11 things the 'Harry Potter' cast loved about making the films, and 8 things they hated

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harry potter quidditch scoring
Daniel Radcliffe didn't like filming the quidditch scenes. Warner Bros.
  • The cast of the "Harry Potter" movies featured a mix of new-comer and veteran actors who all have memorable stories from the set. 

  • Daniel Radcliffe has fond memories of working with Gary Oldman, but he didn't like shooting the quidditch scenes. 

  • There are mixed feelings among the cast members about the scenes on the Room of Requirement set. 

  • Professor Umbridge was cold-hearted, but Imelda Staunton had a hard time filming the scenes where her character tortured Harry. 

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Over the course of 10 years, the cast of the "Harry Potter" films - based on the books by controversial author J.K. Rowling - spent countless hours on set, leaving them with some incredible lasting memories.

But not every moment was as exciting or fun as it seemed on screen. 

Here are some of the things that the cast loved and hated about making the movies:

Tom Felton loved the exploding toilets in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."

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Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince." Warner Bros.

During a 2019 interview with SyFy, Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) said it was "tough to pick a favorite" moment from the films, but he did really enjoy shooting the bathroom duel in "Half-Blood Prince" because of the practical effects.

"... When we did spells normally not a lot actually happened," he said. "But in this case, they rigged the whole bathroom up with explosives. So every time you gave a little flick, something would blow up, which was very satisfying."

Daniel Radcliffe has a fond memory of playing bass guitar with Gary Oldman.

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Daniel Radcliffe and Gary Oldman in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." Warner Bros.

During a 2019 red-carpet interview with Hollywood Life, Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) said that among a long list of good memories from making the films, there's a behind-the-scenes moment that sticks out. 

One morning on set, Gary Oldman (Sirius Black) taught the young actor how to play "Come Together" by The Beatles on the bass guitar. 

"Just a weird, surreal moment that I'll carry with me my entire life," Radcliffe said. 

Emma Watson loved working with Helena Bonham Carter in the later films - and the feeling was mutual.

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Hermione posed as Bellatrix Lestrange in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1." Warner Bros.

During a 2011 press conference, Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) said that working with Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange) was one of her favorite things about making the movies.

The characters didn't share a lot of screen time, but there is a scene in the last movie where Bonham Carter had to play Hermione impersonating Bellatrix. Both actresses have highlighted that scene as one of their favorites from the films. 

"Rather than put Emma Watson in a helluva load of make-up they just said, 'Now you go act like Hermione.' That was fun, because I always wanted to be Hermione," Bonham Carter told MTV News in 2010. "[I was] looking at Dan [Radcliffe] and Rupert [Grint] and they were treating me as if I was 17."

Robbie Coltrane was happy to be playing a good guy for once.

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Robbie Coltrane played Hagrid in the "Harry Potter" movies. Warner Bros. Pictures

In a 2011 press-conference interview with IndieLondon, Robbie Coltrane (Rubeus Hagrid) said he was going to miss playing such a good-hearted character. 

"The great thing about Hagrid was that he was a thoroughly good man. It was the first time in my entire career I've played a thoroughly good man," the actor said. "I've played gangsters and prostitutes, transvestites, murderers, everything you can imagine but it's the first time I've played a man who was thoroughly good."

Jason Isaacs relished in being magical (and evil).

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Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy. Warner Bros.

From the moment the cameras started rolling on his first scene, Jason Isaacs was really into playing the despicable Lucius Malfoy.

"The favorite moment I had in all of it was my very first with Richard Harris and with young 11-year-old Daniel [Radcliffe], and the day that I realized that I could wave my hand and doors would shut," he told Hollywire in 2015.

He continued, "And I could kick in midair and create Dobby and he would fall over because I kicked him. Just, yeah, the sheer dizzying power of magic was fantastic."

Bonnie Wright liked filming on the Room of Requirement set, despite its flaws.

Ginny Weasley
Bonnie Wright as Ginny Weasley. Warner Bros.

In 2020, Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley) sat down with her on-screen brothers, James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley), on an episode of their podcast "Double Trouble" (now known as "Normal Not Normal"). 

While discussing fond memories from "Harry Potter," Wright said she liked filming the Dumbledore's Army scenes in the fifth movie, despite the fact that the Room of Requirements set was physically uncomfortable. 

"I liked it, and then I got really claustrophobic in it ... Towards the end, it was too many people in one room, like it got a bit hysterical," she said. "But I think that's why I like it because I think it was such a specific time when everyone was just like annoying teenagers."

Warwick Davis enjoyed stage diving at the Yule Ball.

prof flitwick stage dive yule ball
Warwick Davis played Professor Flitwick and Griphook. Warner Bros.

Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick/Griphook) told Entertainment Weekly in 2011 that he was particularly fond of filming the Yule Ball scenes in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire."

"There were huge speakers under the stage, and literally the Great Hall was vibrating with the sound," he said. "And I got to stage dive — I only suggested that as a joke to [director] Mike Newell. Monday, he came back and said, 'You know what you said on Friday? We're going to do that.'"

Natalia Tena loved getting to fly on a broom.

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Natalia Tena played Nymphadora Tonks in the "Harry Potter" movies. Warner Bros.

Natalia Tena (Nymphadora Tonks) said at an Entertainment Weekly-led panel in 2011 that she loved filming the scenes where her character was flying on a broomstick. 

"You're in this massive green room, really high up, on this movable [broom], and there's these two sexy, strong guys blowing wind at you," she said. "It's like you're on a Harley or something."

Luke Youngblood enjoyed befriending the Phelps twins.

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Luke Youngblood as Lee Jordan in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." Warner Bros.

Luke Youngblood (Lee Jordan) became really close with the Phelps twins while filming the first movie, and they've remained friends for the two decades that have followed.

During a 2020 appearance on the "Double Trouble" podcast, he recounted stories of the pranks that they would pull on one another and all the fun they had as kids.

Ralph Fiennes really enjoyed going wand-to-wand against Harry Potter.

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Ralph Fiennes played Lord Voldemort. Warner Bros.

"I loved shooting the death duel — that was cool — with Daniel in the big courtyard. That was epic," Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort) told GQ in 2019.

The actor also said he liked filming the scene where he gave a monologue about Muggles before feeding Charity Burbage to Nagini in "Deathly Hallows – Part 1."

Helen McCrory was in awe of the final showdown between Harry and Voldemort.

narcissa lucius malfoy
Helen McCrory played Narcissa Malfoy in the "Harry Potter" movies. Warner Bros.

During the 2011 EW press panel, Helen McCrory (Narcissa Malfoy) spoke about how epic the final battle scene was.

"The culmination of Harry looking at Voldemort, and all of us being present in that scene that we did with all those extras — they were really there, the place was on fire — it was extraordinary," she said "... We filmed it in real time. It really happened, and it was a privilege to be there. It was electric."

On the other hand, Radcliffe wasn't a fan of his quidditch scenes.

Harry Potter Quidditch
Daniel Radcliffe said he didn't like filming the flying scenes. Warner Bros.

The beloved, fictional sport is fun to watch on screen, but less fun to film, according to Radcliffe.

"Quidditch is right up there with the least fun things I've done on 'Harry Potter,' certainly," the actor told IndieLondon in 2009. "It's not a pleasant experience, it does hurt quite a lot, and it's not something I would rush back to."

Watson thought the first film was one big bad-hair day for Hermione.

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Emma Watson didn't like her hair in the first "Harry Potter" movie. Warner Bros.

Per Time, during a 2015 interview with Vogue Italia, Watson shared that she didn't love everything about the "Harry Potter" films. 

"When I see the images of the first 'Harry Potter,' I immediately think of how ugly my hair was," she told the publication. 

Maggie Smith wasn't too keen on sitting around in McGonagall's wardrobe waiting for her scenes.

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Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall. Warner Bros.

According to the Evening Standard, Dame Maggie Smith didn't have the best time behind-the-scenes on the "Harry Potter" sets. 

"I used to find the most exhausting thing was wearing those hats," she said. "They're the heaviest things in the world. I had a hat, it was like the Albert Hall, it was huge and so heavy."

The actress continued, "I was in the snow for about a week with that daft hat on my head for 'Harry Potter' and sitting in that trailer day after day and not being used — that doesn't make you feel too jolly."

Bonham Carter regrets getting so wrapped up in her character that she accidentally injured a castmate.

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Helena Bonham Carter and Matthew Lewis in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." Warner Bros.

While playing Bellatrix Lestrange, Bonham Carter had to physically threaten Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom), but the scene didn't go as planned.

"By mistake, I poked him in his ear," she told EW in 2007. "I thought I could brandish the wand like a sort of Q-tip, and clean out his ear. Sort of torture it. But unfortunately he moved toward the wand as I was prodding it. And it actually perforated his eardrum."

The injury even caused some internal bleeding, but Bonham Carter said that Lewis never admitted that to her because he was such a "nice young man." 

The Phelps brothers couldn't take the heat in the Room of Requirement.

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James and Oliver Phelps played Fred and George Weasley. Warner Bros.

On the same episode of their "Double Trouble" podcast with Wright, James spoke about his least favorite "Harry Potter" set.

"I've never told anyone this but I hated the Room of Requirement set," he said.

His brother, Oliver, agreed that although it was cool to look at, it was hot and very uncomfortable.

Unlike Wright, nothing redeemed those shooting days for the brothers. 

Lewis hated being Neville as a teenager when girls were around.

Neville Remembrall
Neville Longbottom was played by Matthew Lewis. Warner Bros. Pictures.

For Lewis, it was hard being a teenage boy in a funny costume.

"I wore a fat suit in [films] three, four, five, and six. And I had false teeth in three and four," he told EW. "I didn't mind it — until I was 14 or 15 and there were girls on set. I was a bit like, 'Why me?'''

Imelda Staunton didn't like torturing Harry as Dolores Umbridge.

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Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge. Warner Bros.

In a 2016 interview with EW, Imelda Staunton (Dolores Umbridge) said she dislikes her character as much as fans do. 

"I loved doing it," she said. "But I have to say, the most difficult scene to do, which did leave me feeling pretty bad for a couple days, was actually the scene where I make [Harry] do the lines and it happens in his hand ..."

She continued, "That touched into something that you think, 'Gosh, we're all capable of great cruelty.' It was a horrible, horrible feeling."

John Hurt thought the money spent on the films was "absurd."

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John Hurt as Garrick Ollivander. Warner Brothers

John Hurt (Garrick Ollivander) had a different take on the films than some of his other castmates. Reflecting on the UK film industry in a 2009 interview with Rotten Tomatoes, the actor discussed his feelings about the "Harry Potter" budgets.

"... It's interesting seeing how much money gets spent on 'Harry Potter.' It's quite absurd, really," he said. "I watch it and think it's just the same as Hollywood. I look around and you've got three costumes there, none of which are likely to be worn, and they're all replicas of each other."

He continued, "It's a vacuous waste of money and it drives me insane."

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