Mischief was managed at Perthnova when James and Oliver Phelps, a.k.a. the iconic Weasley twins, arrived for a magical weekend and invited Supa-Fans into the world of Harry Potter and beyond via an unforgettable panel.
THE EARLY DAYS
“We went for the first audition, which was an open call, so basically anyone could go to try audition for the film,” Oliver explained. “It was held in a big hotel, and so we got there and realised that we were the only identical twins there that weren’t wearing the same clothing – which is a bit of a problem when you are trying to look identical.”
James recalled: “There was a meme which went around, that is actually of a real-life interview that we had years ago where the lady [who] interviewed us hadn’t done any research or actually watched any parts of the films, and the first thing she said to us, live on-air, was, ‘So when did you guys meet?’ To which we said, ‘At the audition, it was really strange.’ We literally just went with it.”
NORMAL NOT NORMAL
As many Potter fans know, the Phelps twins host their own podcast called Normal Not Normal, on which they have previously discussed the iconic Australian animal, the platypus.
“No!” the twins replied when asked if they had finally seen one whilst in the country.
Though they had not seen the one animal they wanted to encounter, James went on to talk about the other amazing things he had seen. “I saw a quokka. What is cool about Supanova events, is that we get a weekend to meet all you guys, and then we have a week or so to go explore parts of Australia where we are. So we got into W.A. on Wednesday, and truth be told we went straight away and played golf. There were kangaroos on the course, it was absolutely amazing.
“But Thursday was Rottnest, and I got a bike and I was riding like 45km but the rain came in and it came in hard. I got soaking wet, but I had such a beautiful time. I saw quokkas, dolphins riding the waves, a submarine appeared. It was crazy. I would love to come back when it’s sunny.”
“We grew up with – well, Julie Walters was always one of our favourite actors,” James replied when asked about who his favourite actor is. “So when we found out she was cast as our Mum, it was incredible. We were so excited. The first time we met her was when we were filming at Kings Cross Station. Instead of getting everyone to and from the hotel right in the middle of town, they actually had two trains on either side of the platform. One for the green room, and two to stop people taking photos of when we were filming. So, there was Oliver, myself and Rupert Grint in this carriage, and all of a sudden down this train you just here, ‘Where are my boys!?’ And that was the first time we met Julie and she was absolutely awesome right from start to end.”
“One prank, which our Dad taught us, years before – it was a pretty okay one to do,” James said. “Every TV in every trailer was the same. So I learnt that the remote control worked on every TV. So we went to – I think it was Rupert’s trailer – and we made it so he believed when he stood up and moved towards it the volume would change. Or when he made some kind of sound or rhythm, the channel would change. And we got this going for like 30 minutes. Eventually we had to tell him. But did you know you can actually get an app now that goes onto any TV that is on the same Wi-Fi channel. So, when I was in the lounge in the airport, it turns out you can do that on that one as well.”
When asked about how they felt about the Harry Potter finale, both James and Oliver had different reactions. “Spoiler alert!” Oliver shouted as he began to reveal how he felt. “I remember reading the seventh book, and I remember thinking, ‘Oh, George loses his ear that is horrible! My gosh. Oh no!’ I felt quite hurt by it. I kept reading and I was like, ‘Oh… could have been worse!’”
However, James had a slightly different reaction. “Yeah. I was travelling to Japan, the book was out when I was there. So I got the book and I turned my phone off until I had finished reading it, because I didn’t want anyone to give me spoilers or anything like that. And I was travelling on the bullet train in Japan, and I was reading the chapter, and the ticket inspector is coming down the train. So I am reading it and reading it. And then I am in shocked about what’s happened. And then I was in shock about how attached I had become to the character. Because I didn’t realise it at until that moment. So then I am in shock about being in shock and I am just staring at this book, while this ticket inspector is going, ‘Ticket! Ticket! Ticket!’ and I literally said ‘Excuse me, I have just died. Give me a minute.’ So that exact moment, I still remember it for a number of reasons. But that was the first time I realised how attached I had become to the character.”
To many fans, seeing their favorite actors return to the Harry Potter world would be more than a dream-come-true. And as for James and Oliver, the feelings are quite mutual. James noted: “Just being back on the reunion, when we were on the stage and just being able to film on different sound stages and stuff just brought back so many memories of being there, you know. Yes, definitely yes.”
And of course, the twins announced which Hogwarts House they would really be in.
“So we did the Pottermore sorting,” James began to say to the Perth audience. “Oliver came out as a Gryffindor,” to which Oliver cheered, “Yes! Yes! It was really good, I already had the scarf and the tie.”
“And I,” continued James, “came out as a Hufflepuff. Which I think we will all agree is the best house.”
Lead Image: James and Oliver Phelps at Supanova 2022 – Sydney by James Presneill (Fotomerchant)