ByRory O'Connor, writer at
Breathing movies. Humbly writing about them.
Rory O'Connor

Daniel Radcliffe turns 25 next month so here's 25 things we never knew about the Harry Potter production.

Dumbledore means Bumblebee in Ye Olde English

Rickman always knew how Snape would die.

Rowling hand-picked the great nasally thesp when she had only released four books, but still promptly let him in on how the character's journey would end.

The Hogwarts motto, "Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus", means "never tickle a sleeping dragon"

J.K. Rowling almost played Lily Potter

The Great Hall food in the Philosopher's Stone was real.

Christopher Columbus insisted on serving real food, but the heat of the lighting caused such a stink that resin models were cast for all further instalments.

Radcliffe learned that he had got the role when he was taking a bath

The Hogwarts students were made to do their homework.

Supposedly to create the perfect atmosphere.


14 Ford Anglias were destroyed for the weeping willow scene.

Springsteen disguised the shoot.

The title used by the crew to disguise the shoot (and printed on the clapper boards) was "Incident on 57th Street", the title of a 1973 Bruce song.

Tom Riddle isn't necessarily Tom Riddle abroad

In order to make "I am Lord Voldemort" and anagram in other languages, Tom Marvolo Riddle's name had to change too. He ranges from the similar Tom Sorvolo Ryddle in Spain to the somewhat more obscure Romeo G. Detlev Jr. in Denmark.

Alfonso Cuarón almost covered the Hogwarts express with eyes...

Storyboards were written up involving eyes falling from the sky when production mistook- due to Cuarón's heavy accent- the word "Ice" for "Eyes".

The Knight Bus was filmed driving at regular speed...

... but Cuarón had all the other cars drive at a snails pace before speeding the whole thing up.

Daniel Radcliffe logged around 41 hours 38 minutes underwater when filming The Second Task

Despite allegedly being cut out, Dobby AND Winky can both be seen at the quidditch world cup

Michael Gambon always kept a pack of smokes in his socks while filming

The animated hedges in the Third Task were based on Stanley Kubrick's hedge maze chase sequence in The Shining

The band who play at the Triwizard ball are a super-group of members from Radiohead and Pulp

David Tennant improvised Barty Crouch jr's maniacal tongue flick

Alan Rickman banned Rupert Grint from his BMW after the actor spilled milkshake in it

To make her increasingly garish, Prof. Umbridge's clothes were made more padded and saturated as the film progressed

Devon Murphy holds the record for most prop wands broken on set

For The Half Blood Prince, Wally Pfister was approached to shoot it and Guillermo Del Toro was asked to direct. Both cited scheduling issues, for The Dark Knight and Hellboy 2 respectfully

Alan Rickman is said to have gotten a nostalgic thrill from being on "the other end" of a climactic fatal fall

When asked if Harry would die, Rowling told Radcliffe, before the final book was published, that he would indeed have a "death scene"

The chocolate frog which climbs through Harry's son's train window is said to be the same frog which flies out Harry's window in The Philosopher's Stone

Are there any more production tales you'd like to share? Fill us in in the comments below.


Which house would you be sorted to?


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