Advertisement

HOLIDAY SNEAKS

It's Harry and the hormones

In the fourth Harry Potter film, opposite sexes start to attract.

November 06, 2005|Gregory Katz | Special to The Times

Leavesden Studios, England — IT is a delicate time for the makers of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," the fourth of seven highly anticipated Potter films.

The three child stars -- Daniel Radcliffe as Harry, Emma Watson as Hermione Granger and red-haired Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley -- are growing up, shedding their ever-so-cute boarding school uniforms for more fashionable looks, and entering adolescence, opening a Pandora's box of new emotions to be tried out on screen.

That was certainly evident last summer, when "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban's" arrival underscored how much the onset of puberty had changed the actors since 2001's "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" and 2002's "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets."

This time around, when the latest installment in the Warner Bros. franchise debuts Nov. 18 with a story dark enough to earn it a PG-13 label, there's a blossoming hint of -- gasp! -- sexuality. Think sweet 16, though, not Lindsay Lohan.

"The film is about the awakening of the kids to sexuality," said costume designer Jany Temime. "They become aware that the other sex is something different. They are very shy; it's just the beginning of being adult and feeling the premier frisson of sex."

The event that sets much of this in motion is a school formal that sends all the students scrambling about to find partners. Temime made the evening gown for the much-talked-about ballroom scene that will mark the first time 14-year-old Watson's character abandons the bluejeans, has her hair done, adds a corset, wears makeup and fancy earrings and is revealed to be a beautiful young woman, not just a gawky tomboy.

"And that's really sweet," Temime said. "She is one of the boys and suddenly, 'oh, my God, she's a woman, she's desirable,' and that's a shock for the boys. And that changes, slightly, the relationship between the three of them because she's not one of the gang anymore."

But much of this has to be implicit, not explicit, and the evening gown is demure because the actress is so young, said Temime. "We are staying very prudish," she added. "It's actually very hard to balance because we don't want her to look like she just borrowed her mother's dress."

MIRROR, MIRROR

FOR Watson, it was a revelation to receive so much attention in makeup and costuming and then to see her image in the mirror completely transformed. She loved it at first, but after a while the 90 minutes of preparation each morning got on her nerves and she yearned to get back to her natural, scruffy look.

Watson isn't the only one maturing. Grint's and Radcliffe's characters do their share of pursuing the fair sex -- and showing off newly defined muscles. Radcliffe's character actually goes a bit further: The wizard-in-the-making plunges naked into a bubbling bath in search of a clue -- only to find himself flustered and covering up as he comes face to face with an apparition already well known to Harry Potter fans as Moaning Myrtle.

The kids aren't just looking more like teens, they're also acting like them.

Harry is occasionally angry, short with his closest friends, suspicious and downright headstrong. He's not just worried about the ongoing battle between good and evil -- as represented by the vicious Lord Voldemort -- but also preoccupied with finding a date for the ball.

"What's great is that Harry in this film is kind of a man whose life is completely out of his hands, and the whole film is him trying desperately to get control of his life and failing, so he lashes out," Radcliffe said. "He's desperate for some form of stability, and he doesn't get it and he reacts badly. So he's a lot more hostile, and at times he's incredibly selfish. He can be a brat."

To a degree, the change in Harry on screen parallels the changes Radcliffe is going through off screen.

He has grown up with incredible global fame because of his portrayal as the character who is undoubtedly the world's favorite wizard, but he seems more animated discussing music than Harry Potter. (A key to his musical value system is the Sex Pistols poster on the wall of his trailer.)

In an accelerated version of the traditional Hollywood cycle, Radcliffe, 16, wants to direct. He has been studying the moves of the three directors he has worked for, including Chris Columbus, director of the first two Harry Potter films and now executive producer; Alfonso Cuaron, who directed the third film, "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban"; and now Mike Newell, the "Four Weddings and a Funeral" veteran handling "Goblet of Fire."

"Ultimately, that's what I'd like to do," says Radcliffe, who, along with Watson and Grint, is signed up for the next Harry Potter film as well. "That's obviously a long way off in the future. In a perfect world, I'd direct one really, really good film and then stop, quit while I'm ahead."

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|