Potter fans, take heart: The top-grossing movie franchise of all time will not end with a whimper. “The new film is just a relentless action movie,” says Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2. “It Just. Does. Not. Stop.” In this week’s cover story, we visit the stars and filmmakers on the set and learn secrets of the final, climactic installment, which hits theaters July 15. Such as? Well, for one thing, the final showdown between Harry and evil Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) in a wand duel at Hogwarts will be a little different from what author J.K. Rowling described in her 2007 novel. This time, the chase leads through Hogwarts and culminates in a very physical brawl as the two foes “apparate” (i.e., teleport) toward and away from each other.
Speaking of action, Deathly Hallows – Part 2 features the long-awaited first kiss between Harry’s pals Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson). “It has be to the most anticipated moment between the two of them in the whole series,” says Watson. “In general, though, Part Two is just plain hell-raising and scary. I get to get my Lara Croft on.”
For Radcliffe, one of the biggest challenges this time around was relishing the moment and taking nothing for granted. “I’ve become particularly aware on this film that I’m not always going to be able to play these action-hero-type parts,” says the actor, who’s currently starring in the Broadway musical revival How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. “You really have to enjoy it, make the most of it, have fun with it.”
For more on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, plus scoop on 100 other summer movies, pick up the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands Friday, April 15.