'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows': The end is near | EW.com


'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows': The end is near

Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint open up about their decade in the spotlight

Of course they knew it was coming. Yet it wasn’t until the final day of filming that the three Harry Potter stars fully understood that the most significant chapter of their lives so far was ending. ”Somehow, I wasn’t prepared for how emotional it was,” says Rupert Grint, who has played Ron Weasley for almost half his life. ”It hit home how much it all meant to us.”

After the trio finished their last scenes for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows this past summer, the crew asked them to sit down for a little going-away presentation: a video montage of images from their decade on set and goodbyes from the hundreds of artists — the makeup and costume teams, the set decorators and prop designers — who had watched them grow up. ”The three of us were just in pieces by the end,” says Emma Watson (Hermione Granger). ”It was our lives played over on tape, and all these people that we’ve known, in this place where we’d spent more time than in our actual homes. It was overwhelming.” Not least of all for Harry Potter himself. ”I was sitting there thinking, ‘What am I going to do without all these people that I love and who love me?’ ” Daniel Radcliffe says. ”I will miss them all very, very much.”

For tens of millions of Potter fans, the long goodbye will begin this month. The Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final novel in J.K. Rowling’s record-obliterating book series, has been split into two films. Part 1 opens on Nov. 19. Part 2 opens next summer, on July 15. (The studio recently scrapped plans to release Part 1 in 3-D, citing quality concerns, but will release Part 2 in both formats.) The cultural and financial impact of the movies has been nothing short of staggering. The previous six films have earned more than $5.4 billion worldwide, making Potter the highest-grossing global franchise in history, and have put the series within a wand’s length of overtaking the Star Wars films domestically. ”It’s so satisfying,” says Warner Bros. Entertainment president Alan Horn, who snared the Potter rights not long after he took over the studio (which shares a parent company, Time Warner, with EW) and who recently announced his plans to step down next April. ”Not only has it been good for our company and made a lot of money and all that, but it’s been a wonderful creative journey. I think we converted the books to film respectfully and honored them.”

The decision to halve Hallows for the screen frustrated some fans, who accused the studio of corporate greed, but the upside, at least, is that much more of Rowling’s final tome will make its way into multiplexes. The life-or-death showdown between Harry and Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) won’t happen until Part 2, naturally, but that doesn’t mean this first installment is sleepy. In Part 1, Voldemort and his Death Eaters have taken over the Ministry of Magic, and are on the hunt for Harry. Forced to live as fugitives, far from the protective walls of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry, Ron, and Hermione must discover and destroy the remaining Horcruxes — objects that hold pieces of Voldemort’s shattered soul. Friendships fray, commitments are tested, and Ron and Hermione’s relationship…evolves (see below). ”The emotional stakes are more complex and intriguing,” says director David Yates, who also helmed the previous two Potter films, The Order of the Phoenix and The Half-Blood Prince. ”You put these characters in the big, wide world and have them pursued by people who want to kill them. Suddenly, they seem very fragile.”