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  Michael Gambon: New Dumbledore!
Updated 28 May 2004, 19.03
Michael Gambon plays Dumbledore

Lizo: Sir Michael, you play Dumbledore in a very individual way - how did you settle on that way to play him?
Sir Michael: Well, it's just the way I felt when I turned up. Having read the script, you get on set on the first morning, very frightened, and then I thought how on earth am I going to play this part? Then suddenly you get this feeling inside you, you've got the costume on, the wig, the beard, suddenly you've got long fingers like me, with gold rings, so the whole feeling and the image tells you how to play it.

Lizo: Was it quite difficult to get the mix right of both ancient and wise, and playful and fun, at the same time?
Sir Michael: No! I didn't think about it because I'm very much like that myself, I essentially play myself, but with a slight Irish lisp. All the little wispy comedy bits, I just put them in and Alfonso encouraged me as he likes that kind of thing, so I just bang them in!

Lizo: So are you scared that you are going to become much more recognisable and mobbed on the streets wherever you go?
Sir Michael: Yes! So if children are watching this, you won't recognise me because I am going to wear a complete different disguise in the street. I'm going to wear a dark suit, big thick glasses, a stick-on moustache and a hat. So you won't know me. Sorry kids!

Lizo: Did you watch Richard Harris' performances? Did you refer back?
Sir Michael: No, there's no point really. You're a different man playing it, with a different personality, there's no point in looking back - you read the script and it hits you.

Lizo: What did you think about working with the kids?
Sir Michael: Awful, they are such bad actors! No, they are brilliant actors; the three of them are just the best. It was a joy to work with them.

Lizo: Did it throw up any particular problems or issues?
Sir Michael: No, no no. Not one single iota of a problem. I remember, working in various scenes that I have with them, that they are so economical.

Lizo: How do you see Dumbledore as a character?
Sir Michael: He is a deeply intelligent man. He speaks quite low, has terrific demand and has a great future.

Lizo: How does it compare doing movies like this with a huge budget to those with a smaller budget or the theatre?
Sir Michael: You get a bigger trailer on things like this than you do on a small budget in Budapest - you get a small caravan! But essentially when you get on stage or in front of a microphone there is no difference. If production values are higher you get more money. Pictures are pictures, it just makes your life a lot easier if there is money behind it.

Lizo: Do you think your performance is in danger of getting lost behind all the special effects that go on?
Sir Michael: No I don't think so. That isn't your business to worry about that. That's the job of post-production. So you just forget about it and play the part as best you can.

Lizo: What was it like to work with Alfonso?
Sir Michael: He's nice. He's like the young children in this - he's youthful in his talk and feelings and movement. He introduces a feeling on the floor of youth, invention and creativity. He's very encouraging.

Lizo:: You're a very respected actor, playing a very respected wizard - do people on the set look up to you?
Sir Michael: Yeah - they'd come to me with their problems: "Dunno whether to leave the wife etc, can you tell me what to do?" No not really. They would come up and smile at me with pity!

Lizo: Have you started filming on the next movie yet?
Sir Michael: No, I'm reading it at the moment and we start shooting in July.

Lizo: Do you see the character developing?
Sir Michael: I would only develop him in the way the script is written. I can only go on what the word is, that's what it is based on. The script is the building blocks.

Lizo: People look at these movies and see they are about magic - do you think there is a deeper emotional message?
Sir Michael: I wouldn't know. There is obviously a message for children somewhere, I'm not sure what it is though.

Lizo: Do you think it's about friendships and loyalty?
Sir Michael: It's about the power of good over evil. It's about friendship and those good things.

Lizo Did you enjoy doing it?
Sir Michael: Yes!

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