The stars of Harry Potter talk about Universal Orlando's Diagon Alley

June 23, 2014, 8:51 PM · During Universal Orlando's media event last week, previewing The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley, several of the supporting actors from the Harry Potter films, whom we saw during Wednesday night's red carpet event, met reporters to talk about their reactions to visiting Diagon Alley.

In this video of highlights from the press conference, you will hear from Domhnall Gleeson [Bill Weasley], Robbie Coltrane [Hagrid], Warwick Davis [Griphook/Flitwick], Matthew Lewis [Neville Longbottom], Evanna Lynch [Luna Lovegood], Helena Bonham Carter [Bellatrix Lestrange], and Tom Felton [Draco Malfoy] talk about their experiences in the new land, contrasting visiting Universal's Diagon Alley with working on the original film-set version.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley opens officially to the public on July 8. Today, Universal announced team member previews for this Wednesday through Saturday, which should pretty much lay to rest any hope of a public soft opening this week. Diagon Alley vacation packages start on Sunday, so we expect Universal hotel guests who booked those packages to get access then, with the possibility of public soft opens to follow only after that. Follow the hashtag #potterwatch on Twitter for alerts from other readers about a soft open, if and when it happens.


Replies (8)

June 23, 2014 at 10:08 PM · I'm hoping someone releases the full conference soon (gotta see more Helena Bonham Carter). Did you get any questions in this year Robert? I kind of get annoyed when I see reporters ask non-theme park questions in a theme park setting. Save it for outside boys and gals. :-)
June 24, 2014 at 10:36 AM · I asked a question about the Hogwarts Express, hoping to elicit some audio we could use for our Hogwarts Express video, but we ended up not using James Phelps' answer, as it ended up not really fitting what we did. But we only got audio on that answer, so I didn't include it on this.

We skipped the non-theme park stuff for this, though I love Domhnall literally showing the "talk to the hand" to a reporter who asked about Star Wars. "Just stop," he said. "There's nothing I can tell you without getting shot."

I regret that we missed a great comment from Helena Bonham Carter at the very end on the importance she felt of having compassion for Bellatrix, or any character she plays. (We were packing up as we had an extremely limited amount of time to film outside in Diagon Alley immediately after the press conference, and we figured maximizing that time was more important.) Nothing to do with theme parks, but a wonderful "actor's studio" moment from a great pro.

June 24, 2014 at 3:03 PM · Anyone else find it tragic that only the Z-List Rent-A-Quote actors ever bother doing the promotions for this kind of thing? I mean, the Weasley Brothers? What do they actually do in life apart from live on Harry Potter knock-offs? I notice Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson wouldn't be seen dead doing this kind of thing.
June 24, 2014 at 3:09 PM · To be fair, on the Hollywood pecking order, I'd say Helena Bonham Carter > Daniel Radcliffe.
June 24, 2014 at 9:16 PM · Robert, can you do an article ranking the central Florida parks?
June 25, 2014 at 8:23 AM · Isn't it great to see Tom Felton smiling instead of the perpetual scowl he had to use for 8 films?

These are some very big stars, Helena Bonham Carter especially (yes, bigger than Daniel Radcliffe). Does everyone forget that he launched the original Wizarding World just a few years ago... how often does he need to do these events? He's busy on stage in NY at the moment.

Unlike some childhood stars (I'm looking at you, Disney Channel), the three main HP kids don't bash where they came from, nor do they create tabloid messes. But do they need to be always accessible HP mascots? I don't think that's reasonable, nor mandatory, nor a fault of Universal or the stars.

June 25, 2014 at 10:05 AM · And there's always the fear of typecasting derailing careers. Dan & Emma have expanded their careers pretty well since HP, they probably want to stay the diversification course. They're both young talented actors and can have long careers. But, if they get too associated with Harry Potter, they'll just end up hurting their futures.
June 26, 2014 at 7:51 AM · I really think Emma and Dan could have at the very least recorded the audio for the ride. The clips that have been released prove they had no involvement with the project. Hermoine's voice is just glaring in the audio from the Hogwarts Express and takes you out of the experience as your trying to figure who is speaking. I'm sure they could have done some audio recordings in their pajamas in a few hours time. I don't expect them to show up for every little Harry Potter event, but they still need to remember where they came from and understand they have fans who adore them. I am proud of what Universal was able to create, but I am disappointed that Dan and Emma could not find a small amount of time during the past 4 years to do a few audio recordings.

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