The second of the Harry Potter film series, Chamber of Secrets follows the adventures of Potter and his pals in their second year at Hogwarts after the Heir of Salazar Slytherin opens the titular chamber, unleashing a monster that petrifies the school’s denizens.
It was received well both critically and commercially, making $879 million worldwide.
Here are a few things you might not know about the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
43. Stretched Out
Although the film was based on the second shortest of the books, it was the longest of the movies.
42. Back to Back
Filming on Chamber of Secrets started three days after Philosopher’s Stone finished. This makes the Chamber of Secrets the only one of the films to be produced and released within the same year (not including The Deathly Hallows, which was filmed all at once).
Yet they still look quite a bit younger here…
41. Extra Extra!
Bonnie Wright, who played Ginny, got to bring one of her best friends onto the set to be an extra. Her other friends got nothing.
40. Read All About It!
When Draco says, “I didn’t know you could read,” to Harry (who appeared like Goyle with Polyjuice potion), it was improvised because Tom Felton forgot his line.
39. Why Even Bother Having a Script?
Similarly, Lucius Malfoy’s line, “Let us hope Mr. Potter will always be around to save the day,” was improvised by Jason Isaac. Daniel Radcliffe’s response, “Don’t worry; I will be,” was also improvised. Apparently, nobody on set could remember their lines.
38. Nothing Lasts Forever
When asked whose body she would inhabit if she could drink Polyjuice potion in real life, Emma Watson said she could become Jennifer Aniston so she could see if Brad Pitt was really that good looking. Watson was still young and innocent and thought that Aniston and Pitt would last forever. Oh children.
37. Location, Location, Location
The filmmakers had to build an entire new row of houses as they lost access to the neighborhood that they originally used to depict the Dursley’s House on 4 Privet Drive.
36. Simon Did It
The drawings on the kitchen wall at 4 Privet Drive were made by local children.
35. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
During filming, Rupert Grint drew an “unpretty picture” of Alan Rickman who forced Grint to sign it, confiscated it, and says that he’s “very fond of it.”
34. Going Once, Going Twice
The Sword of Gryffindor was actually a real sword that was purchased at auction. The handle was redesigned by the prop department. No word on whether or not the real sword is also capable of destroying Horcruxes. Also no word on whether or not Horcruxes is the proper pluralization of Horcrux.
33. The King is Dead
In order to make Tom Marvolo Riddle’s name a proper anagram of “I Am Lord Voldemort” in foreign languages, translators had to change his name to make sense. In French, his name became “Tom Elvis Jedusor,” which became “Je suis Voldemort,” and is also evidence that Elvis is really and truly dead. Finally.
32. Dropping the Ball
Both Radcliffe and Grint’s voices broke during the filming of the movie and there were rumors that a voice double had to be used for some of Radcliffe’s lines towards the end of the shoot.
31. No Soup For You!
All the potions consumed on set were actually soup.
30. Tongue Twister
Parseltongue was a real language invented by the linguistics department of Cambridge University.
29. It’s a Classic
The Weasley’s car is a Ford Anglia and was the same color and model car that J.K. Rowling and her best friend from school used to ride around in when they were younger. The Ford Anglia features a slanted chrome grille, prominent “eye” headlamps, and a backward-slanted rear window that could remain clear in the rain. Flight, invisibility, and extra-dimensional loading capacity are all extras.
28. Auto Destruct
During filming of the scene with the Whomping Willow, the filmmakers destroyed fourteen Ford Anglias.
27. Why Can’t it be Butterflies?
Rupert Grint has severe arachnophobia and, in the scene where Ron and Harry are in Aragog’s hollow, Ron’s frightened look was not acting.
26. Let it Go
In the original script, Hermione was supposed to hug both Harry and Ron in the final scene. However, the then 11-year old Emma Watson was embarrassed about having to hug boys in front of the entire cast so director Chris Columbus changed it so she only had to hug Harry and then chicken out of hugging Ron. Even then, she broke the hug with Radcliffe too quickly and the film had to be “frozen” for a few seconds to make the hug seem longer than it was. Fans interpreted the reluctance to hug Ron as a sign of their relationship to come.
25. Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number
At age 37, Shirley Henderson, who played Moaning Myrtle, was the oldest actress to ever play a Hogwart’s student. To be fair, in the Chamber of Secrets, Myrtle was 63 years old.
24. Never Take the First Offer
Daniel Radcliffe was initially only offered £125,000 ($181,000) for this film. The actors’ union, Equity, stepped in and negotiated new terms that increased his salary to roughly two million pounds (three million dollars) which was… more.
23. Pet Cemetery
During production, Emma Watson’s pet hamster, Millie, died. The set department created a custom-made hamster coffin (not one of those off the shelf monstrosities) complete with velvet lining and the name “Millie” engraved on top. “I don’t think a hamster has ever had a better send-off,” Watson said.
22. 50% Off!
For the scene where Harry reveals he’s missing a sock, Daniel Radcliffe was required to shave his leg. Just the one leg.
21. His Middle Name is Mungo
Hugh Grant was originally cast as Gilderoy Lockhart but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. It’s a shame, because like Lockhart, Hugh Grant was also a five-time winner of Witch Weekly’s Most Charming Smile Award. Coincidentally, Hugh Grant’s middle name is Mungo, and after being hit by a backfiring Memory Charm that forever erased his past, Lockhart was sent to St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.
20. Salary Negotiations are Child’s Play
Alan Cumming was also offered the role of Lockhart, but after he found out how much Rupert Grint made in comparison, he turned it down as he would not agree to be paid less than “a 12-year old amateur.”
19. Bird Brain
The animatronic bird that portrays Fawkes the Phoenix was so lifelike that, despite the fact that Phoenixes are mythical creatures, Richard Harris (who played Dumbledore) thought it was a real living bird. Damn these robots who keep stealing jobs from real birds.
18. Playing Stick Ball
During the shoot, Dobby was played by a ball on a stick. Richard Harris was reasonably sure the ball on the stick was not a real house elf.
They should have had this dog play Dobby.
17. Dog Ears
Dobby’s ears were based on the ears of an art department dog named Max that used to sleep under the designers’ desks. It’s just like that old saying: “Let sleeping dogs lie… and then draw their ears.” Classic.
16. Ashes to Ashes
Richard Harris died a few weeks before the film’s release. Producer David Heyman went to visit Richard Harris in the hospital, and despite being weak from illness, he insisted that the role of Dumbledore not be recast. Sadly, he died, and they had to recast the role.
15. Respecting Harris’ Wishes
Sir Ian McKellen has said he could never have taken over the role of Professor Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films after the death of Richard Harris because he knew Harris disapproved of him as an actor.
Harris was replaced by Michael Gambon for the rest of the series.
14. Putin on the Ritz
Russian President Vladimir Putin was allegedly deeply disturbed and offended that Dobby the house elf was created in his image. Whether or not this is true, there is a very strong resemblance. Putin, if you’re reading this, please don’t hurt us. And, for the love of God, put your shirt back on.
13. Political Giant
In order to reprise his role as Hagrid for the second film, Robbie Coltrane had to turn down a part on The West Wing.
12. Egg Heads
Nurses were drafted into the production after some of the younger members of the cast got infested with lice.
Some of the music used during the Quidditch match was the same music used during the speeder chase in Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones. John Williams did the score for both films and, apparently, figured he could reuse some of his beats.
10. Goodbye Mr. Potter
Director Chris Columbus instructed cinematographer Roger Pratt to bring a darker look to the film, reflecting the darker tone of the story. This trend continued throughout the series with each film getting darker and increasingly desaturated. Three more films and Harry Potter would have looked like The Matrix.
9. Never Heard of Hairspray
Lucius Malfoy wasn’t originally supposed to have long hair but Jason Isaacs requested it in order to distinguish himself from his son Draco. To keep his hair from falling forward into his face, he had to keep his head tilted back which made him look even more snobby.
When Lucius Malfoy tries to curse Harry at the end, he starts by saying, “Avada…” which is the beginning of the Unforgiveable Curse “Avada Kedavra,” the killing curse. This would have made it appear as though Malfoy was dumb enough to murder a child in the middle of a school with no means of escape. Apparently, the only reason Jason Isaacs said that was because he was in the middle of reading book four and it was the only curse he could remember. “Your honor, I meant to pants him but I could only remember how to murder,” is not a strong defense.
About seventeen minutes into the film, as Hagrid is escorting Harry out of Knockturn Alley, hardcover editions of Harry Potter books can be scene on the shelves. It’s a book within a film based on that book. Trippy.
6. Office Space
Chris Columbus and production designer Stuart Craig both agreed that Dumbledore’s office should be the most elaborate office possible and with its massive stone columns, bookcases, curio cabinets, paintings on the wall, antique desk, throne-like chair, and giant telescope, it was the most expensive set to be built for the film. In fact, it was so expensive, that the producers did not want to give Columbus and Craig the money for it. Begging was involved. Possibly an Imperius curse. Either way, it worked.
5. Squawk-a-Doodle Dead
When Hagrid charges into Dumbledore’s office to defend Harry, he is carrying a dead rooster in his hands. This is in reference to a scene in the book that was cut from the movie where Hagrid finds all the roosters dead.
4. Potter of Gold
In the UK, the film became the first movie to achieve a million DVD sales in its first weekend.
3. Ruh Roh!
The trailer for the film played before the 2002 film Scooby-Doo, which was pretty much the only way they could convince anybody to go see Scooby-Doo.
2. Hooked on a Reeling
When filming the scene where Crabbe and Goyle eat the floating cupcakes, both Jamie Waylett and Josh Herdman cut their mouths on the hooks that secured the cupcakes to the fishing line from which they dangled. Waylett and Herdman would have been terrible fishes. But pretty good dinner.
The filmmakers didn’t know that the Chamber of Secrets would make a reappearance in future films and they had to rebuild the entire set after they had dismantled it after shooting. We hope they kept the blueprints.
For factaholics who want more Harry Potter facts, check out Harry Potter in Numbers:
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