Taking over 10 years to complete, the Harry Potter film franchise is one of the biggest and most successful film franchises of all time. The movies, along with the books have earned their places in the hearts of fans worldwide, and even four years after the final film was released they still have a huge and active fandom just waiting for their Hogwarts letters.
The casting in the film series has often been called inspired, and Daniel Radcliffe and Tom Felton seem destined to be known forever as Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy. But aside from looking like their characters, and being able to deliver lines well, as it turned out many of the actors in the series were so in tune with their characters that some iconic moments from the franchise were actually improvised!
Check out the top 5 improvised moments from the Harry Potter franchise and see if you don't succumb to total Potter nostalgia:
1. Harry's bold promise
In 2011 Jason Isaacs revealed in an interview with LA Times' Hero Complex that one of the strongest scenes in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets came out of two improvised lines spoken between Isaacs and a then-12-year-old Daniel Radcliffe, Isaacs explained:
"I remember my very first day, I improvised a line. My first day, probably my first shot, I had to kind of flounce out of a room when Dumbledore, played by the late, great Richard Harris, put me in my place, and there was no line written, no exit line. And I’d been humiliated, and my plan had come to nothing. And I said to Chris Columbus, “Don’t you think there should be a line?” And he said, “Well, say something. Say whatever you like.” So we did another take, and I hadn’t told anyone what I was going to do. And as I turned to leave, I looked at Daniel, and I said, “Let us hope Mr. Potter will always be around to save the day.” And then Daniel, who was all of 12, stepped right up to me, looked me right in the eye, and said “Don’t worry. I will be.” A chill went down my spine. And as he did it, I thought, 'Christ, this kid is good.'"
Wow! yet another reason why Dan Rad was the perfect Harry, he truly understood the character.
2. Draco's brilliant come back
During the Polyjuice Potion scene in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets there was a great unscripted line when Malfoy asks Goyle (actually Harry in disguise) why he's wearing glasses (which Harry had forgotten to remove). Goyle/Harry quickly replies that he needs them to read, at which point Malfoy comes back with the very witty "I didn't know you could read." This line, which is perfect for Malfoy, was actually totally unscripted and only happened because Tom Felton, who played Malfoy, had forgotten what his actual line in the script was!
3. Barty Crouch Jr.'s creepy tick
Fans of the book series watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire will be aware that Barty Crouch Jr.'s bizarre habit of flicking his tongue was not written in the series. The tick was improvised by actor David Tennant who played Crouch Jr., and then adopted by Brendan Gleeson who played Mad Eye Moody to hint at the Crouch/Moody substitution.
4. Scabior's dramatic twist
Scabior's violent twist in the air when Bellatrix uses her whip on him was not originally in the script, what actually happened was that Nick Moran, who played Scabior, improvised it to avoid being upstaged by Bellatrix (a.k.a. actress Helena Bonham Carter)! The twist impressed the crew and they decided to use it in the film, much to Moran's delight. However, Moran's happiness soon faded when he realized he would have to repeat the physically demanding stunt several more times to get it perfect. Ouch!
5. Voldemort's awkward tender moment
According to Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), one of the creepiest moments in the entire film franchise, when the Dark Lord awkwardly embraces Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, was totally improvised. Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort) spontaneously hugged Felton during one the takes and Felton's reaction of stopping dead in his tracks not knowing how to respond is totally genuine.