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.382Attention-grabbing?
Daniel Radcliffe Says His Acting Was ‘One-Note’ And He Got ‘Complacent’ In The Film
It isn't an easy task playing the same character year after year, film after film, growing up on a screen. Daniel Radcliffe - Harry Potter himself - has gone on record numerous times over the years saying Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is his least favorite film in the series, and it all comes down to one thing: his own acting. During a 2014 interview with The Daily Mail, Radcliffe explained why he can't stand watching himself in Half-Blood Prince:
I'm just not very good in it. I hate it. My acting is very one-note and I can see I got complacent and what I was trying to do just didn't come across.357Attention-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.317Attention-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."220Attention-grabbing?