Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Warner Bros

Chris Columbus continued JK Rowling’s magical series in 2002 with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. A mysterious force is paralysing students – can Harry and his friends save the day? Here are 14 amazing facts about the film… 

1) ‘I didn’t know you could read’ 

During the interaction between Draco Malfoy and Goyle (who is actually Harry), Tom Felton forgot his line, so he ad-libbed, ‘I didn’t know you could read.’ Director Chris Columbus loved the line and kept it in the film. 

2) Lucius Malfoy’s long hair 

Originally, there was no mention of Lucius Malfoy having long blond hair in the book or script. Rather, it was the actor Jason Isaac’s idea. He wanted to look notably different from his son. He also had to keep his head tipped backwards to keep the long wig from falling in his face. This worked out well for the character, as he was always looking down his nose at the other characters. 

3) The blue Ford Anglia 

The Weasley’s family car, the flying blue Ford Anglia, features prominently in the film, and it’s also in the novel. There’s a reason that it’s that exact model and colour; it’s the car that author JK Rowling and her best friend used to drive around in when they were young, and she has lots of great memories of riding in it. A whopping fourteen Ford Anglias were destroyed making the film. 

4) Harry Potter books in Flourish and Blotts 

When the photographer is taking some snaps of ‘celebrated wizard’ Gilderoy Lockhart in Flourish and Blotts, you can catch a glimpse of some very familiar books on the shelves in the background; hardback copies of Harry Potter! 

5) Rupert Grint is terrified of spiders 

For the scenes in the forest where Harry and Ron follow the spiders and wind up in Aragog’s lair, where they’re surrounded by enormous arachnids, you might be forgiven for thinking Rupert Grint is giving just another excellent acting performance, with his whimpering and squirming. However, Grint is actually terrified of spiders, and was genuinely terrified throughout the whole experience. He’s since said that he still hasn’t watched that scene in full. 

6) A darker film 

Chris Columbus wanted the movie to look darker, so he told the cinematographer to use more subdued lighting. They also desaturated the film in editing. This process continued throughout the entire series. Each film becomes darker in turn, and has less and less colour. It shows how the danger progresses, leading up to the finale, and also how the characters and getting older. 

7) Eddie Redmayne auditioned for the role of Tom Riddle 

Tom Riddle, the younger self of Lord Voldemorte, is the main villain in the movie. Whilst he was played by Tom Coulston, an actor who is very well known to fans of the Wizarding World actually auditioned for the role: none other than Eddie Redmayne, who later went on to lead the Fantastic Beasts series as Newt Scamander. 

8) Some John Williams score was shared with Star Wars Episode II 

During the Quidditch scene where Draco and Harry are darting after the Golden Snitch on their broomsticks, some of the John Williams score you can hear also appeared during a chase scene in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. This Star Wars sequel was also scored by John Williams, and was released the same year as Chamber of Secrets. 

9) Harris asked them not to re-cast Dumbledore 

After filming, Richard Harris was hospitalised after falling very ill. Chris Columbus and David Heyman visited him in the hospital. Knowing they were going to start filming the third movie in the series very soon, he asked them not to re-cast Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban yet; hoping that he would pull through and be able to play the role. Sadly, he passed away shortly afterward, and Michael Gambon was given the role of the headmaster in the third film. 

10) Hugh Grant was cast as Gilderoy Lockhart.

Sir Kenneth Brannagh gave a fabulous performance as charming (but hopeless) celebrated wizard Gilderoy Lockhart. However, what you might not know is that the part was originally given to another famous English actor; none other than Hugh Grant! Grant had to pull out of the film because the schedule conflicted with Two Weeks Notice. 

Jude Law also auditioned for the role, but was turned down as he was too young. He later went on to play Albus Dumbledore in the Fantastic Beasts series. 

11) Floating cup cakes 

In one scene, Crabbe and Goyle happen upon floating cup cakes that have been spiked. The actors, Jamie Waylett and Josh Herdman both cut the insides of their mouths when biting into them, due to the hooks instead that were holding them afloat. 

12) It helped Scooby Doo sell more tickets 

The live action version of Scooby Doo came out in the summer of 2002, and one of the trailers shown before the film was for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Long before the days of YouTube, scores of fans flocked to the cinema to watch Scooby Doo, just for a look at the Chamber of Secrets trailer on the big screen. 

13) Dobby’s ears were based on a dog called Max 

When it came to designing Dobby, the art department drew inspiration from something very close to home. There used to be a dog called Max that someone would bring into work, and it would sit under the desks. The artists thought Max’s ears would be perfect for Dobby, and incorporated them into the design. 

14) A guide for parseltongue 

The serpent language that Harry and Tom Riddle use, parseltongue, it used at a couple of points throughout the film. To ensure they were using it consistently and convincingly, the author JK Rowling wrote a guide to speaking parseltongue for the actors to follow. 

There you have it – 14 amazing facts about Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets!

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets trailer