Behind-The-Scenes Stories From ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’

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Vote up the 'Half-Blood Prince' film stories that grab your full attention.

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. 

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

  • 1
    784 VOTES

    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.

    784 votes
  • 2
    500 VOTES

    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."

    500 votes
  • 3
    330 VOTES

    Actor Helen McCrory, Who Played Narcissa Malfoy, Was Originally Cast As Bellatrix In The Previous Film

    Helena Bonham Carter added to her resume of quirky characters by bringing Bellatrix Lestrange to life in the final four Harry Potter films, but she wasn't the first person cast for the role. The original actor slated to play Bellatrix was Helen McCrory, known for her performances in projects like The QueenPeaky Blinders, and Skyfall.

    But McCrory couldn't commit to filming Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix because she was pregnant. McCrory was eventually cast as Bellatrix's sister, Narcissa Malfoy - Draco Malfoy's mother - in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

    330 votes
  • 4
    396 VOTES

    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.

    396 votes
  • 5
    284 VOTES

    Daniel Radcliffe Apologized For Having ‘The Lips Of A Horse’ During His Kiss With Bonnie Wright

    During a 2009 cast interview with MovieWeb, the then-teenage cast of the film was asked about their dating lives, which led to a discussion of Daniel Radcliffe's on-screen kiss with Bonnie Wright, who plays Ginny Weasley. Cool as a cucumber, Radcliffe managed to go the self-deprecating route:

    I saw the film again a couple of nights ago at the premiere. My God, my lips are like the lips of a horse. They're like distending independently away from my face and trying to encompass hers, so I apologize, Bonnie.

    Wright was game for the playful interaction and responded with a solid, "I didn't notice. Don't worry." 

    284 votes
  • 6
    331 VOTES

    Daniel Radcliffe And Michael Gambon Grew Close Because For A Few Months It Was Just The Pair Filming

    Daniel Radcliffe and Michael Gambon formed a close bond while being essentially the only two actors on set for two to three months during the filming of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Radcliffe, during an interview with Rotten Tomatoes in 2009, spoke about their relationship and how humor kept them going:

    I think mine and Michael’s relationship is very much based on our senses of humor. We’ve got very similar senses of humor, and I think when you know that you’re both going to have to work together very closely doing very difficult stuff over the next few months you really need to very, very quickly find something that you can sort of bond over. 

    331 votes