I recently wrote about how much I loved the scene in Deathly Hallows when Harry and Hermione dance, specifically the use of the song “O Children.” I’ve been wondering how that came about. Was the dancing scene originally written into the script and someone just thought of that song? Was it a love of the song that inspired the scene? I had a look around on the internet and came across a couple of articles with David Yates, Dan Radcliffe and Emma Watson discussing the scene.
From an interview with David Yates on a site called SheKnows.com (writer Joel D. Amos):
David Yates: [Writer] Steve Kloves said to me – we were working away in the office – and he says to me, “This might sound really weird, but I could see them dancing,” and the minute he said that, I said, “My God, you’re right, that would be great. Let’s make that work. Let’s try that.” And it’s a scene that seems to divide people – some people love it, some people absolutely hate it. I love it, that’s why it’s in the movie. I find it very tender, very funny, very moving. For me, it’s about them becoming grown-ups, growing up in a very painful way. I got a wonderful choreographer named Anthony Van Laast, and I know it doesn’t look very choreographed, but actually, it is. It was all about the awkwardness of the moment, letting go a little bit. I like the notion that they find comfort in each other when everything seems to be falling apart. It seems like a very natural thing to do — trying to provide warmth for each other as friends. For me, it’s a very special moment in the film – but I know it drives some people nuts [laughs].
SheKnows: And using Nick Cave…
David Yates: I needed to find a piece of music that was melancholic. It had to fit the tone of that section of the movie, but also lift you up, in a weird way. It’s hard to find that tone in a song. I had a chap named Matt Biffa, who is a wonderful music guy, send me lots of tracks from everything. I listened to hundreds of these things and I was almost giving up hope, and I thought, “Oh, there’s nothing quite like what I can feel in my head.” And then I pressed play and Nick Cave started, and I was like, “This is it.” My biggest fear was playing it for Dan and Emma, cause I thought, “God, are they going to understand?” Because it was important to me that they understand the music as well, that they felt it. So I played it for them, and it was my most nervous moment, and I played it for them and I was like, “Oh God, are they going to like it?” and they loved it.
I love the part where he says “For me, it’s about them becoming grown-ups, growing up in a very painful way,” because, as I noted in my previous blog entry, that is what the song essentially is about for me as well and it just fit so perfectly! He was so right on with this choice. I’m still kind of shocked some executive didn’t scrunch up their nose at it and say “really? Nick Cave? that isn’t marketable at all!” It would be like using Tom Waits in a Pixar film or something. It would be amazing, but surprising that they got away with it.
Mugglenet also has additional (and great) comments from Yates, Dan and Emma about this scene from the film’s press junket:
On the flip side, a small scene that was added to the film not found in the book was one where Harry and Hermione share a dance in their tent after Ron leaves. Yates explained how he came upon this song by artist Nick Cave:
“I listened to so many pieces of music for that dance, hundreds in fact, because I needed a piece of music that was poignant and tender but oddly uplifting. And I came across Nick’s piece and I loved it immediately. It has that capacity to lift you up and break your heart at the same time. So we found Nick Cave and he said he’d be happy for us to use it.”
Dan Radcliffe too was a fan of the song:
“When the Nick Cave song came on, I said to my friend, “That. Is the coolest Harry Potter has ever been.” And then my friend said “Yeah, but that’s not.” when I started dancing in the scene. It was something David made up on the spot pretty much, and Emma’s quite a good dancer, so I had to sort of muddle through. But Harry shouldn’t be a good dancer. He should be kind of crap, which he was. But next year on Broadway I hope to see a large improvement in that.”
Emma Watson agreed Radcliffe’s dancing was less than great:
“As much as I love Dan, he’s not a naturally gifted dancer. I think he knows. But it was perfect for the scene. It was meant to look silly and spontaneous. I love to dance.
*photo credit to the Leaky Cauldron, where I found the promotional still in their galleries.