Last week 17-year-old Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe was in Roppongi Hills in Tokyo for the premiere of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” and during a news conference he chatted — with producer David Heyman — about the new movie, which opens July 20 in Japan.
What are the themes of this film?
Radcliffe: The letters that are sent to us, a lot of them talk about the themes of friendship and loyalty and bravery, and I think this film retains all of those themes, but it is also about strength. At the beginning of the film, Harry knows Voldemort has returned and yet has to cope with everyone accusing him of having lied about this. For me, it’s about Harry just knowing that what he has seen is the truth and sticking to it and doing everything he can, never giving up in getting the truth to the rest of the world. And so for me that’s one of the messages in the film. But also I think another one would be about choices. Gary Oldman has a line as Sirius Black where he says: “We all have light and dark inside us, what matters is the part that we act upon on, that’s what makes us who we really are.” If there was one line people could take away from this film, I would say it should be this one.
Do you get much fan mail from Japan?
Radcliffe: We get hundreds and thousands of letters from Japan. From around the world, we get a huge amount fan mail and support, but I’d say about half of everything we get is from Japan, and the letters are so beautifully presented and written. It’s incredible really. We once got a gift which I didn’t quite understand. It was very kind, but it was a sort of a big ear.
What was it like doing the kiss scene with Katie Leung? Radcliffe: Everyone expects it to be a bigger deal than it is when you do it in reality. In a way, me and Katie, when we started it, we were both a little nervous, but after the first couple of takes, it was sort of like any other scene, which is not really what people want to hear, but it doesn’t feel any different because you are still (nervous laugh) acting.
What was it like watching the kissing scene?
Heyman: For us, myself, who’s known Dan since the age of 10, to see it was quite strange. What happened was that David Yates cleared the set because he wanted to give more privacy and intimacy to the scene, and then what happened was that everyone crowded around the monitor, and it was quite emotional for a couple of the crew. The makeup designer, Amanda Knight, who’s known Dan really well from the age of 10, 11, she shed a tear. But let’s face it: You never want to be too close to someone as they’ve got their tongue down someone else’s throat. You want to have a little bit of space, and so it was a little bit uncomfortable.
Radcliffe: For the record, tongues weren’t actually used. I feel I should make that point lest everyone gets a bit carried away.