If you think you're a Harry Potter fan, imagine how nostalgic you'd be about the series if you were actually a member of the cast. The actor who played George Weasley shared his favorite Harry Potter scene in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, and it offers up a perfect blend of heartwarming nostalgia, while also sharing some behind-the-scenes secrets.
Oliver Phelps played one half of the mischievous Weasley Twins opposite his real-life twin brother James Phelps, who played Fred, in each of the eight magical films, which were released between 2001 and 2011. With a full decade to choose from, picking a favorite scene might be difficult, but Phelps didn't hesitate for a moment during his conversation with EW. The 32-year-old named the scene in the third film where Fred and George Weasley gift Harry Potter the Marauder's Map, an innocuous-looking piece of paper that shows the holder hidden rooms within Hogwarts, as well as the movements of every one of the castle's inhabitants. (Even when that person is magically concealed.)
It's an object that would hold special significance to Harry as the young wizard continued his journey, but Phelps loved the scene for more than just its key role in the plot. As he told the outlet:
“Of all the scenes we did in all the eight films, that’s the one I treasure more than anything. Because when we got the part, my grandfather started reading the books to try and understand what on earth we were doing, and he always said that scene was when you see our characters for the first time in their own element.”
How adorable is it that Phelps feels as connected to his off-screen family as closely as the Weasleys are woven together on the page? Phelps emphasized that his grandfather's words echoed in his head during filming, telling EW, "I still remember to this day calling my granddad from the hotel and telling him how it went and everything." So sweet!
Plus, the scene was also the first moment that Phelps had gotten a look at his character's wand, so that contributed to his excitement as well. The 32-year-old shared:
"[George had] never needed one before that in any of the films. I remember seeing it, and literally just before we started filming, the prop guy gave me the wand and I was looking at this thing and then I just hear, ‘OK, we’re rolling.’ And I’m like, ‘Hang on, hang on, I’m looking at my wand!'”
He sounds as excited as a real life wizard would be, picking out his very own wand in Ollivander's, and it's the best. The dark cloud over this heartwarming story, however, is that Phelps' grandfather never got to see the work that he had inspired, or the scene that had so excited his young grandson. As the actor told EW of his late relative, "Unfortunately, he ended up passing away before the film came out.” But Phelps emphasized to the outlet that he felt like the scene came out just like his grandfather would have imagined it, so that looking back on that scene and that time still tug at his heartstrings.
But several other tidbits that Phelps revealed from behind-the-scenes aren't nearly as fraught. For example, did you know that Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban director Alfonso Cuarón actually based some of the Weasley Twins' speech patterns on the Phelps Twins? As the actor told it:
“We’d done a few things earlier in the year with Alfonso when we met him, and he liked the way we always cut each other off. We did that quite a bit, so he got the script slightly changed so Fred and George were always finishing each other’s lines off, which we ended up doing in the film.”
Talk about art imitating life. It's so nice to hear that even characters outside the main cast infused their performances with so much emotion from real life. Just more explanation for why these films continue to make such an impact, even years after their release.