RT Visits the Set of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
We go behind-the-scenes at Leavesden Studios
Felton at least has a connection to one of this film's other new cast members should he need a mentor to help him through. Jim Broadbent has been brought on board as Professor Slughorn, Hogwarts' new Potions teacher. "Quite coincidentally, the first film I ever did - The Borrowers - he was my dad in that," says Felton. "It was a bit of a blast from the past, really, and I was very flattered and pleased to hear that he remembered me."
Broadbent isn't on set while we visit, but we're shown a couple of Slughorn's costumes, including a pair of light purple PJs carved from the fabric of a big armchair. In the film we learn that the professor is in hiding for fear of attacks from Death Eaters and when Dumbledore and Harry call on him before the start of term so that the headmaster can offer him the job, he's disguising himself as the armchair.
We also learn that Dumbledore has brought Harry along to play to another of Slughorn's passions; he's a chronic networker, always looking to ingratiate himself with students he thinks are or will be important in later life. As the legendary 'chosen one,' Harry would quite simply become the prize of his network of friends.
"I think Harry ultimately likes Slughorn," says Radcliffe. "He thinks he's a very good person and that his heart is in the right place, but he's just very opportunistic and totally self-obsessed. I think Harry, in a strange way, finds that endearing and in an even stranger way perhaps actually likes the fact that Slughorn is fascinated by the aura of fame and glory that he sees surrounding Harry."
One thing is certain: the film's young cast definitely like Broadbent. "He's such a brilliant actor and he's so immersed in the character, which is always a treat to see," enthuses Radcliffe.
"He's a really nice guy and really funny," agrees Grint, "and he's just what I imagined Slughorn to be."
There seems to be a sense that this is the first part of a two-part finale - or three-part if you count the split for Deathly Hallows as two films - and it seems that the biggest concern should be in making sure this film's finale keeps its audience interested going into the next. "It's really tricky and we've struggled with it a lot," says Yates. "I think ultimately it will feel like part of a bigger journey. We're still trying to make the journey as complete as possible in many ways but I like the idea that this is an involving story and I like the idea that you can sit in a movie theatre for two and a half hours and still come out and go, 'Wow, I want to go back and see what comes next.'"
Continue on to the final page as the cast reflect on the looming end to the franchise and how they'll feel when they call a wrap on Deathly Hallows.