Harry Potter con in Las Vegas, where Chris Rankin answered fans’ biggest questions from the movies. Here are some things from the series you may not have known:
1. One of the biggest struggles was acting with things that weren’t really there, like the ghosts. In fact, for those scenes, they’d have a tennis ball on a string so the actors would have a reference point — mostly so they wouldn’t just have actors looking at a blank wall and saying their lines.
“But things have changed a lot since 2000,” Rankin said during a panel at Leviosa. “I would imagine things are done differently now.”
2. Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley) improvised the “What exactly is the function of a rubber duck?” line, and Rankin recalls it was always hilarious.
“We did that scene about 13 or 14 times, and every time it was something else,” Rankin said. “Some of it not repeatable.”
3. When asked if Rankin took anything from the set after the movies were complete, he said he’d taken Percy’s jumper.
“Yeah, I got some phone calls for that one. ‘Have you seen your Weasley jumper? Because we can’t find it.’ So I had to bring it back,” Rankin recalled.
4. In some of the longer scenes in Deathly Hallows Part II, Rankin says, if you look closely, you can see them fighting Death Eaters with disco moves.
“Because we were so bored,” Rankin explained.
5. The owl who played Errol took a disliking to Rankin’s finger in the scene at the Burrow when Percy goes to retrieve the letter.
6. Rankin was asked to help audition the actresses for Penelope Clearwater.
“Asking an awkward 17-year-old ginger guy if he wants to choose a girlfriend,” Rankin laughed. “It was very weird.”
7. By the time they were shooting the second movie, the actors were escorted everywhere by security because of how many fans would show up to filming locations.
“None of that happened during the first film. Maybe a few people showing up to King’s Cross,” Rankin explained. “It was terrifying, but kind of cool.”
8. Before Rankin came into the picture, he says *ALLEGEDLY* they’d already cast Sean Biggerstaff (aka Oliver Wood) as Percy.
“Allegedly they already cast Percy before they saw me, and allegedly it was Sean Biggerstaff,” Rankin said.
9. Maggie Smith (Professor McGonagall) has had the same body double for many years.
“She recognized me when we were working together on Downton Abbey,” Rankin said.
10. Rankin didn’t do very well on his A-levels while filming Harry Potter.
“The problem was that I was 16, the oldest of the kids. I don’t think they felt a need to tutor me,” Rankin recalled. “I’d sit in my trailer and watch films while my coursework piled up — but no one would ever check up on me. I didn’t do too well in college because of that, I think.”
11. In the first film, Rankin had about three minutes of scenes with Peeves that never made it to the movie.
Rankin said they were shouting obscenities at each other and that, in general, he wished Peeves would have made it into the films.
12. Rankin also shared Michael Gambon kept cigarettes in his Dumbledore costume on set.
13. Finally, Rankin is well aware that if he had died instead of Fred, no one would have cared too much.
“The impact wouldn’t have been as great,” he said. “Fred is a fun, larger-than-life character, and [Rowling] separated a twin.”