This summer, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter invites visitors to delve into the world of spell casting, potions and wizard duels as it hosts its first Summer Spells feature. Visitors will discover first-hand how spells such as Wingardium Leviosa came to life on screen and how the wand movements that accompanied them were developed.
Knowledgeable staff members will be on hand to teach wand battle choreography, aided by an interactive experience created by choreography expert Paul Harris. Paul composed the battle scene between Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) and Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix™ and is the world’s only Wand Combat choreographer.
Those exploring Diagon Alley will be able to take part in a special effects demonstration created by BAFTA-winning Special Effects Supervisor John Richardson. By pointing a wand, visitors will be able to cast a spell that will make the sign above Potage’s Cauldron Shop bang and flash as if by magic.
In scenes where a character conjured his or her Patronus – a protective charm which usually takes the form of an animal and shields the wizard against Dementors – actors such as Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter, whose Patronus was a stag) and Emma Watson (Hermione Granger, who casts an otter Patronus) had to use their imagination; Patronuses were created post-filming using CGI. The cast were, however, aided by an Irish Wolfhound dressed in a specially-made costume which helped them visualise the glowing effect of a Patronus. This will be on display at the Studio Tour for the first time throughout the Summer Spells feature.
- · In the first and second films, the wands looked quite plain. This was drastically changed in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban™, when the wands were given distinctive shapes and carvings, reflecting the owners’ personalities. For example, the wand of Professor Slughorn (Jim Broadbent) is inlaid with silver slug trails and has a slug-shaped handle.
- · Some of the cast of the Harry Potter film series had their own ideas about how their characters’ wands should look. Actor Ralph Fiennes said he wanted Voldemort’s wand to look like an evil finger pointing off into the distance; this influence can be seen in the wand he used on screen, which appears to be made of bone.
- · Over the course of the films the Prop Team created thousands of wands. Rumour has it they never lost a single one — though Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry Potter, wore out over 60 wands during the making of the film series.
- · Hundreds of potion jars line the walls of the Potions classroom, which can be seen at the Studio Tour. Among the ingredients kept in them are plastic animals from a zoo gift shop, baked animal bones from a local butcher shop and dried leaves and herbs.
Summer Spells will take place from Friday 26th July to Monday 2nd September.