"Harry Potter" actors star at new U.S. theme park

Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:12pm EDT
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By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - Through all the tears shed when filming wrapped on the final Harry Potter movie, no one likely noticed the sudden disappearance of one small prop: the house number on Harry's childhood home at 4 Privet Drive.

"It was kinda hanging off," Rupert Grint, the actor who played Harry's best friend Ron Weasley, told Reuters on Wednesday night about snagging a souvenir. "It's at my house. I don't know what I'm going to do with it. I might put it on my door."

Grint and other cast members, including Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry, and Tom Felton, who played Draco Malfoy, walked a red carpet and paused for interviews at a VIP event at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the new theme park celebrating its grand opening on Friday at the Universal Orlando resort in Florida.

The park recreates the mythical Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from J.K. Rowling's phenomenally popular novels about a boy wizard. The actors who starred in the movie version were filmed and then projected to create a presence on some of the rides, giving the impression the characters are there with park visitors.

The actors described the Wizarding World as a more life-like experience than the collection of movie sets used in the film production because the attraction provides a seamless immersion into Harry's world.

"There's never a moment here where the illusion dissipates," Radcliffe said.

He also commented on what it feels like to have a major attraction built around your character.

"I've now 'made it' officially. This is kind of the pinnacle. It doesn't get better than this," Radcliffe said.   Continued...

<p>Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, part of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, an expansive new environment at Universal Orlando Resort that will bring the world of Harry Potter to life in seen in this undated handout photo. REUTERS/Universal Orlando/Handout</p>