Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was unsurprisingly a smash hit when it came to theaters in 2009, but some of the stories from behind the scenes of the production are just as interesting as the tale being told on the big screen. For the sixth film in the Harry Potter film series, most of the actors and crew members had been around the set for a long time, but new challenges, on and off the set, kept them on their toes.
In a film with an equal amount of dark material and witty comebacks, the actors, directors, and other crew members had plenty of opportunities for behind-the-scenes drama, and in some cases - like the Harry-Ginny kissing scene - comedy as well.
Maggie Smith Underwent Breast Cancer Treatment During Filming
British actor Maggie Smith discovered she had breast cancer during the mid-2000s, but the disease didn't stop her from working. In fact, Smith was filming her role as Professor McGonagall in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince while undergoing chemotherapy.
During a 2009 interview, the actor recalled how difficult it was to work on the project while going through such an ordeal: "I was hairless. I had no problem getting the wig on. I was like a boiled egg." Smith also said chemotherapy made her feel "horribly sick. I was holding on to railings, thinking, 'I can't do this.'"
Smith beat the cancer and has been acting in various projects ever since.42121Attention-grabbing?
Alan Rickman Wrote A Note, Found After His Passing, In Which He Voiced Frustration About David Yates’s Approach To Snape In 'HBP'
After Alan Rickman passed from pancreatic cancer in 2016, a collection of his personal letters was auctioned off in 2018 for charity. Two letters suggested he wasn't happy about Snape's treatment in the film series, at least up through Half-Blood Prince.
Film producer David Heyman wrote a letter to Rickman thanking him for making Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets a success: "I know, at times, you are frustrated but please know that you are an integral part of the films. And you are brilliant."
In another note, titled "Inside Snape's Head," written during the filming of Half-Blood Prince, Rickman said, "It’s as if [director] David Yates has decided that this is not important in the scheme of things; i.e., teen audience appeal."2685Attention-grabbing?
Steve Kloves Argued With David Yates About Cutting Most Of Dumbledore’s Pensieve Memories Of Voldemort
Fans of J.K. Rowling's books, and in particular Voldemort's detailed backstory in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, might be unhappy to hear that most of the original Pensieve memory scenes written by screenwriter Steve Kloves were deemed unnecessary by director David Yates.
During a 2009 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Kloves said he and Yates went back and forth about the Pensieve scenes:
In my original draft, I had every single memory but one, I believe. I even dramatized a couple of things that weren’t in the book in terms of Voldemort, like the death of Tom’s parents, things like that.20417Attention-grabbing?
Emma Watson Initially Said She Wasn’t Sure She Would Return To Play Hermione In The Film
After filming five Harry Potter movies, Emma Watson wasn't sure she wanted to be on screen as Hermione Granger anymore. During a 2006 interview, Watson was asked about returning to film the final movies after Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Her response didn't please the fandom: "I don't know yet. Every film is such a huge production, and it's a long time."
Of course, she eventually agreed to finish the series, avoiding any "We want Watson" fan protests.21421Attention-grabbing?