Quint chats with Harry Potter's Sir Michael Gambon about Dumbledore, Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows!!!
Published at: July 11, 2009, 4:50 p.m. CST by quint
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. I didn’t get to go to the big New York press day for Potter, but I was lucky enough to score a very, very brief chat with Dumbledore himself, Sir Michael Gambon, via telephone.
Being a fan of the books I was extremely excited to have the opportunity to speak with Gambon for this particular movie. If you haven’t read HALF-BLOOD PRINCE or haven’t seen the film, I wouldn’t recommend reading the below chat, but if you have you know why interviewing Dumbledore for this movie had me eager to chat with Gambon about filling the robes.
So, yeah. It’s a short phoner, all of 6 minutes long, but we cover a few things including his involvement in THE DEATHLY HALLOWS.
One more warning: SPOILERS BELOW! SHIELD YOUR VIRGIN EYES!
If your eyes are sluts, then enjoy!
Michael Gambon: Hello, Eric.
Quint: Hello. How do you do, sir?
Michael Gambon: I’m fine. How are you?
Quint: Very well. I’m very hot at the moment. I’m in Texas and I wish I was in New York at the moment.
Michael Gambon: You’re in Texas, are you?
Michael Gambon: I see. It’s not so hot here.
Quint: I’ll be out in New York next week actually. I’m taking my mother to see Paul McCartney at Citi Field. But I just can’t wait to get out of the 106 degree heat.
Michael Gambon: I don’t know how you can stand that. Lots of air conditioning.
Quint: Very true. Well, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me. I really appreciate it.
Michael Gambon: No problem.
Quint: I haven’t gotten to see the movie yet, but I’m very familiar with the books. It’s one of my favorite books of the series, actually, and I think a lot of the reason I like the book so much is that it’s really Dumbledore-centric.
Michael Gambon: Yeah, it is. It’s Dumbledore’s final wind-up, isn’t it? He’s not well. He’s losing his stature, he’s getting sick, he’s being infected by all these horcruxes and Harry sort of takes over, becomes his father in a way. He holds him up.
Quint: Definitely. It’s a role-reversal.
Michael Gambon: Yes.
Quint: I also like, in the book at least, we get to see Dumbledore’s process. In previous stories he disappears and what he does is mysterious.
Michael Gambon: That’s right. You see more of a depth to Dumbledore, more of his thought patterns. I like the bit where I get dressed up as the young Dumbledore. I really loved that. I wear a suit and a hat. Apparently I looked reasonably young.
Quint: Were you looking forward to approaching this film more than the others because of…
Michael Gambon: Well, I get more to do in it, so I liked it from that point of view. The first few months we were shooting was just me and Dan (Radcliffe) doing all those interior scenes together; the cave scenes, the lake scenes. So, we were stuck there for months just the two of us at this great, big film studio.
Quint: That must have been a great change of pace for a series that is usually juggling so many characters.
Michael Gambon: That’s right. That’s right, yeah. I finished a year ago, so it’s a long time ago. I’ve forgotten a lot what happens in it, but I liked it very much.
Quint: I would say the biggest emotional kick in the entire series rests on your shoulders in this film.
Michael Gambon: When I die.
Quint: Yeah, but not just that. The lead up to it as well, with Malfoy.
Michael Gambon: That’s right, that’s right. But you haven’t seen that bit yet, right?
Quint: No, I’ve only read it.
Michael Gambon: It’s a good section, that.
Quint: How did you approach that scene in particular… not just the death scene, but the entire lead up?
Michael Gambon: He knows the end is near, doesn’t he? He knows what’s going on, he knows it has to happen. He lives with it. He’s a fatalist. Tom (Felton) can’t do it. He backs out. He can’t cope with it. And then it’s left to (Alan) Rickman, who enjoyed killing Dumbledore.
Quint: (laughs) I can imagine!
Michael Gambon: It’s good, rich stuff.
Quint: That one scene says so much about so many of the characters, it’s the linchpin of the series to me. We see Malfoy’s character and after the events of the 7th book play out and we see Snape’s backstory…
Michael Gambon: Yes. Good. I’ve never read one of the books. I just read the scripts. That’s all we’ve got, really, isn’t it? They’ve been discussing it here, downstairs, how you don’t really need to read the book if you’re in the film because so much of the story is cut, so it’s best just to stick to Steve Kloves’ words. There’s a lot of good subtext in it.
Quint: Have you read the script for the 7th movie?
Michael Gambon: No, I haven’t had it yet because I’m not wanted until next February. They’re shooting my bit after Christmas.
Quint: But you know how you play in the next movie, yeah?
Michael Gambon: I’m a ghost, is that right?
Quint: You’re also a painting, I think.
Michael Gambon: There’s a long scene as a ghost with Harry, where I appear to him.
Quint: It could have been very easy for JK Rowling to cop-out, but it would have taken everything away from your moment in this story if Dumbledore had just popped up fine and dandy in the next film. I’m glad she found a way to bring Dumbledore back into the story without taking anything away from his sacrifice.
Michael Gambon: Yeah, sure, sure. I’m glad as well because I need the money! (laughs)
Quint: What’s next for you?
Michael Gambon: I’m doing another play in London. I always do a play every year. I’m doing a new Alan Bennett play at the National Theater.
Quint: What’s it called?
Michael Gambon: The Habit of Art.
Quint: What’s it about?
Michael Gambon: Oh, it’s a complex thing. It’s only for grown-ups, it’s a filthy, dirty play. (laughs)
Quint: Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to me.
Michael Gambon: It’s a pleasure, it’s a pleasure. Bye-bye.
I was able to stretch it by 1 minute, which isn’t bad when you’re only given 5 minutes. I think we covered a lot of territory in that short amount of time, but I would have loved to delved into his non-Potter work, especially the talk of him being considered for George Lazenby’s replacement as James Bond. But maybe another time.
I finally see the film Monday (although it’s a shitty theater here in Austin… I should know, I used to work there back in the day) and after hearing all my colleagues raving about it I’m really damn excited. Look for my review next week!
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