HOLLYWOOD — The wait is over, and "Phoenix" is finally rising.
To help kill time as you wait in those epically long lines to see "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" (see "Harry Potter's First Date Flops, Quidditch Ditched: What 'Phoenix' Flick Leaves Out"), be sure to print out this chat with co-stars Daniel Radcliffe (see "Daniel Radcliffe Dishes On Harry Potter's First Kiss, 'Deathly Hallows' Theories"), Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, as well as first-time "Potter" director David Yates and producers David Barron and David Heyman.
They gave MTV News their thoughts about growing up alongside the iconic characters, casting plans for "Half-Blood Prince" and waiting for "The Deathly Hallows" book along with everybody else.
MTV: Emma, which of Hermione's personality traits mean the most to you?
Emma Watson: Oh gosh! I just love who she is. She's not scared to be herself, she's really clever, she's a feminist, she stands up for herself and she's very loyal with a really kind heart. She's very sensitive, she understands people and she's kind of funny without meaning to be. She's also feisty, and she's very courageous. I couldn't ask for anyone better to play.
MTV: As you guys have gotten to know your characters better, would you say that your performances have improved with each movie?
Daniel Radcliffe: Yes, one of the main differences [in "Phoenix"] is the performances. We've all taken a big step up in this, and I think people will hopefully really respond to that.
MTV: Rupert, you recently purchased an ice cream van as your first car. What other kinds of things have you splurged on with all your newfound money?
Rupert Grint: Usually I'm quite a bit sensible with my spending. But I am into cars, and obviously that van is really good fun.
MTV: David Heyman, you've produced all the "Potter" movies and watched these kids grow up. What's the craziest thing you've seen as the actors have interacted with their fans?
David Heyman: Well, there was one time in Paris when a young boy of 12 asked Emma for a kiss. She gave him a little peck on the cheek, and he started bursting into tears and had to be carried away. That was pretty amazing.
MTV: Would you say the British or American fans are more hard-core?
Heyman: I think both are pretty hard-core. What's happened is the kids are now at an age when they've graduated from being kids to being young adults. And now [Daniel, Emma and Rupert] have become a bit of sex symbols as well.
MTV: David Yates, this is your first "Potter" movie, after we've seen other series directors Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuarón and Mike Newell. And you're directing "The Half-Blood Prince" as well, correct?
David Yates: Yes.
MTV: So at this point, would you also do the seventh book and just take the series home?
Yates: You know what, if I'm still standing in about a year's time. Because these movies are like juggernauts. It's like running a marathon — you need strong legs and a big heart. But I would love to finish it off because I feel there's still more business to be done.
MTV: There are several interesting characters due to join the franchise for "Half-Blood." Which will be the hardest to cast?
David Barron: Slughorn, who's the principal new character. Each of these stories has this new central character, and Professor Slughorn is that character for [book six]. We have someone in mind, we're talking to him at the moment, but I won't dish out the name until we finish talking.
MTV: But he's a fairly big name that we'd all know?
Yates: You'll love it. That's all we'll say.
MTV: What kind of qualities will this actor's Slughorn have?
Yates: Slughorn is very inspirational, but he's a bit of a snob. In the book he's physically very large. Whether we find someone who has all the other qualities that exactly portray the physicality that Jo [author J.K. Rowling] wrote remains to be seen.
Heyman: The young Voldemort [will also be hard to cast]. Tom Riddle is always very challenging, along with Slughorn. But you know, we've had great luck so far, and Britain has the most incredible crop of actors of all ages. I know we'll find someone great.
MTV: OK, be honest with us: Do any of you know how "Deathly Hallows" will end?
Barron: No! We haven't read the book either. We're desperate to get our hands on it just as much as everybody else is.
Heyman: There are so many theories, but nobody knows what's going to happen in the end. I love that. I don't want to [guess], I just want to read it.
MTV: So are you going to be at a bookstore to snatch it up at 12:01 a.m. and then go home and read the whole thing?
Yates: You bet! I will be there with everyone else.
MTV: So let me get this straight: You're producing this multimillion-dollar franchise, and you don't even know how your story is going to end.
Barron: It's incredible! That's why the enthusiasm for the books has stayed so constant — because everybody wants to know. There is no chance of leaking any information because we don't know it. Jo is very smart — sometimes when she reads our scripts she goes, "Oh, I wouldn't do that," or, "You might want to do this," something that gives us absolutely the minimum amount of information required to make sure we don't put a spoiler in the works for future episodes. But other than that we're just as much in the dark as everybody else.
MTV: Daniel, in your opinion what's kept these movies going strong, so long after most franchises fizzle out?
Radcliffe: They're brilliant stories, and they're told well — and that's what we do with the films. The storytelling, in terms of the books, is all J.K. Rowling. But [with the movies], it's the directors who have a big part in how we tell the story, and they've all done remarkable jobs.
Watson: I just really love this movie — it's really well-directed. ["Phoenix"] is darker, it's more intense, more complex and more real. It feels really genuine. I think it's the best performances we've given so far, and it's my favorite of all five of the movies. Before, "Azkaban" was my favorite, but now this is it.
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