could point out all the significant wands if you asked.

We returned our audio guides and wandered through the gift shop wondering who might enjoy some Bertie Botts Jelly Beans.

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