James and , -as you know- were in Sydney last week to promote the Harry Potter exhibition
at the Powerhouse Museum. Kate Waterhouse caught up with the 25-year-old English lads to
chat about being a part of a global pop-culture phenomenon
Is it true you're not natural redheads?
Oliver (O): No [we're not], we dyed our hair and eyebrows for 10 years for the films. Some people get quite upset when they realise we're not. They say, ''I feel like I've been lied to my whole childhood.''
How did you feel about going ginger?
James (J): I didn't think anything of it until I walked into school one day with red hair and everyone looked at me differently. It was weird. People do treat you differently; they're almost a bit [ruder]. It's odd.
Did you ever dream you'd become international stars?
J: No, I still don't, to be honest. I get it now that when people come ask for an autograph or a photograph at home that's kind of become the norm. But when we were walking next to the Opera House, on the other side of the world, and people have a photo with us, that's still quite surreal to me.
How did you get your Harry Potter roles?
O: We heard there was an open audition in the newspapers in Britain and we were like, ''Yeah, we'll go for it, it may get us a day off school,'' which isn't a bad thing when you're 14. There were thousands of guys going for the audition and all the twins were dressed the same, which we never do, so we quickly ran over to the department store and grabbed two matching things off the hanger and that was our look for the rest of the audition process. It was about a six-week process and we got the part in the end.
Did it make you the coolest kids at school?
J: No, no one seemed to be that bothered by the hype; our mates don't realise how big it is because none of our friends are in the industry. Film and TV was nothing I'd ever dreamt of going into. In fact, about two months before we had the audition, there were auditions for the school play and the head drama teacher, in the first round of auditions, was like, ''Nah, you're never going to go anywhere in acting, don't bother,'' so it was great walking back in there on the first day of the next term and saying, 'I got a contract with …''
O: The drama department was just really unhelpful towards the whole acting thing, to a point where the head drama teacher said, ''Your priorities need to shift if you're going to continue with acting so can't you film Harry Potter on a Saturday?'' He thought we should have been at school doing his class rather than making these films that were watched worldwide.
What's next for you both?
O: Yeah, there was [something we went for], actually. I won't say the film but there was a film that had twins in it; we read for it and it looked rosy but Harry Potter was filming at the same time so we missed out. But we have different things coming up; we've got two individual projects in the new year and then another film together in May in the States and I'm also going to do a little documentary program as well, which will be quite cool.
Have the Potter films pigeonholed you in any way?
O: Maybe a little bit as, like, the jokers.
J: In one way it may have done but it's not bad … It's certainly put us in good stead for learning how to act.
THEY WENT TO Fat Noodle, The Star.
THEY ATE Salt and pepper tofu; fat pho noodles with beef broth and thinly sliced Angus sirloin; roasted duck egg noodle in chicken broth.
THEY DRANK Green tea.
JAMES WORE Pringle of Scotland top, Diesel jeans and adidas shoes.
OLIVER WORE Pretty Green T-shirt, Simpson jeans and adidas shoes.
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