Wotcher Harry Potter fans!
This is my special post for Harry Potter’s 30th birthday, as well as J.K. Rowling’s 45th birthday. 🙂 HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
I was lucky enough to get the chance to interview some of the stars of Harvey Putter; Alan O’Brien (Lord Moldymort/ Seriously Wack), Joe Scheibelhut(Rod Cheesley), Sunny Williams (Hernia Grunger), and Bryce Cone (Harvey Putter)! I also have an interview with the director, Tim Richardson, below!
What’s it like playing one of the main characters?
Alan: It was an absolute blast. When I went for the audition, I read for every character I possibly could because I knew the project would be a lot of fun. I would have been happy with the role of “Background Baffoon #3.” When the director asked me to play two characters, I was very excited. However, that excitement quickly faded as I came to realize that I was probably cast as Lord Moldymort because I was the only one whose head was already shaved, and I have a sneaking suspicion that I was cast as Seriously Wack because nobody else was willing to shove their head in a toilet bowl. =)
Joe: Playing one of the main characters is a great opportunity for several reasons. First off, I get the chance to work with so much of the rest of the cast. There were so many good people and talented actors in this film and it was such a pleasure working with all of them. You also get to see the movie really take shape as a leading character because you are on set for so much of it.
Bryce: From a logistical stand point, it was a lot of hard work. Since Harvey is in nearly every scene of the movie, that meant that I had to be there in costume for basically every shooting day. I was kind of envious when some of the other cast were able to just stop by in their street clothes and hang out.
The other actors that were there nearly as much as I were Joe (Rod Cheesely) and Sunny (Hernia Grunger). The thing I liked about this was I think the three of us bonded just as much as the characters themselves did. This is the first movie I’ve done where I’ve felt a strong connection to the cast and crew. After some of our shoots, we decided to just hang out together, even though it was often times wicked late. So playing the main character allowed me to meet lots of people and get to know them pretty well.
The other thing that was kind of neat was that everyone seemed to know me already. I’m a pretty shy person and don’t get up the gumption to converse with people. They would just come up to me and start conversations for the most part, so the initial contact (which usually is awkward if I instigate it) made getting to know people easier.
Sunny: There was a huge sense of camaraderie among those of us playing main characters, mostly because we were working together a lot, in sometimes unpleasant situations, and you always bond that way. A main character is on set almost every day, getting into make-up and running lines and learning blocking. So it was work, but I don’t remember it ever actually being “work,” if that makes sense. It was the most fun I’ve ever had!
How would you describe your character?
Alan: I would describe my characters as:
Lord Moldymort – an arrogant dufus.
Seriously Wack – well… pretty much just wack.
Joe: My character Rod Cheesely is a lot like Ron Weasley on crack. He is a much more exaggerated version of Ron with much higher energy. He is “poor witch trash” and as much as he loves his best chum Harvey he despises him at the same time. His favorite past time is eating and Rod is not afraid to eat anything. Rod will cower at the first sign of danger. He avoids confrontation like the plague (unless it gets between him and his food) and looks to Harvey and Hernia when disaster strikes.
Bryce: Harvey can be described in two ways. One is he is your typical teenager. He doesn’t like being told what to do, especially by authority figures. So what do teenagers do when they are told what to do? They rebel. He dresses in a punky/emo fashion, has tattoos and earrings, and mouths off to people when he doesn’t like what they’re saying.
The other part of Harvey is the self-important celebrity. He thinks everyone is there to serve him. He bosses around younger students and treats his peers with a bit of disdain (and not just the ones in Slyperrin). When things don’t go his way he usually brushes it off as everyone else being idiots. When the Wand-fu master shows Harvey up and teaches everyone better than he could himself, Harvey sulks a little since he realizes he might not be as great as he thinks.
Sunny: Hernia is basically the stick-in-the-mud, the rain on Harvey’s and Rod’s parade. She doesn’t really have a sense of humor and is mostly just bossy. She’s so much smarter than both of them put together that she ends up frustrated and annoyed pretty often. But on the other hand, without her being neurotic, Harvey and Rod would get in SO much trouble! So I think she’s the straight one among a bunch of bananas, and she’s the reason they survive.
Which character do you think you’re most like?
Alan: I am certainly more like the characters in Harvey Putter than any character in Harry Potter. I enjoy the absurd and I try not to take myself too seriously. I can’t really say I’m like any one character though. I’m more of an amalgam of several… some days I’m like Lord Moldymort, other days I’m like Rod Cheesely.
Joe: I wouldn’t compare myself to any one character in this film as I feel I share several different character’s qualities. I would say that I have Rod’s sense of humor, Harvey’s sense of leadership, Hernia’s patience and like Prof Snake look @#$% * good in a dress! (*sorry Joe!)
Bryce: I’m probably most like Hernia Grunger, and it’s not just because of my lack of masculinity. It’s because when I’m doing work, I like to get things done. I don’t like farting around the issue and making it last for a long time. I just want to get it over with, because that then leaves more free time when I’m done. I’m also a little anal when it comes to having things organized. Most would think having your CDs and DVDs alphabetized like I do is a bit much, but I take it a step further. I have all of the discs themselves facing upward so that when I open the case I see the name clearly without having to spin it around. IT just makes everything seem more tidy.
Sunny: Oh, boy, I don’t know that I’m like any of the Harvey Putter characters! I always consider myself most like Luna in the Harry Potter series, but Loopy Lunkhead, our version of her, is far more over the top than Luna. Still, I think I relate to her most, because we’re both kind of offbeat outcasts. Though I have Hernia’s organization skills and Gini’s flirting ability, ha!
You’ve been working on this film for a pretty long time, how do you think it’s effected your life?
Alan: The amount of time that I have been on set is merely a fraction of the man-hours spent working on this film so once my part was done, my life pretty much moved on as normal. The production and post-production teams have been living at Richardson Productions (or perhaps have been chained to their desks) cranking out footage and special effects for the better part of two years, surviving on a diet of Doritos and Twinkies. They are the ones whose lives have been the most affected. They are either truly dedicated or certifiably insane!
Joe: This film has effected my life a couple of different ways. It gave me a chance to get out of my day-to-day routine and get involved with an old passion, acting, which I forgot how much I loved. And it put me in touch with so many good people who I either reconnected with or made new friendships altogether. All in all it was a very positive experience and a project that I will never forget!
Bryce: During principal photography, it effected my life a lot. Even though we shot in the summer when school was already out, I still liked to keep a schedule that was pretty similar to my teaching schedule. I usually go to bed around 10:30 or 11:00, but while shooting Harvey Putter that wasn’t possible. Most of our shooting days would end close to midnight and on multiple occasions they went longer.
I remember one day we decided to take bets on when we would wrap for the day. It was a very jam-packed day, so we knew it was going to be a real late one. I picked a time of 2:00am. So needless to say I was doing everything in my power to end before that. At around 1:30am, we began our final set of shots. The shots involved Hernia and Rod using Silly Putty-juice potion to make themselves look like Harvey. We were going to have all three Harvey’s in the same shot, so that meant locking down the camera and me performing at three separate times in their costumes. I usually take forever to change clothes, but I was rushing in and out of those costumes like crazy. I kept asking for updates on time, and believe it or not, we ended exactly at 2:00am…well, that was according to my watch. Michael, the producer says that it was actually 2:02am when we ended, but I went with mine because it better suited me at the time.
After principal photography, not much really happened for the next two years. I would occasionally do some voice overs, and we added a scene that had to be shot, but that was about it.
I’m waiting for the premiere to see what comes next. I’ve met lots of people because I’ve performed some Wizard Rock with “The Quaffle Kids” and “Neville’s Diary.” I even sat in once with “Gred & Forge” as well as my good friends, “The Chocolate Frogs.” But it will be neat to see how many more people I get to meet because of Harvey Putter. I think it will reach a wider audience since even non-die hard Potter-fans can enjoy the movie.
Sunny: The film itself hasn’t really affected my life at all. Sometimes, people hear about it and friend me on Facebook, or people are interested and want to hear more. But the real thing that changed my life was the friends that I made while filming and the fun that we had. It was the best summer of my life, and though we all live in lots of different places now, I will always have a bond with those people and will never forget the process.
Now, here is my interview with the director, Tim Richardson! 😀
What is your favourite part about working on Harvey Putter?
Since I’m very involved in every aspect of creating the film from writing to art to special effects and editing, each has it’s own unique rewards and challenges. But of all of them, I find what I probably enjoy most is making the characters come to life through costume designs and shopping for clothes and fabrics and wigs and making up the actor to look like what I envision. I’ve always enjoyed dressing up and doing characters, but I do it less so these days, and prefer to mold others into interesting characters. It’s the most relaxing and fun part of the filmmaking process. But I enjoy overseeing all the art and was very pleased with how our sets turned out after all our hard work.
Which scene are you most excited to see (if you can tell us)?
Well, I’ve seen every scene about a thousand times! The squidditch game was our most challenging scene to create since it was shot on a blue screen and has many elements to it so I enjoyed seeing that come together little by little. I’m hoping the fans enjoy the sets and characters and all the attention to detail we put into the whole thing, the script is chock full of stuff only the fans will appreciate.
Could you describe what an average day in filming is like?
Fortunately for this movie we were able to do most of the filming in one big warehouse that was lent to use by Better World Books so it was quite handy for keeping us sheltered and to control the lighting and sets. We did shoot on location a few times which required us to bring all our gear with us, though it was pleasant to get out of the hot warehouse. We shot one or two days a week mainly on weekends over a two-month period. We’d have a call for actors and crew usually by 8 am and would try to start filming by 10 to get a few hours in before lunch. We usually did all the scenes for a particular set on the same day, like build Mumblemore’s office and shoot those three or four scenes, then switch it around for the next shoot. We had 16 different walls and a variety of furniture we moved around to create the different rooms and hallways. A shooting day usually ended by midnight, but often when later, especially for several scenes that required it to be dark out. At the warehouse we had an area where the actors and crew could relax and nap and they often liked to play songs during breaks. Bryce would bring out his guitar and Joe has some mouth harps, so it helped them pass the time during long days.
I have to ask, are you excited about the Deathly Hallows movie?
I am, but I must admit it’s a bit over shadowed in my mind since I’m focused on marketing our completed film. I definitely can’t wait to see it, I’m a huge fan, but the business man in me is looking at how to time certain things, like doing screenings of our film at theatres just before each Deathly Hallows part to tie into the Harry Potter excitement. But I’m glad our film’s done at this point as far as production so I can sit back and enjoy Deathly Hallows, though it will probably give me ideas that I wish we could have used in our film to parody!
Thanks to all of you for taking the time to do this, especially right when you were getting ready for the Harvey Putter premiere. 😀
Thanks for visiting this website Harry Potter fans!