Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death has more in common with its predecessor, the 2012 chiller Woman in Black, than just a title and source material.
The first film starred Daniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter himself, in the lead role. The spooky new movie about the strange goings-on at a haunted house during World War II co-stars Potter alum Helen McCrory and Adrian Rawlins.
McCrory, who plays Angel of Death’s uptight schoolmarm, was pregnant when Potter producers offered her the role of pure-blood witch Bellatrix Lestrange in Order of the Phoenix. She passed and the part went to Helena Bonham Carter but two years later she jumped at the chance to play Narcissa, Bellatrix’s sister and the mother of Draco Malfoy, in The Half-Blood Prince.
Co-star Rawlins is the shadowy Dr. Rhodes in Angel of Death, but is best known as the father of Harry in seven Potter movies. Years before playing James Potter the actor starred in the original Woman in Black TV adaptation as Arthur, the role Radcliffe played in the recent remake.
Over the ten years they were in production it seems like the Potter films employed almost all of the British Actors’ Equity Association. Everyone from Ralph Fiennes, Richard Harris and Gary Oldman to Maggie Smith, Imelda Staunton and Emma Thompson appeared in the series. When Bill Nighy was cast in The Deathly Hallows he said. “I am no longer the only English actor not to be in Harry Potter and I am very pleased.”
Less well known than the British superstars that peppered the Potter cast are some of the supporting players, many of which have gone on to breakout success without Harry.
Tom Felton will likely always be associated with cowardly bully Draco Malfoy, so it’s not surprising he played the spineless bad guy utters the famous “damn dirty ape” line,” in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Before he starred opposite Rachel McAdams in the time travel romance About Time Domhnall Gleeson was Curse-Breaker Bill Weasley in The Deathly Hallows. The son of actor Brendan Gleeson is on his way to household name status with a role as an Imperial officer who defects to the Republic in J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The biggest breakout Potter alum has to be Robert Pattinson. He’s best known as sparkling vampire Edward Cullen in the Twilight franchise but he first appeared as Cedric Diggory in The Goblet of Fire. “The day before [the movie came out] I was just sitting in Leicester Square,” he said, “happily being ignored by everyone. Then suddenly strangers are screaming your name. Amazing.”
The release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies brings Peter Jackson’s trilogy to a close, and marks the end of a life immersed in Middle Earth for the actors. For several of the cast it was a years-long journey, and like any trip it’s nice to pick up a souvenir as a keepsake.
According to director Peter Jackson the actor who played the exiled dwarf king Thorin stole “the most boring thing in the world to steal,” from the set of the penultimate film, The Desolation of Smaug, socks.
“I did steal every single pair of costume socks,” said Richard Armitage, “because we were given a brand new pair every day.”
As production on The Battle of the Five Armies wrapped Armitage was gifted with some more interesting props including the deadly goblin cleaver Orcrist, which he keeps in an umbrella stand, “cause I want to be able to pick it up.”
Martin Freeman, who plays head Hobbit Bilbo Baggins, says he doesn’t miss making the films—“I’m really proud to have done it,” he says, “and I’m really glad to have done it, but I rarely miss jobs.”—but kept his sword and prosthetic ears as mementos.
Unlike Freeman, Sir Ian McKellen does get sentimental when he reflects on making the movies because, “a lot of the audience seeing The Hobbit part three wouldn’t have been born when we started filming it.” After spending thirteen years playing wise wizard Gandalf the Grey he took two priceless props from the set, “Gandalf’s staff, which I keep with umbrellas and walking sticks, and Gandalf’s hat, which I keep in the basement.”
Many actors have pilfered props from their movies. Keira Knightley walked off with Elizabeth Bennet’s striped socks from Pride & Prejudice. Elijah Wood has the One Ring from Lord of the Rings and Daniel Radcliffe liberated two pairs of Harry Potter’s famous round glasses, even though there was a strict policy about taking props from the set.
‘The ones from the first film are absolutely tiny now,” he says, “but they are very sweet.”
Kristen Stewart kept the engagement ring Edward Cullen gave her at the end of Twilight: Eclipse and Zachary Quinto took the ears he wore as Spock in Star Trek: Into Darkness but the strangest cinematic souvenir may belong to Mark Wahlberg.
The Academy Award nominee kept the prosthetic penis he wore as Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights. “I used to keep it in my desk drawer,” he said, “and I’d take it out and slap my friends in the face with it. I don’t keep many things from my movies, but that just seemed to have personal significance.”