As a huge Harry Potter fan, I distinctly remember the first time I sat down with the Sorcerer's Stone. That very first chapter whisked me away into Harry's world which, at that time, was nothing more than a cupboard under the stairs in a small, suburban house in fictional district Little Whinging. The first sentence reads:
"Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much."
Little did my seven-year-old self know, the story to follow was anything but. Number four, Privet Drive has always held a certain fascination for me; it's housed some of the most iconic scenes in Harry Potter history. 'No post on Sundays', our first introduction to Dobby and ultimately the set up of the Battle of the Seven Potters. So naturally when I went to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour: The Making Of Harry Potter in Leavesden a few years ago, I couldn't wait to see Privet Drive in person.
At the time of my visit, while the facade of the house stood proudly on the backlot, it was just that: a facade. The front door was firmly shut and what lay behind it was left completely to the fan's imagination. But from May 27, all of that is going to change! To celebrate the 15th anniversary of Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone, visitors to the studio will be able to step inside the Dursley's living room, or at least a faithful recreation of it, and wander around the space where a young Harry Potter spent so much of his childhood.
To add a touch of magic, hundreds of individually designed letters can be seen bursting through the front door and spitting from the fireplace, fluttering through the air and mimicking that oh-so-memorable scene from the first film. The studio will also be revealing exactly how the special effect was created, and giving true fans the chance to appreciate all of the little details up close. Take a look for yourself in the brand new clip below:
To launch the new set, which is open for a limited time only, Fiona Shaw, a.k.a Aunt Petunia, returned to Privet Drive today to share stories from the film set. She told the London Evening Standard:
“Being back is like home sweet home. We spent a lot of time in this house — for about two weeks a year we would move in with Richard Griffiths, who is sadly no longer with us, and Harry Melling who played Dudley Dursley...Richard would regale us with stories for hours. He was good at telling stories, a bit like Peter Ustinov. We had a ball here and it was a very witty group. We were almost separate from the film and our own little family.”
Despite going on to win two Olivier awards and star in HBO’s True Blood, Shaw said she is recognised for playing Petunia more than any other role. She continued:
“It’s a huge phenomenon and I cannot go anywhere in the world without being stopped... with Harry Potter it’s been 15 years and the original fans have all grown up. They now span generations. I think people have been waiting for so long to see inside the house and are only getting a two-week glimpse so they will be pleased to have this holiest of holy places opened up.”
The set is open for two weeks between May 27 and June 6. If you want to be one of the lucky few, you can purchase tickets from the Warner Bros. Studio Tour website.
Would you like to visit Privet Drive?
Source: Evening Standard