The second of our interviews with the Weasley twins, this sit-down with Oliver Phelps also came during the preparation of our Harry Potter Ultimate Movie Celebration. The sometime-George Weasley discussed the end of the series, why the Weasleys are better than the Malfoys, and how you can tell the two Phelps twins apart...[Mild spoilers for those who have not read the books follow]
What was your last day filming?
I think it was when we were doing re-shoots, and it was a scene at the battlement sequence. It was an added scene, actually, where James [Phelps, aka Fred Weasley] and myself were standing on the turrets of the castle, where there was a green screen and everything, and it was just ad-libbed for about a minute. It was quite nice, but it was hard. It was a weird feeling when they yelled, "Wrap!".
Did you find yourself reading the books as they came out with an eye to see where your character was going?
Definitely. I'd always go through it intensively in a very selfish manner like, "Where’s me? Where’s me? Where’s me?" The twins have done well considering where they started out. The family were quite poor and now they've gone to a different level. When you lose all that, I think the whole family unit really comes into its own. Whereas you look at the Malfoys, who have all the wealth but don't have a family unit, and it's very much each for themselves.
Your characters may not be academic, but in the books they certainly go on to make their fortune.
Yeah, I know it doesn't really come up in the films, but in the books George and Fred flunk all their exams, they don't do very well academically, but they do better outside school. There are people I know who have left school with not a lot of qualifications yet, as soon as they have knuckled down into what they enjoy doing, when you've got that self-belief, you can pretty much succeed where you want to.
Your characters have always added a rather light touch, but in this film there are some rather heavier sections.
Well yes, in the final instalment there are not a lot of laughs from Fred and George at all. Actually, the re-shoot scene that we did was, I think, the first time you see them scared. it's great to be able to play the same character but show a totally different side, one that the audience haven’t seen before, or even something that they hadn't been expecting.
The way that Rowling wrote the final battle, you don’t quite know how it’s going to go, and it seems like there will be surprises for everyone there.
Especially when it all goes the wrong way! When the good guys are falling by the wayside and when you see that in the picture itself it looks really harsh. There are some cool elements in it, like when you see Matt Lewis in the battle. That's quite funny because, again, you see a totally different side to his character [Neville Longbottom]. I think you see every character in a different light, which is great.
When we were photographing some of you guys today, it was clear that there’s a genuine friendship between you all.
There is! We've been together for 10 years, so we're going to form these bonds with people. Especially at the time when you're all together, you're growing up and discovering who you are, so through that you have common interests, like with Rupert [Grint] especially. It's just how you see it in the films really; we all take the mick out of each other and hang out with each other. The same with Matt [Lewis] and Tom [Felton]: with Matt, we went to see The Doves just before Christmas and it was a really good night out. And we play golf with Tom. There's a cool mix of people who we still talk to and see outside of filming.
Are you looking at stuff just for you, not with your brother, now that Potter's finished?
Yeah, we always knew this would happen, and we both have very individual styles. When we're at home we've got interests that are very different, even going down to things like supporting rival football teams. Obviously there are some things that are the same, but clothes sense is totally different. I'm the tidy one; James is completely messy. I'm the organised one, I've got filing cabinets with all my details in; James has just a drawer with everything. So yeah, we're very different in everything like that. So to do my own individual stuff in the business will be exciting.
Interview by Debi Berry