This Is What the “Harry Potter” Cast Really Thought About Their Costumes

PLUS: The series' costume designer reveals which actor loved their costume the most.

02-This-Is-What-the-‘Harry-Potter’-Cast-Really-Thought-About-Their-Costumes-4144872b-Willi-SchneiderREXShutterstockWilli Schneider/REX/ShutterstockGet ready to feel old—This year marks the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the first installment of what would become one of the most unforgettable book series around the world. Why, time flew by so fast since we first met The Boy Who Lived, you might say it was magic.

In an exclusive interview, Reader’s Digest got the scoop on some behind-the-scenes secrets from the Harry Potter films from costume designer, Jany Temime. Temime was brought on for the third film, The Prizoner of Azkaban, and continued designing through the end of the series. She ended up making hundreds of costumes over the course of six movies, not only on account of the large casts (including extras) but because actors had multiple outfits per movie.

04-This-Is-What-the-‘Harry-Potter’-Cast-Really-Thought-About-Their-Costumes-4144872h-Willi-SchneiderREXShutterstockWilli Schneider/REX/Shutterstock“When I arrived (for the third installment), we wanted to change the film from a children’s film into a teenager film, so what they were wearing was becoming very different,” she says. “Really the whole style of the film was becoming much more cool and jazzy and powerful and urban.”

Sometimes she had only two weeks to design costumes and bring them to life, yet Temime felt every final product was a success. So how did the cast feel about their wardrobes?

They all loved them. In fact, it was absolutely necessary that every actor loved the costumes he or she had to wear. Movie scenes are rarely shot in one take, so that means actors need to spend extended periods of time in the same outfit. If an actor wasn’t a fan of what they were wearing, it would put a damper on production.

“It would not even be a question. We had to make sure they really enjoyed it,” Temime says. “If they didn’t like it, I would have been mad!”

03-This-Is-What-the-‘Harry-Potter’-Cast-Really-Thought-About-Their-Costumes-379885l-David-HartleyREXShutterstockDavid Hartley/REX/ShutterstockThis was even more of an issue for the Harry Potter films. Since many actors were kids, the production crew had to adhere to child labor laws, which meant underage actors could only spend a certain number of hours filming every day. It also meant the filming process took longer.

“It’s not like they say, ‘Oh I hate that dress, but I just have to wear it for a day,’” Temime says. “On Harry Potter, they wear it for three months.”

However, one actress loved her costume more than anyone else on set: Helena Bonham Carter, clad in a long, black, lacy dress as villainous witch Bellatrix Lestrange.

01-This-Is-What-the-‘Harry-Potter’-Cast-Really-Thought-About-Their-Costumes-182259602-Oleg-GolovnevOleg Golovnev/shutterstock“I never saw an actress as happy as wearing Bellatrix’s dress than Helena Bonham Carter,” Temime says. “She enjoyed that costume so much. … She loved the corset.”

Bonham Carter has a reputation for being “the Queen of Corsets,” as she starred in several period dramas complete with full Edwardian costumes early in her career. Yet her attraction to the costume also came from her enthusiasm for Bellatrix as a character. Her reasoning to Temime? “I love being a baddie because baddies are so much more interesting than a good person.”

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you this newsletter. For more information please read our privacy policy.