Harry Potter talk w. Angelina Mandy, James and Oliver Phelps – LFCC, July 19, 2009

At the London Film & Comic Convention, July 2009, three actors from the Harry Potter films gave a talk, namely James and Oliver Phelps (Weasley twins) and Angelina Mandy (Gabrielle Delacour). The talk lasted 20 minutes during which the floor was open for questions. All of the questions came from the audience (not from me, though!), and what you are to read below is a transcript of my notes as tape recordings weren’t allowed. So bear with me if the wording isn’t 100% correct.

Q: This question is for James: When you read the last book and you came to "that part", what did you think?

James Phelps: Well, "that part", I’m not gonna tell what it is in order not to spoil it, if someone hasn’t read the books, but when we got to "that part" we read it like everyone else, and I went, "Okay." But it’s great. I look forward to doing it.

Oliver Phelps: It didn’t come that much as a surprise. Some fans had worked it out already after the fifth book and we were told, so we kinda expected it.

Q: This question is for Angelina Mandy: How is it to be back?

Angelina Mandy: I haven’t started filming yet, but I’m looking forward to it. I’m going to be there for the wedding scene and I can’t wait to get back.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most?

James Phelps: I guess to just be hanging out with the rest of the cast and crew. We’ve done this for nine years now, so it’s a big part of our lives.

Angelina Mandy: I’m just looking forward to being back again.

Oliver Phelps: Same as James said. We start filming again in two weeks, so we turn ginger in a week’s time.

Q: You do a lot of promotion for the new Harry Potter movie?

James Phelps: Yes, we’ve been fortunate to travel all over the world during the last month, doing promotion, and I just wanna say thank you to everybody who came to see us and make us feel so welcome.

Oliver Phelps: Yeah, it was cool. We are allowed to bring a friend each when we travel and I took Anthony with me to Milan. It was pretty neat. Anthony is Rupert’s double in the Harry Potter films.

Q: Do you resemble Fred and George?

Oliver Phelps: Yes. People who know James and myself, know that we like to play pranks. We’re a lot like Fred and George, not as radical with exploding toilet seats, but… Although it would be nifty to try out once! But we play a lot of pranks, also on the cast of the films. Recently in Madrid…no, you tell it, James…

James Phelps: Yeah, the thing about Fred and George…they are good guys, really, but they like to play pranks and so do we. Recently we were in Madrid to promote the new movie and we went to a radio station for interviews. Then we had the radio presenter call Matt Lewis in England – he’s Neville in the movies – and we told him we had been mugged and could he send us some money so we could get back to England? At first he didn’t believe us, but we had the presenter yell at us in Spanish in the background, so Matt fell for it. He got really worried at one point and we kept it going for quite a while, all on live radio from the biggest radio station in Spain! Later Matt texted us, it said something like, "You gits!" We also play a lot of pranks on Rupert, who’s Ron. Rupe sleeps a lot when we are filming, bless him, he works hard as well. One time when he was sleeping we sneaked into his dressing room, we set GTA on his TV and cranked it up to the max. Then we started shooting and Rupe was up and left in a hurry, thinking that he was under attack!

Oliver Phelps: Another time we were in Rupert’s dressing room and I had brought along my remote control. We all have TV sets in our dressing rooms and they are all the same, the remotes as well. I had it by my side, so that Rupert couldn’t see it, and whenever he got up, I cranked up the volume, when he sat down, I lowered it and when he went over to the TV I changed the channel. That was really freaking him!

Q: Which one of the movies would you say is closest to the book?

James Phelps: 4, I think.

Angelina Mandy: I don’t really know. 4, I guess.

Oliver Phelps: I would say 5. It has almost all the things in it from the book except for a few plots that wouldn’t fit. You have to dump something when filming a book. But 5 was very true to the overall feeling of the book.

Q: Which is your favourite book?

James Phelps: 3, I’d say.

Angelina Mandy: 2, with the snake.

Oliver Phelps: 5. I like the darkness of it. It’s really sinister and good.

Q: Which of the movies did you enjoy making the most?

James Phelps: 4. We just had such a great time doing it. We had a special bond with the cast because we’d been to some acting classes first and that made us very close.

Oliver Phelps: Same as him. Plus at the time we started shooting it, we had just turned 18, so we could go out a bit more with the older cast members as well. We had some great nights out that way.

Angelina Mandy: I was only in 4, so…

Q: What is the stupidest thing that fans have asked you to do?

Oliver Phelps: I don’t really know…there’s a lot…

James Phelps: Hmm, one thing was recently in Milan on the truck tour. Oliver and I were standing on this square just in front of the Harry Potter truck. Then we met some Japanese guys and obviously we thought they would recognise us, but they didn’t. One of these Japanese tourists then asked me to take a picture of them in front of the truck! They didn’t know who I was, so I just went, "Well, hmmm, sure…" I took the picture and they went away, not knowing that they’d talked to Oliver and me!

Q: What would you say is the best spell from the movies?

Oliver Phelps: Stupify is the best spell. That would come in handy, especially in football matches if the ref is stupid.

James Phelps: My favourite is not a spell, but…I would like to be able to ride a broom without the hassle. It’s not the flying that I mind, it’s the 2-3 hours it takes to get strapped in and get the shoot done. It would be great if there was a real Nimbus or whatever and you could just climb it and fly straight away.

Angelina Mandy: Mine isn’t a spell, either. It is the Invisibility Cloak. It would be nice to have that, then you could do all the things you usually aren’t supposed to do.

Q: What is your favourite product from Fred and George’s joke shop?

James Phelps: That Peruvian Instant Dark Powder. Just throw one and then you can disappear. It would come in handy quite often, I think.

Oliver Phelps: I’d say the puking pastilles, just for the laugh. Then I would hand them around and just sit back and enjoy watching the effect of them.

Q: Who is your favourite character in Harry Potter?

Angelina Mandy: Dobby. He’s cute with the big eyes and big ears.

Oliver Phelps: I’d say Dumbledore. He’s cool with his magic and everything. He’s really powerful and impressive.

James Phelps: I have to say Voldemort. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t agree with what he’s doing, but I find him really interesting. The bad guys always are, I think.

Q: What are you going to do when Harry Potter is over?

Oliver Phelps: I don’t know. It’s still two years away and I can’t plan that far ahead, but James wants to present documentaries. He’s really into documentaries so that is what he wants to do.

James Phelps: Yeah. What Oliver said.

Angelina Mandy: I’ll just go back to what I’m doing now, which is acting. I do a lot of acting and taking classes and teaching as well. There’ll always be a lot of acting in my life.

Q: Had you read all of the books at the time when you went to the audition?

Oliver Phelps: Yes. I had. The last one out then was Goblet of Fire and I’d always imagined Fred and George to be James and myself.

James Phelps: It was actually my mum who heard about the audition and asked if we would be interested. Well…it was in Leeds, so would we like to have a day off from school? Yeah!

Oliver Phelps: Yes!

James Phelps: When we got there, there were all these identical twins and they all dressed alike. Now, Oliver and I have never dressed alike, so we took our number in the queue and ran off to the nearest department store and grabbed two identical shirts off the rack.

Q: Whom of the characters from the Harry Potter movies would you like to date in real life?

James Phelps: Hmm…I don’t know….nobody, really….

Oliver Phelps: Same as him. We have the best parts in the films, Fred and George are the most fun, they always have a great time, so I wouldn’t want any other.

James Phelps: You want to date yourself then?

Oliver Phelps: No, not really…

Q: Who do you like the most from the cast?

James Phelps: I can’t say. We’re all friends and I’m not just saying that as a publicity gimmick because we are. We see each other outside of filming as well.

Oliver Phelps: Same as him.

James Phelps: But when I worked on set when not filming I have to say Michael Gambon, probably. I was in the assistant directors division where I had to help out the other actors, seeing to their needs, and here Michael Gambon taught me a lot. He gave me hints on the manuscript and how to act certain parts and he really was amazing. He taught me so much.

Q: There’s a lot of fan fiction on the Internet. Have you read any of it?

Oliver Phelps: Yeah, some of it is quite good…

James Phelps: There’s a lot out there, not all of it is…

Oliver Phelps: No. I haven’t read it myself. I’ve been told that some of it is good, but…

James Phelps: but it’s amazing that people write that stuff. That the Harry Potter books mean so much to so many people.

Oliver Phelps: Yeah, the loyalty is really cool.

Q: Why were you chosen to play Fred and George?

James Phelps: I have no idea. Hmm…I really don’t know why. All the other kids at the audition had resumes, but we didn’t have any. When in secondary school we didn’t even choose drama, and we’d never done anything like it before, so…

Oliver Phelps: I think we just resemble Fred and George.

@ Lise Lyng Falkenberg, 2009