Stars on show for Potter studio tour launch
Published : Apr 1, 2012 - 20:23
Updated : Apr 1, 2012 - 20:23
LONDON (AFP) ― Stars and hardcore fans of the “Harry Potter” movies turned up Saturday at the red carpet launch of a studio tour featuring the sets where the boy wizard’s adventures were filmed.

Rupert Grint, who played Potter’s friend Ron Weasley, and Tom Felton, who played bully Draco Malfoy, were among the actors at Warner Bros.’ Leavesden studios in Watford, northwest of London, for the grand opening.

All eight of the movies based on J. K. Rowling’s books were shot at Leavesden, which is hoping to keep the magic going with “The Making of Harry Potter” studio tour round the film sets.

Located in 14,000 square metres of hangar space adjoining the studios, the walking tour takes visitors through Hogwarts school and the Diagon Alley high street, offering a glimpse of how the adventures were created on the big screen.

“Every brick of this building is embedded with huge memory. It’s really special that we can share this with everyone,” Grint told AFP.

Felton added: “This place has always been a home to us and now that Warner Brothers have given it a kind of solid foundation on a permanent residence. I’m excited to be coming. I could become a weekly visitor, at this rate.”

Warner Bros. hopes to entice 5,000 people through the door each day, with tickets costing $130 for a family of four, presenting it as a unique, behind-the-scenes look at one of the world’s most popular characters.

Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron, who took charge of “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (2004), the third instalment, said working on the movie had been an “amazing experience”.

“As a life experience it was fantastic. All of this that you see and hear, and all the fans and stuff, that energy was present all the time on the set,” he said.

“Whenever you do a film with a bunch of children, everybody behaves differently, in the set, there’s a completely different energy in the set. So that’s my biggest memory, my fondest memory.”

For the first time, the tour allows Muggles ― non-wizards ― the chance to walk down Diagon Alley, the bustling street where Harry and his fellow students go to buy their first magic wands.

Fans can experience the imposing dining hall at Hogwarts. From the soot-blackened chimney, the stone animals on the walls and the benches polished with use, everything is as it was on screen.

In the classroom where potions are taught, hundreds of bottles and flasks crammed onto dusty shelves line the walls, filled with mysterious substances ― in reality, baked animal bones from a local butchers, and dried herbs.

The tour also gives an insight into the special effects used.

Tickets for every weekend day for the next three months have already sold out.