Making Movie Magic
We moved out of the Great Hall and into the next room. It’s crazy, because that whole set looks so real when you are inside of it, but the backside just makes it very clear that it’s all smoke and mirrors (and a lot of scaffolding).
The next little section of the tour is dedicated to some of the key creators behind all the movies, including the producers, directors, and screenwriters.
There was a video playing on a loop that went into detail about each of these important personalities, and we could also pull up the videos on our digital guide.
Looking past this display, we could see the framework model of the Great Hall’s enchanted ceiling, as well as the gates to Hogwarts flanked by winged boars in the distance.
Stuart Craig is probably the person most directly responsible for the look and feel of the on-screen Harry Potter universe, because he has been Production Designer since day one. This was our first look at how a concept moved from a model into reality.
The actual ceiling they used in the film was, itself, a miniature (shot on its own and then composited in to match up with the rest of the Great Hall), but it was very impressive seeing the various details on the scale model.
This first corridor filled with props, set pieces, and costumes is one of the only areas of the tour that feels just a little bit disjointed because it jumps around a bit. Next is a display dedicated to the fourth movie, which features some of the decorations from the Yule Ball
You can also see Emma Watson’s iconic pink dress.
And here is a display of the table laden with chocolate items that made up the feast of desserts in the scene when Hogwarts first welcomes the delegations from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang.
Once we moved past this very specific conglomeration of items from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, we switched gears again as we walked past various wigs from the hair department.
There were wigs for pretty much every major character, leading me to wonder whether we really ever saw people’s natural hair on screen.
Makeup was next, with a focus on more complex ways to alter the actors’ appearances. You can see all the references for Harry’s “I must not tell lies” scar, and in the upper right-hand corner, there are forehead plates with the exact location of the lighting-bolt scar indicated.
There was also a lot of prosthetic facial hair.
And some wigs — like Snape’s — were scattered around the makeup tables.
Here you can see some prosthetic teeth, nails, eyelashes, etc.
Since hair, makeup, and costuming are all closely related, we got to see several character outfits next.
This display, in particular, was all about how there were sometimes dozens of versions of a single outfit in various states of distress so that the gradual deterioration of them over time could be seen on screen.
Here are some Hagrid costumes in various sizes — including the ones that Robbie Coltrane wore and those worn by his size doubles.
We approached the Hogwarts gates next, and honestly, it felt like we were back at Universal and entering the queue for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
Like the ceiling of the Great Hall, the Leaky Cauldron was another set that only ever existed in miniature. It also is a prime example of the use of forced perspective (proving that those old filmmaking tricks are still essential, more than 100 years after their original invention).
From the perfect angle, it really does look like this tiny scale model is actually a long hallway.
Here was a full-sized set piece from inside The Leaky Cauldron: the actual leaky cauldron itself!
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