Robert Knox, who plays Marcus Belby, was tragically stabbed to death on May 24, 2008, just a few days after filming wrapped.
Dame Maggie Smith completed filming this film whilst undergoing radio-therapy as treatment for breast cancer.
Hero Fiennes Tiffin was cast as Tom Riddle, Age 11, while his uncle, Ralph Fiennes plays Lord Voldemort (formerly Tom Riddle). His parents are Martha Fiennes (Ralph's sister) and George Tiffin. Director David Yates says that he hired Hero because of his resemblance to his uncle, but not specifically because he was the actor's nephew. He liked the dark haunted quality about the young actor.
Although all the teachers at Hogwarts are addressed as "Professor", J.K. Rowling has said that there is no university for wizards. This revelation has two implications: first, that the professor salutation is an honorific; second, that those who wish to learn more than standard schooling must apprentice themselves to experts in any given field, just as was done in the Middle Ages.
Horace Slughorn's outfits were designed to look very rich and elegant, but also old and threadbare. The costumes were distressed to make them appear worn, and in addition, were washed in a powdery solution to make them appear as if they had gathered dust during the years of Slughorn's retirement.
Quidditch at Hogwarts makes a grand (and much publicized) return, after being completely absent since Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005). A full game of Quidditch has in fact not been featured since Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002).
Three new scenes were added that do not appear in the book: The collapsing Millennium bridge (at the beginning of the film, and which appears in the Third Trailer); Harry flirting with the waitress at the underground station before meeting up with Dumbledore; and the Death Eater attack at the Burrow (seen in the second trailer). An attack on a Muggle bridge is actually mentioned in the original opening of the book by Cornelius Fudge, but in an after the fact manner.
Warner Brothers received death threats for pushing the movie's release date to 2009 when it was scheduled to be released in 2008.
Daniel Radcliffe's least favorite own performance in the series, stating in an interview in 2014 that he was "just not very good in it", and calling it "hard to watch".
David Yates stated in an interview that the color palette and lighting methods used in this film were heavily inspired by the Dutch painter Rembrandt.
Over 7,000 girls auditioned for the role of Lavender Brown, and read from a scene with Madam Pomfrey, Hermione, and Ron. Ironically, Emma Watson recommended Jessie Cave for the role, which she got, even though she hadn't attended any of those auditions.
The only Harry Potter movie to be Oscar nominated for the Best Cinematography Academy Award.
(at around 10 mins) Professor Slughorn says that he taught the entire Black family, except for Sirius. As Hogwarts only has one teacher for each subject, it may seem a bit odd that he would not have taught Sirius. The book explains this differently, however. In addition to teaching Potions, Slughorn was also head of Slytherin House, where all of the Blacks were sorted, except for Sirius. So while Slughorn taught Sirius, he never had him in Slytherin.
Helen McCrory (Narcissa Malfoy) had been cast to play Narcissa's sister Bellatrix Lestrange in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), but had to back out because she was pregnant.
Horace Slughorn's appearance in the film differs dramatically from his description in the book, possibly more than any other character. In the book, he is described as being extremely fat and bald, with a "walrus-like" mustache. In the film, he is depicted as being only slightly overweight, his hair is only slightly thinning, and he doesn't sport any facial hair at all. However, his character is quite similar: although Slughorn is depicted as somewhat shrewd and opportunistic, in both the book and film, he is a friendly man, who breaks with the traditional character of Slytherins being cold and unsympathetic.
Christian Coulson, who played Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), expressed an interest in returning as Riddle for this film, but David Yates recognized that Coulson was too old for the role, being nearly 30 in 2008/9.
Emma Watson considered not returning for the film, but eventually decided that, "the pluses outweighed the minuses," and could not bear to see anyone else play Hermione.
Production designer Stuart Craig revealed that the Three Broomsticks' design was constructed for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park first. Subsequently, the film crew constructed an exact replica during filming.
The original script included all of Dumbledore's memories about Voldemort, as outlined in the source novel, but David Yates insisted on trimming them down as, according to Steve Kloves, "..he wanted to showcase Voldemort's rise without getting overly involved with his past as Riddle."
Some fans expressed distaste that Slughorn played favorites with students, but J.K. Rowling explained it differently. Professor Slughorn is a meritocratic teacher. He shows interest and appreciation towards those who are smart, capable, and well-connected. If a student wishes to gain attention, then they need to excel in their work. By being choosy with his favors, Slughorn spurs all his students to try harder.
(at around 2h 5 mins) Tim Alexander described Dumbledore's ring of fire as "someone sprayed propane and then lit it." Then, to enhance the effect, the visual effects team spent a lot of research on molten volcanoes (which have a lot of heat but no actual flames), and other references, including flares that burn underwater. The whole fire scene was very time consuming, with computer graphics artist Christopher Horvath spending eight months on it.
Wanting to bring a different look to this film, David Yates chose French Cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel, known for his use of stylized color palettes that often feature prominent earthy tones. At first the film was extensively color graded, and due to the overly dark tones, Warner Bros. asked Yates and Delbonnel to add more colors to the film, as they could barely see a thing on screen. Both Yates and Delbonnel were hesitant to do this at first, but after retouching some of the scenes, Delbonnel realized that he had overused the grading and the final product was better. Yates remarked Delbonnel's work on the film as "The choice of angles, the extreme close-ups, the pacing of the scenes...It's very layered, incredibly rich." It was the first (and ultimately, only) film in the Harry Potter series to be nominated for a Cinematography Oscar.
Many fans have expressed distaste in the fact that Harry is shown at a train station, saying it would make more sense for him to be at the Dursley's. This is actually a nod to the book, because Harry said he liked riding trains, that it "helped him take his mind off things."
Bill Nighy was hired to play Rufus Scrimgeour (Minister of Magic), but there was no place for the character in the film. Instead, the same role was reassigned to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010).
As an homage to J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, a fan of hers, included a reference to the series in his novel 'Wolves of Calla', featuring Snitches as flying grenades. 'Wolves' was published one year before the 'Half-Blood Prince' novel. Rowling, in turn, returned the favor: the Gaunts (Voldemort's maternal family, though Dumbledore did not mention in the film) is alluded to Leland Gaunt - the lead antagonist in King's novel 'Needful Things' (played by Max von Sydow in Needful Things (1993)).
Filming returned to Gloucester Cathedral for the first time since Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002).
(at around 20 mins) The tiny dragon seen heating up chestnuts in Diagon Alley, is the miniature version of the Hungarian Horntail, which Harry faced in the first task of the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005).
The night scenes were filmed in the quaint village of Lacock and the cloisters at Lacock Abbey for three nights, October 25-28, 2007. Filming took place from 5 P.M.-5 A.M., and residents of the street were asked to black out their windows with dark blinds.
(at around 30 mins) This is the first Harry Potter film that does not feature any aspect of Defense Against the Dark Arts classes on screen, either direct (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) through Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)) or indirect (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)). The only mention of the subject occurs when Dumbledore announces Snape's appointment to the open teaching position.
(at around 1h 45 mins) The drinking song that Hagrid and Slughorn are singing is titled "Odo the Hero". It was written by J.K. Rowling, but only the last four verses are known.
Timothy Spall plays Wormtail (Peter Pettigrew) for the fourth time, and is credited on the poster for this film, but in both Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) and this film, he does not have a single line of dialogue.
Jamie Campbell Bower hoped to be cast as a young Riddle. He was instead cast as the teenage Gellert Grindelwald in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010).
In this film, Lavender Brown is portrayed by Jessie Cave, a white actress. However in previous films, Lavender is portrayed by black actresses; Kathleen McAuley in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) and Jennifer L. Smith in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004).
(at around 2 mins) At the beginning of the film, the Death Eaters destroy the Millennium Bridge in London. The book is set in 1996-1997, according to the canon time line. The Millennium Bridge was not constructed until 1998, and opened on June 10, 2000.
Terry Gilliam, who was J.K. Rowling's personal choice to direct Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001), was approached to direct this film. However, Gilliam said, "Warner Bros. had their chance the first time around, and they blew it."
(at around 1h 16 mins) Mr. Weasley's shed of Muggle artifacts contains, among other things, two Remington Noiseless Portable Typewriters and an HP Laserjet 4.
The set used for Professor Slughorn's office is a redress of the set that served as the Trophy Room in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005). The same set also served as the Room of Requirement in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) as well as this film.
Even though they feature in the beginning of the book, the Dursleys do not appear in this movie. This is the second film they have been left out of, with the first being Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
(at around 8 mins) Much like the first book, some differences exist between the British and American editions of the text. One such difference is in the scene where Dumbledore takes Harry to meet Slughorn. In the American edition of the book, Dumbledore excuses himself to use the bathroom. In the film, he uses the more British term, "loo." This is in contrast to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001), in which such references were shot twice to accommodate American and British audiences.
At the time of its release, J.K. Rowling stated that this was her "favourite one" of the six film adaptations.
(at around 2 mins) The entrance to "The Leaky Cauldron" and, behind it, Diagon Alley is shown to be on Great Newport Street, just off Charing Cross Road, between the bookshop and number 12.
Like many of the fashions at Hogwarts, Professor Slughorn's mortarboard cap has a rich history. It was used in the 14th and 15th centuries to identify humanists, students, artists, and the learned in general. Slughorn's tassel is black, signifying an advanced degree.
(at around 40 mins) According to Stuart Craig, Tom Riddle's orphanage is based on buildings from the Liverpool Docklands, and it is influenced by Victorian-Georgian architecture. In fact, the orphanage's exterior uses original Victorian glaze bricks, to give the set a very hard structure.
Director Guillermo del Toro turned down the chance to direct this film, so he could work on Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008).
David Yates is the first director since Chris Columbus to make more than one Harry Potter film.
Kevin McKidd was offered the role of werewolf Fenrir Greyback, but could not take part, due to his commitments in other projects, including Grey's Anatomy (2005). He has since stated that he was glad he did not to take the role, for his young children would not take kindly to his appearance on screen. Ironically, McKidd once played the lead role in Dog Soldiers (2002), which saw him battling a pack of werewolves.
(at around 44 mins) The tapestry seen near the Room of Requirement is the last of seven in "The Hunt of the Unicorn" (or the "Unicorn Tapestries") series, called "The Unicorn in Captivity." The real tapestry can be found at the Cloisters in New York City.
During the memory scenes involving young Tom Riddle, including the orphanage, the scenery is green, which is one of the colors of Slytherin, which Tom Riddle was sorted into, as he was the last descendent of Salazar Slytherin.
Originally to be released on November 21, 2008, the studio decided to postpone it to July 15, 2009. Officially, the decision, according to studio chief Alan Horn was largely due to the writers' strike at that time, but unofficially, and known to most, the decision was following the massive earnings made by another studio movie, The Dark Knight (2008) that released on that week of July. With that, Twilight (2008), which was supposedly to be released on December 12, 2008, moved to fill in that vacant release slot.
Unlike the book, Harry and Ginny become an item during the Christmas holidays. It was never explained why Ginny and Dean split up in the film, but it is strongly implied they argued a lot as hinted by Hermione during the slug club scene.
(at around 37 mins) Towards the end of Potions class, Emma Watson's hair is all bushy, which is the same style Hermione has in the book series.
Bob Hoskins was also considered for the role of Slughorn. Jim Broadbent started work on this film after filming Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008).
The scene where Harry is at a train station at the start of the film was shot at Surbiton station in Surrey, a well-known commuter station in Greater London Zone 6.
Clémence Poésy, who played Fleur Delacour, and Chris Rankin, who played Percy Weasley, were interested in returning, but did not appear in the film.
This is the second time Tom Felton and Jim Broadbent have worked together. The first time was in The Borrowers (1997), as members of the four-inch tall family; son Peagreen Clock and his father Pod Clock respectively. Also, Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley) played the part of Jeff the Exterminator.
Naomi Watts was previously reported as having accepted the role of Narcissa Malfoy, only for it to be denied her by her agency.
When Slughorn shows Harry Lily in a Slugclub photo she has a 'bump' and wears a baggy looking dress. This implies Lily was pregnant with Harry in that photo.
David Yates and the producers asked Wally Pfister if he could do the cinematography for this movie. Pfister declined since The Dark Knight (2008) was shooting at the same time, citing schedule conflicts.
The second film to NOT open with a "Harry-centric" event. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) opened with a scene from a chapter of the fourth book, "The Riddle House". This film opens with an event which is mentioned in the first chapter of the sixth book, "The Other Minister", where the Death Eaters collapse the Millennium Bridge in London. (Although the first images in this film are of Harry and Dumbledore at the Ministry of Magic after the battle with Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), the first legitimate and complete scene is the Death Eater attack.)
(at around 42 mins) There is only one split second scene of Lord Voldemort (not of Tom Riddle) in this movie which is showed in the flashback.
(at around 1h 29 mins) Professor Slughorn's toast, "To life," is very similar to the Jewish toast, "La Chaim!", which means enjoying life and celebrating all of its amazing (and sometimes unexpected) happenings.
Alfonso Cuarón, the director of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), stated he "would love to have the opportunity" to return to direct this film.
After Bill Nighy expressed an interest in appearing, David Yates confirmed that Nighy would be his first choice for the role of Minister for Magic Rufus Scrimgeour. Scrimgeour's character was ultimately cut from the film, but Nighy appeared in his role in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010).
(at around 40 mins) The tile in young Tom Riddle's room, in the flashback, is the same tile as the Department of Mysteries in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007).
Mark Day is the fifth editor the Harry Potter franchise has had, and is the only one who has edited more than one film. He's been involved the franchise since Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007).
Warner Bros. spent an estimated 155 million dollars to market and distribute the film.
At 153 minutes long, this is the third longest film in the series, behind Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) (161 minutes) and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) (157 minutes).
The pensive, in this film, is different from the version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005). The pensive can somehow float in midair, presumably by a Charms spell, and Harry is not seen in the pensive this time, but it can be argued the memories are seen by Harry via first person. Harry, unlike the book version of this film, sees the first two memories without Dumbledore, but it is implied the pair saw Slughorn's true memory together.
David Yates and David Heyman have noted that some of the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows influenced the script.
Regulus Black (Tom Moorcroft), Lily Evans (Susie Shinner) and Lucius Malfoy (Tony Coburn) all were supposed to be among Horace Slughorn's previous favorite students. They were among those in Slughorn's photographs. Yet another photograph shown to Harry Potter was that of "Daily Prophet" Editor, Barnabas Cuffe (Roger C. Bailey). Unfortunately, long shots or only the backs of the frames were shown. This resulted in deleted scenes for all of the actors.
When Christian Coulson was cast to play a 16 year old Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), he was actually 23 years old, but in this film, Frank Dillane, who was 17 at the time, played Tom Riddle, who was a similar age to him.
Until the Special Edition re-releases of all eight films in 2016, this was the only installment in the franchise, where Ron and Hermione did not appear on the DVD or Blu-Ray cover art.
Madam Amelia Bones, from the Wizengamot during Harry's Disciplinary Trial (Order of the Phoenix) who presided of clearing all charges to him, her portrait can be seen on a newspaper when Harry and Hermione are talking after the Christmas Attack on the Weasley's by the Death Eater. She is head of Department of Magical Law Enforcement( usually where Minister of Magic is from previously) which is the strongest candidate after Fudge's Post is vacant, but attacked by Lord Voldemort himself in her home as she sees her as a threat because she is known to be the Greatest Witch of her time and gave Voldemort a hard time killing her..Aunt of Susan Bones
Chris Columbus, the director of the first two Harry Potter films, was amazed how beautifully Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint matured over the series, compared to some child actors, who start out adorable, and then either lose that, or become bad actors as they grow older.
Thomas James Longley, James Lee Hunt, and Andrew Clarke auditioned for the role of Tom Riddle, but lost out to Frank Dillane.
(at around 30 secs) Robert Hardy (Cornelius Fudge) has an uncredited voice-over at the start of the movie: Immediately after Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange)'s line, "I killed Sirius Black!" (from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)), Hardy/Fudge's last line from the same movie: "He's back!" can be heard.
Advance ticket sales on Fandango.com for the film surpassed advance ticket sales for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) at the same point in sale cycles. It is also in MovieTickets.com's top 25 advance sellers of all time.
Mike Newell, who directed Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), declined a spot to direct Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), and was not approached for this one.
Gemma Jones (Madam Pomfrey) and Jim Broadbent (Professor Slughorn) played husband and wife as parents to Renee Zellwger's titular character in the Bridget Jones films. Shirley Henderson (Moaning Myrtle in the Harry Potter films) also stars in Bridget Jones as Jude, friend to Bridget.
While smelling the love potion at Slughorn's initial potion class, Hermione says it smells like freshly mown grass, new parchment, and spearmint toothpaste which is a reference to earlier at The Burrow when Ron tells Hermione she has a bit of toothpaste on her face. Also, in the book the third item is not mentioned.
Anand Tucker and Michael Hoffman were both rumored as possible directors for this film.
Featured two sets of twins: James Phelps and Oliver Phelps (born 2/25/1986) and Amber Evans and Ruby Evans (DOB unknown, as of 5/4/2017). The Phelps twins played the Weasley twins; the Evans twins were listed as "Twin Girl 1" & "Twin Girl 2".)
In the film young Dumbledore and Tom Riddle swap seats. Tom sits on a chair while Dumbledore sits on the bed unlike the book when the two sat in opposite seats.
The Harry Potter series and Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) share many similarities, e.g. head boys.
Throughout the eight-movie series, five actresses played "Pansy Parkinson": 1-Katherine Nicholson [Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001), and 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)', uncredited in both], 2-Genevieve Gaunt ['Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)'], 3-'Charlotte Ritchie' ['Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)', originally listed as "Student" and uncredited)], 4-Lauren Shotton [Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)' (again uncredited as Pansy], and, 5-Scarlett Byrne in 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)', 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)', and 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)'.
Near the start of the film Ollivander is seen with a sack over his head while being held prisoner by Greyback. This is possibly a homage to the 1980 film The Elephant Man which starred John Hurt who played Ollivander. In the latter film Hurt' s other character Joseph Ferrick who in real life had a very rare physical disability in the face also had his face covered so people can't see his disfigurement.