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“Forrest Gump”, “Wizard of Oz” Among Influences for “Harry Potter” Stars

By Hanako M. Ricks Several stars from the Harry Potter films have revealed the movies that inspired them to pursue careers in acting. FILMCLUB, which is an after-school initiative program in England, revealed the information as part of their “Film Journeys” campaign.

FILMCLUB is a free program that runs in state-funded schools with the purpose to give pupils and teachers the chance to explore the world of film through after school film clubs. With free weekly screenings, online reviewing, industry events and hands on support, FILMCLUB inspires, excites and opens up new avenues for learning.

So, what films inspired the stars of Harry Potter?

James Phelps (Fred Weasley) was inspired by a certain character who had a knack for showing up in the oddest moments of history: “I would say the film that made me most interested in films and acting in films when I was growing up was Forrest Gump. It has always been my favourite film for many reasons; there is no bad guy and the story went into real events in history. Plus Tom Hanks is a great actor, which makes it all so believable.”

Phelps’ onscreen sister, Bonnie Wright names a film that could very well have been a pick of Ginny Weasley herself: “The film that changed my life was A Little Princess, which I remember watching when I was a little girl and it made me really believe that inside every girl that there is a little princess.”

What did onscreen father/son Jason Isaacs and Tom Felton select? Isaacs reveals a beloved childhood classic as his inspiration, while Felton proves that his taste in movie could be similar that what his character Draco Malfoy might enjoy. Of his choice, Isaacs says, “A film that changed my life and has throughout my life is The Wizard of Oz. I first saw it when I was a little kid…on a giant screen and it was overwhelming – it was awash with colours and music and extraordinary looking people…One of the great things about the film is that it makes you think about films.” Felton had more mischievous tastes: “There are a few films that have definitely influenced me on my journey to becoming an actor. I remember as a kid loving Robin Hood and all the James Bond movies were a big inspiration to me as a child. Those were some of the films that I thought, “That would be a very cool job to do”. So, I’m very lucky enough to be here.”

Other films mentioned as inspirations were: All About Eve (Imelda Stanton, who plays Delores Umbridge); Bugsy Malone (Jessica Hynes, who voiced Mafalda Hopkirk in Order of the Phoenix); Whistle Down the Wind, Dougal and The Blue Cat and the original Willy Wonka (Toby Jones, the voice of Dobby the House-Elf).

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