James and Oliver Phelps, known for bringing twins Fred and George Weasley to the big screen in the Harry Potter films, are currently in Sydney for the launch of Harry Potter: The Exhibitionat the Powerhouse Museum. Last week they attended the media preview and opening night gala, but their time Down Under isn’t completely filled with Harry Potter commitments. Tomorrow they’ll go skydiving for a great cause, to raise money for cancer research, and we found out it’s not the first time they’ve jumped out of a plane. We chatted to the brothers this morning to talk Harry Potter memories, Diving for Harry and their Sydney highlight so far.
What’s it like for you to see all the Harry Potter props away from the movie set? James: It’s like a walk down memory lane, because you walk by and you see props and costumes that you forgot about, but then you remember all the fun times you had whilst you were filming scenes with them.
What’s your favourite thing to see in the exhibition? James: I think it’s the Deathly Hallows, to be honest with you. It’s the first place in the world that they’ve been altogether as one. When we noticed that, that was really cool. Also because it’s not that they’re [presented] in a way that one thing is bigger than the other. If you aren’t paying attention you’d probably miss it.
I heard you tried to take things, like your wand, so did you end up getting anything? James: I tried to take something the other day but there was a security guard . . . [laughs] I actually managed to borrow some stuff from the Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes shop.
What are some of your favourite memories from making the movies? James: Just having such a great time is my best memory. We with a good group of friends anyway, so it was great to experience 10, 11 years of such great fun with some really cool friends.
Did you guys ever try to trick people on set like the Weasley twins? James: A couple of times.
Any success? James: Oh yeah, we’ve got a high success rate, actually [laughs].
Who do you keep in touch with most out of the cast? James: Quite a bit with my brother, I guess [laughs]. We still keep in touch with Tom Felton, Rupert Grint — we still keep up with them quite a lot.
What was your experience like, growing up as twins? Oliver: It was always fun; I mean it was all we ever knew, and we didn’t have any other siblings. It was good because when you go away on holiday, you’ve always got someone to hang around. It came in handy with that type of stuff. And when we were at school, finding out homework, it was easier to remember. The one thing I didn’t like was how some people would, say, write a Christmas card to both of us, and stupid things like that.
In future would you guys like to work together again, or keep things separate? Oliver: We’d like to keep things separate in the sense of doing individual projects, but I wouldn’t write off doing film roles together. We did think at one point that maybe we wouldn’t do another film together, but a lot of the older guys on Potter were like, ‘You wanna use that, it’s like a unique quality you guys have.’
I saw on Twitter you guys are writing a bit about Diving for Harry. Can you tell us about that? Oliver: Sure, basically, tomorrow morning at about 8 o’clock US time James and I are gonna go skydiving. There’s a young lad who sadly passed away — he lost his battle with a brain tumour early last year — called Harry Moseley. There’s photos of James and I wearing his bracelet. He was diagnosed when he was 7, and he started raising money for cancer research. He raised over £500,000 by just selling these bracelets. It’s such an inspiring story, and we thought, after he lost his battle, anything to keep his memory going and raise money for his charity, why not do it on the other side of the world while we’re in Australia, jump out of a plane. It’s gone really well so far — we’ve already raised over £1,000 in a day. The target’s £5,000, so hopefully we’ll get there soon.
Are you guys usually adrenalin junkies? Oliver: Occasionally. I have done skydiving once before, about three years ago, and James has done it twice already. It’s a really big rush, and the adrenalin you get when you hit the floor is just insane. If we can raise money for a really good cause on the way, then it’s even better.
What’s your favourite thing that you’ve seen or done in Sydney? Oliver: We did actually go to dinner at Cafe Sydney the other day. The view from there is just absolutely outstanding. It was nice to realise that we were actually there, that type of thing. So that would probably be my favourite part.
And what’s next for you guys? Oliver: We’re going back to America to film some stuff out there. That’s gonna be in the new year. Until Christmas it’s going to be pretty much laying low. We’ve also got a few things to do back home — they’re trying to build a huge, high-speed railway for £30 billion, and James and I have been outspoken against it, so we’ve got some press to do with that as well