• Owls and cats are the most difficult animals to train
  • Dogs are the easiest animal to train as they basically respond to anyone who will play with them. 
  • The largest amount of animals on set on any given day was 60 animals for a scene in Professor McGonagall’s classroom. 
  • Robbie Coltrane, who plays Hagrid, once got a fruit bat stuck in his beard during a scene in Hagrid’s hut.  
  • The largest animal to be brought on set was a hippo. 
  • The smallest animal to be brought on set was a centipede. 
  • After filming 40 kittens to go on moving plates in Umbridge’s office, the kittens went on to be domestic pets, with their new owners unaware of their famous origins. 
  • There have been 250 animals used across the Harry Potter film series (not including insects).
  • Over 25,000 items of clothing have been used on Harry Potter 
  • Over 600 school uniforms have been created for Harry Potter 
  • The scenes with the largest number of cast and extras to dress have been the battle scenes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, with 400 Death Eaters and Snatchers and the Great Hall scenes with 400 children and teachers present.
Miscellaneous Facts:
  • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Ron’s vomit slugs were in fact, puppets.. Rupert Grint chose orange-flavored slime to make the experience more palatable. 
  • 250 body casts have been made of actors for deaths, petrifications and stunning spells. 
  • Aragog the acromantula (giant spider) had an 18 ft. leg span 
  • Over 200 creatures have been created for the Harry Potter film series. 
Death Eater Masks:
  • The Death Eater masks were created in conjunction with the art department and prop makers. 
  • The creature effects department sculpted all the masks in a week and the prop team finished the masks, with each featuring an ornate individual pewter design. 
  • All of the actors that wore them had to have a life cast in cold alginate, which took 2.5 minutes to set. 
The hog’s head at the Hog’s Head Tavern
  • Initially, director David Yates wanted three computer-generated wolf heads in the tavern but quickly realized it would be more cost effective to sculpt a full-size animatronic hog’s head. 
  • The hog’s head was a silicon-skinned animatronic model that was operated through the wall by technicians. 
  • Each hair was individually punched in by hand and it took a month to complete.
Makeup Facts
  • A dentist was on standby for many of the young crowd scenes to replace teeth which wobbled and fell out – to prevent continuity issues involving teeth. 
  • Harry’s infamous scar has been put on by makeup approx 5,800 times. This is not only on Daniel Radcliffe, who has had the scar applied approx 2,000 times, but also on his doubles and stunt doubles, all of whom wear the scar.  
  • Robbie Coltrane once got a mini-fan caught in his Hagrid beard and had to have it cut out.  
Hair Facts
  • 190 liters of shampoo and conditioner were used on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 
  • 55 liters of hair tint/hair dye was used on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 
  • Approximately 2,182 liters of shampoo and conditioner will have been used across all the films, enough to fill 28 bathtubs.   
The Burrow Facts:
  • The Burrow took about 14 weeks with eight model makers to make. 
  • It took 14 weeks to make the Burrow miniature and just six minutes to burn down! 
  • The Burrow is over 20 feet high at a scale of 1:3.  
  • The Burrow model had to match the full size set exactly, so everything was replicated, including leaded light windows, curtains and the all of the various set dressing. 
Hogsmeade Village:
  • The miniature version of Hogsmeade had over 20 shop windows filled with tiny window dressing. 
  • Hogsmeade was 42 x 24 x 8 ft high at a scale of 1:16. 
  • The full-sized version of Hogsmeade built for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was based on the miniature version created for previous films. 
  • Hogwarts was 60 x 50 x 30 ft high. A scale of 1:24 
  • The original version took about seven months to create with 40 people working on it.  The miniature has been updated over the years due to story requirements.
Each of these updates has taken approximately 3-4 months with about 20 model makers.
  • Number of sets created – 588 
  • Biggest set – the Ministry of Magic 
  • Longest Standing set – The Great Hall, used from the first film till the last. 
  • One year a storm with 100mph wind gusts took the roof off A-Stage and the Flight Shed at Leavesden, but none of the exterior sets sustained any major damage. 
  • Hagrid’s Hut was taken down at Leavesden and transported and rebuilt 2000 ft. up a mountain in Scotland for scenes in Prisoner of Azkaban.  
  • A 1/3 miniature of The Burrow was created just to be burnt down, when Death Eaters set it on fire in Half-Blood Prince. It took 14 weeks to make.and 6 minutes to burn down. 
  • The Harry Potter art department contained a team of 58 people working full time. Over 10 years they produced some amazing work, but also produced 35 babies! 
Leavesden Studios
  • Leavesden Studios was originally built as an aerodrome in 1940. Many airplanes were built there at the tail end of World War II. 
  • As it is an old aerodrome, none of the stages are soundproofed. 
  • The 200 acre Studio houses over ½ million square feet of covered production space and nine giant stages in excess of 145,000 sq. ft. The runway is 3000 feet long. 
  • In 1966, Rolls Royce took over the site to produce aircraft engines. 
  • Apart from the Potter series, movies filmed here include; Sleepy Hollow, Golden Eye, Star Wars Episode 1 The Phantom Menace and Mortal Kombat Annihilation 
Leavesden Stages and some of the sets they have housed:
Stage A:          The Burrow, Grey Lady Corridor, Dragon Arena, Hogsmeade Village
Stage C:          The Trail Room
Stage D:          Europe’s biggest underwater tank was built here for the Tri-Wizard Cup. The frozen pond was also filmed here, which Harry dives into to retrieve Gryffindor’s sword.
Stage F:           The Room of Requirement in Deathly Hallows, as well as a broom rig and various other special effects rigs.
Stage G:          A broom rig for flying
Stage H and I: The Ministry of Magic and the Lestrange Vault at Gringotts Bank.
The Flight
Shed:               The Chamber of Secrets, Umbridge’s Office, The Typing Pool, and Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes
Miscellaneous prop facts:
  • Dan Radcliffe has been through 160 pairs of glasses during the shooting of all the Harry Potter films 
  • 40 versions of Salazar Slytherin’s locket had to be created to accommodate Ron and Harry’s failed attempts to destroy it. 
  • 5 32-ton trucks’ worth of polystyrene were needed to create all the rubble for Deathly Hallows
  • To keep brooms light-weight and aesthetically on spec, aircraft-grade titanium is employed in their structure. 
  • 900 Memory Vials were made for the cabinet in Dumbledore’s Office.  
  • 250 paintings have been created for the Marble Staircase 
  • Producers David Heyman and David Barron were immortalized in portraits for the Marble Staircase. 
  • 210,000 coins were made for the Gringotts bank scene for the final two films alone 
  • Dan Radcliffe wore out 60-70 wands during the making of the Harry Potter films 
  • Every wand that you see in any of the Harry Potter films is created on-site. No two wands are alike…not even the Weasley twins’! 
  • Wands are 13-15 inch long and haven’t changed in length, so the actors have had to grow into them over the years.  
  • Dumbledore’s wand was a very elaborate design, even though its significance of being the Elder Wand was far from being known when made. 
Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes Shop Facts:
  • The shop contains bright windows and harlow shelves crammed with jokes, tricks and magic. It is a colorful icon and a bit of defiant fun in a depressed Diagon alley with Olivander’s Wand Shop destroyed a few doors away.
  • It took construction three months to build the set 
  • It is three floors high and has three staircases 
  • The team consisted of three graphic designers and five additional assistants. All the products/labels were printed and assembled at Leavesden 
  • Three concept artists and the graphics department designed 120 products. 
  • Concept artists designed 8-10 hero props (hero being the term for the main props the actors use), such as the Puking Pastilles sculpture and the WWW sculpture, and graphics did more of the paper/signage/fireworks. 
  • The painters used thousands of liters of paint in seven colors 
  • The cash till was bought on eBay and adapted. 
  • There is a moving ladder that Fred and George travel on around the shop. 
  • There is a 20-foot-high mannequin in the front window of the shop of one of the twins. His costume was specially printed & dyed white felt. He lifts his hat & underneath is a white rabbit, when he lifts his hat again, it reveals a fez. 
  • 90 huge balloons were printed with the Weasley "W". 
  • Approximately 223 names were cleared to use for the product names 
  • A bicycle enthusiast made the balancing Umbridge bicycle from scratch 
  • 6,850 labels were cut for products 
  • 300 liters of silicone were used to make the Puking Pastilles & all the other sweets in the shop 
  • 600 gummy eyeballs were made as well as 600 shopping bags, 300 meters of hand dyed orange cord and 5,000 printed boxes. 400 of those boxes (the Skiving Snack boxes) were specially made in the Czech Republic 
  • The graphics team of eight worked exclusively on WWW for 3 months & used approximately 460 reams of A4 paper/ 350 ink cartridges. There were 73 different fonts used, along with 500 rolls of tissue paper and 250 meters of printing paper. 
  • The shop was designed into three sections – Fireworks and Explosives; Muggle Magic and Consumer Products – which included the Love Potion and Floo powder.    In the book there were three or four products mentioned – the other  110 products had to be created by the staff. 
  • The graphics department sat down and brainstormed and came up with many ideas, including one of their favorites – Rubby O’Chicken. 
The train
  • The steam engine’s real name is the Olton Hall and it was built in April, 1937. 
  • It is designated "Hall" class steam locomotive no. 5972. 
  • Max Speed – chimney first: 65mph, tender first 45mph 
  • It can pull a maximum of 27,275 pounds behind it. 
  • The engine is 13 feet and 5/8 inches high and is 8 feet, 11 inches wide. 
  • The carriages date back to the 1950s. 
  • Number of carriages – four (although could be increased if needed) 
  • The 78-ton, four-carriage train was brought in from Carnforth, Cumbria 
  • In railway speak, the actual name of the engine in Harry Potter is the ‘Hogwarts Castle’. The ‘Hogwarts Express’ is the name of the service route that takes students from Platform 9¾ to the school. .   
The Great Hall:
  • The Great Hall was one of the first ever sets created for the Harry Potter films   
  • It is a vast space and could fit 22 London double-decker buses inside. 
  • It stands 120ft x 40ft and took over 100 tons of plaster to complete. 
  • The set took eighteen weeks to build by approximately 30 men. 
  • Secret paneling was built into the walls for fire exits for the cast and crew 
  • The tables and benches were all specifically made for the film and end to end would span 400 feet with a further 800 feet of benches. The tables were made of pine with an oak top and then distressed using chains and axes to appear old (although the children have helped with the aging process over the years.) Over the years, the children have added their own graffiti, which Stuart Craig has encouraged, as this would happen at all schools! 
  • There are two lengths of tables – 10 feet and 13 feet – that can be put together in various configurations. The Professors’ table is made up of 3 separate tables. 
  • Dumbledore’s chair was inspired by the throne in Westminster Abbey. 
  • The cutlery is made out of guided pewter with gold edge 
  • The windows are stained glass and the main window was hand-painted by the late graphic artist Robert Walker.  
  • One of the unique features of the Great Hall is the fact that the floor is actually made of real York stone. This was a very sensible suggestion made by production designer Stuart Craig as he realized that although initially more costly, it was the only way the set would stand the test of time and the trampling of thousands of small feet. 
  • The Hall seats 400 children. 
  • The fully operational torches on the walls, known as flambeaux, represent the four houses – Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Slytherin and Hufflepuff.  
  • Behind the Professor’s top table is the house points system. Each hour glass contains tens of thousands of Indian glass beads and rumor has it that when it was first made for Philosopher’s Stone, the production was responsible for a national shortage of beads! 
  • The carved doors which adorn the entrance are covered in real gold leaf, as are the rims of the pewter plates at each of the place settings. 
The Hospital
·         The Hospital Wing started its life in Chamber of Secrets as the fountain end of the girls’ bathroom
·         It was then revamped into the hospital wing and revamped again for Prisoner of Azkaban, which involved lifting the 45-ton set and rotating the set 90 degees
·         The backing seen through the windows is scenically painted with cutouts of other parts of the school
·         Looking down to the far end you will see a 2/3rd scale miniature of the Clock tower.
·         The inspiration for the hospital wing came from the Oxford School of Divinity
·         In the actual school layout, the corridor leading up to the clock tower is in fact a bridge to the clocktower.
·         It took 12 weeks to build
·         There are eight beds in the hospital in total and as many screens, with the matron’s table outside the door
  • The bedside cabinets were originally made for a WWII film called In Love & War
Underwater Tank Statistics:
  • It is 8 meters deep. 
  • 20m x 20m with a viewing chamber 
  • It took approximately three months and 50 construction workers to build 
  • It is the largest underwater filming tank in Europe 
  • It holds half a million gallons of water and can be filtered in three hours. 
  • The water is only 50% chlorinated, which allows actors to remove goggles during filming without the water irritating their eyes. 
Grimmauld Place
  • Grimmauld Place is the ancestral home of Sirius Black’s family.
  • All rooms in the set were built separately but on the same stage
  • The kitchen table was made specially and is 20 feet long and 2 feet, 9 inches wide.
  • All of the china in the kitchen was bought from markets, auctions and second-hand dealers. The Black Family crest, ‘The Honorable House of Black,’ was created by the graphics dept. and added to the crockery.
  • The bedroom is on the second floor of the house and is where Sirius’ mother would have kept her jewelry, hat boxes and collection of fans. The furniture in the bedroom (beds, wardrobe, and dressing table) was bought at auction.
  • There is a painting of the bedroom on the bedroom wall, with unmade beds
  • The black silk eiderdowns on the beds were made for the film.
  • The fabric used on the hall and stairwell walls was made from 350 meters of dark grey silk bought in from India and then screen-printed in gold. The same pattern was used on the curtains in the drawing room.
  • In the hallway and staircase, the elf heads in glass domes were made by the creature effects department.
  • In the hallway there is a giant troll’s foot umbrella stand. This is a mold of the troll’s foot from the first movie.
The Ministry of Magic:
  • This set took 22 weeks to build
  • The Ministry of Magic is set underneath the Ministry of Defense in London
  • 50 London buses could fit inside the Atrium
  • There are over 30,000 tiles in the Atrium made out of lacquered medium density fiberboard (MDF).
  • The whole set, including boxes and boxes of tiles, were stored at Leavesden in between films
  • There is a coffee stall called Ministry Munchies, located in the Atrium where wizards can sit at one of twelve (real) marble tables from France while tucking into refreshments such as coffee and bagels.
  • A team of props men regularly polished the wooden floor between takes as it would get so dirty and dusty. 
  • The gold fountain was made of fiberglass and sculpted by the sculpting department at the Studio.
  • 14 offices were built on scaffolding in the Atrium. Weight was a problem in the offices so most of what can be seen (including filing cabinets) is made out of photographic images stuck on cardboard boxes with token bits of real furniture inside. Only stuntmen were allowed in the offices, when it needed to look like people were busy working in them.
  • 42 brass oil lamps burning in the office windows were made especially for the film.
  • There are twelve lifts in total (two decks of six lifts) in a semi circle. The lifts go up, down, backwards and forwards.
  • All of the lifts also have control panels on the inside and a scrolling map. It’s an interpretation of the London Underground map, but all the paths are illuminated tubes, with little floats which run through the tubing and show your lift and the other lifts moving around within the complex of the Ministry of Magic. It has a mechanism behind it which controls it. 
The Room of Requirement:
  • In Order of the Phoenix, the walls are all mirrored and five chandeliers hang from the roof, which were made at the studio.  Because they had to shake, they couldn’t be made out of glass. Instead, they were made of a very high quality plastic.
  • The grates on the floor allowed for the room to be lit from under the ground, to help with mirror reflection.
  • All of the surfaces, including the windows, are mirrored for an ‘enigmatic quality’
  • The crew had to wear blue plastic protective overshoes all of the time on this set. Even the cast had to wear them in between takes.
  • 4000-plus pieces of furniture were bought to make up the massive piles of furniture in the Room of Requirement scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.
Shell Cottage:
  • 4,500 individual giant scallop shells were needed for the roof.
  • Hundreds of tufts of grass were individually dressed into the sand dunes at Fresh Water West in Wales.
  • Over 12 tons of water was used to weigh down the set.
  • The set was 90% completed at Leavesden studios and then cut up and transported to the Welsh location. A tractor had to be used to get the set along the beach and then it had to be carried up into the dunes by the crew.
  • Because of the very public location of Shell Cottage, it is probably the set most photographed by fans.
  • The design of the diamond window was based on a national trust property called ‘A La Ronde’ in Devon
Favorite Sets and Props
Emma Watson
  • Set: Ministry of Magic
  • Prop: The Time Turner
Rupert Grint 
  • Set: The full sized Wizards’ chess set in Philosopher’s Stone
  • Prop: The Deluminator
Daniel Radcliffe 
  • Set. Ministry of Magic
  • Prop: Harry’s Glasses.
Tom Felton
  • Sets. The Great Hall (for sentimental reasons) and The Courtyard (for dramatic reasons)
Oliver Phelps
  • Set: Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes
  • Prop: George’s wand
James Phelps.
  • Set: Great Hall during Yule Ball
  • Prop: Puking Pastilles model in Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes.
Matthew Lewis. 
  • Set: Chamber of Secrets
  • Prop: Gryffindor’s Sword
Evanna Lynch.  
  • Set: The Lovegood House
  • Prop: The Quibbler
Jason Isaacs. 
  • Set: Dumbledore’s Office
  • Prop: Lucius Malfoy’s cane
Helen McCrory.
  • Set: The courtyard at Hogwarts in its destroyed state in Deathly Hallows
  • Prop: Narcissa Malfoy’s wand
Producers and Director:
David Heyman. 
  • Set: Gryffindor Common Room
  • Prop: The Time Turner
David Barron. 
  • Set: Gryffindor Common Room
  • Prop: Daily Prophet from Deathly Hallows, specifically the one with a headline reading “Vampire goes to hospital after eating garlic bread!!”
David Yates. 
  • Set: Ministry of Magic’s Typing Pool
  • Prop: The Pensieve


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