MegaCon Q&A with James & Oliver Phelps


LeakyNews was able to attend James and Oliver Phelps’ panel at MegaCon in Orlando this morning. The moderator cheekily greeted the audience with: “Welcome to our Twilight panel! You’re all so sparkly today!” During the panel, we took some notes and compiled a few (mostly paraphrased) highlights below.

What have you been up to?
Oliver: Traveling and enjoying life.

Any upcoming projects?
James: I was just in a stage show in London. I had to learn 41 monologues.

What about you?
O: We’ve got a website going. And we’re doing a film, but we can’t talk about details yet.

Audience Q&A began and the first question was asked by a little boy who was told to run to the front of the room. He ran past my aisle seat and was adorable. His question was too.

Were you always this mischievous?
O: Yes.

J: There were 5 sets of twins at our school. There was something in water. But 2 of the other boys were more than us. One liked cricket and one liked science. They would switch and the one who liked science got the other expelled for being rather rude to a cricket umpire.

How hard was it to let go of the characters?
J: Not that hard. I’m kidding. It was weird. The ginger hair was not hard to let go of, especially the touch-ups of the eyebrows. Since it was a natural goodbye in the films, it seemed natural for us.

Are you both 6’3″?
The moderator made them stand up to compare and James tweaked his hair to make it stand taller.

How was it playing Quidditch?
J: Sore. Not fun sitting on a bike seat.

Why and how did you start acting?
O: We did acting in school. And our mum saw the notice for casting the films in the newspaper. But we though, “Oh we’ll miss a day of school oh no.” But they were casting for all parts and there were lots of boys with glasses, well boys with frames and no lenses. And we’d driven 3 hours which is quite a long way in England so we stuck around. And we got the call about the parts 2 days later. In the span of 6 weeks our lives changed.

How old were you when you started and how old are you now?
O: We were 14 when we started and we’re 27 now.

Have you been to Wizarding World of Harry Potter?
J: We have been, yes. A lot. When we first saw the plans about 3 years before it was announced we thought it would be what it was before but with Harry Potter stickers.

What’s your favorite set story that you can tell?
J: That we CAN tell?

O: I’m trying to think what I CAN tell. We have a place for tutoring on set and JK Rowling came to talk to Evanna. The tutor came out to say the break was over. JK said she had to keep her just another minute but the tutor insisted, not knowing who she was talking to. She said, “No, but I need to talk to her. I… wrote the books.” It was quite funny to see as an outsider.

J: Wands aren’t shatter resistant. We were in the Room of Requirement scene practicing dueling. I was trying to do those tricks, like with drum sticks. And they would just fall apart. I broke about 4 wands. Imagine trying to explain that to the prop guy. I think it’s in the background of one scene.

What’s the craziest thing a fan has done?

Both thought for a bit and the audience laughed.

J: We were just at the Exhibition in New York. There was this girl that waited 6 hrs. And she brought us a toilet seat to sign.

O: With a crest.

J: A toilet seat with a Hogwarts crest. Another was a big heavy box and I swear to God there was a watermelon inside with a note that said “Please sign and send back to this address.”

O: We signed half and ate the rest.

Favorite book characters?
O: Peeves.

J: I think George.

What was your favorite movie and scene to film?
O: Goblet of Fire. We both just turned 18 and had long hair. My favorite scene was when we put our names in the cup.

J: Goblet of Fire, too. The Yule Ball. They made us learn to waltz which I never thought. We had long ginger hair and they told us there would be a rock band and asked if we wanted to head bang and have a mosh pit. I said “Yep!” That was a good week.

At this point, the moderator accidentally says, “Rawlings”, hangs his head in shame, and makes to leave the stage.

Which houses would you be sorted into?
O: That happened. The sorting hat sorted us. I am a Gryffinfor.

J: I was a Hufflepuff.

Do you ever speak in sync like the twins?
Both: Not really, no.

Were there any love interests among cast?
J: Not for us, we’re so much older. We were all like a gang. But not an evil one!

Do you still keep in contact with the others?
O: I spoke to Tom Felton a few days ago. I played golf upstate and wanted to tell him about it. Also, he was here [at MegaCon] last year and got quite a good reception. And we play on a cricket team with Alfie Enoch so we see him every week in the season.

How did you feel about Fred dying?
O: I’ve been hearing rumors about me crying. No. (Audience laughs.) It was odd watching him all paled up and sleeping. There are rumors of hugs and I said oh, I love you. Nahhhhhh. (Laughs) It had to be done. It was a closed set. And there were other people dying as well.

J: I first heard about it on bullet train in Japan. The book had come out and I turned off my phone so no one could tell me what happened. It was like reading that a good friend had died. Then just after I read it, the ticket inspector came around to check tickets and was screaming at me in Japanese. I didn’t understand him and said, “No, but I’m dead!”

It was time for the last question. The moderator couldn’t decide who to pick, so he asked James and Oliver. They deflected back to the moderator. He told the whole audience to ask their question at once and then for James and Oliver to answer “that question”.

Both: YES!