Three years after the iconic magic saga ‘Harry Potter’in J.K. Rowlingreach the big screen through the Warner Bros. it’s from Chris Columbus, the universe of the most famous wizard of all time was already established as one of the most adored by the public. And in 2004, the vibrant fabulesque scope was undergoing a major transformation with the launch of ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’.
Directed by Alfonso Cuaronthe same name behind acclaimed productions such as ‘Children of Hope’, ‘Gravity’ and ‘Pomegranate’the feature film brought Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson returning as Harry, Ron and Hermione respectively, bringing the trio together for the darkest adventure of their lives yet. In the plot, our heroes return to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry only to be faced with a mortal danger: the return of the assassin Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), who has escaped from Azkaban Prison, considered to be escape-proof until then, and is looking for Harry. To protect the school, Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) recruits the fearsome Dementors, strange beings that suck the vital energy of those who approach them, who can both defend the school and make the situation even worse.
The film received an extremely solid reception from international critics, who to this day consider the iteration to be the best entry in the magical universe, and it was a smash hit with audiences, grossing over US$797 million worldwide and becoming the 2nd highest grossing of the year. In addition, it garnered two Oscar nominations, including Best Soundtrack and Best Visual Effects.
To celebrate the recent 18th anniversary of this instant classic, we’ve prepared a short list of some backstage triviawhich you can see below:
- To create bonds with the main trio, Cuarón asked each of them to write an essay about their respective characters. Watson wrote a sixteen-page essay on Hermione; Radcliffe wrote only one about Harry; and Grint, like Ron, never turned in the essay.
- Cuarón had never read the original novels, or seen the first two films, when he was offered to direct the third chapter. was the director Guillermo del Toro who convinced him, saying, “don’t be stupid; read the books immediately.”
- A clause in Cuarón’s contract prevents him from swearing in front of the kids on the set.
- Aware of his fondness for music, Oldman presented Radcliffe with a bass guitar as a gift when they first met.
- Rowling revealed that she got “goosebumps” when she watched various moments in the film, as they inadvertently reference events in the last two books. She commented, “people are re-watching the movie and thinking these things were deliberately put in as clues.”
- During filming, all the pockets of the Tom Felton were sewn together to prevent him from bringing food onto the set.
- Remus Lupine (David Thewlis) is a rarity among professors, as he calls students by their first names rather than their last. The other two professors known to also do this are Dumbledore and Rubeus Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane).
- To make the Knight Bus appear to be zigzagging frantically through traffic at an unbelievable speed, scenes were shot with the bus being driven at normal speed while the other cars were moving slowly. The scenes were shot by the camera at a slower pace than usual. When set to normal speed, the bus felt very fast.
- Thewlis was Cuarón’s first choice for the role of Lupin. He accepted the role after receiving advice from the Ian Hartinterpreter of Professor Quirrell in ‘The philosopher’s Stone’who said that Lupine was “the best part of the books”.
- Harry Melling had lost so much weight that the role of Dudley Dursley was almost recast. Eventually, it was decided that Melling would continue to play Dudley and that he would wear a larger costume to keep him true to the character.