Behind the scenes: Mimbulus mimbletonia

Show business is not always glamorous – something Matthew Lewis (aka Neville Longbottom) no doubt discovered when getting repeatedly covered in green sludge, courtesy of this rather unusual plant.

Neville with his Mimbulus Mimbletonia in a Herbology class
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Neville Longbottom brings a Mimbulus mimbletonia to school. This lumpy grey plant wriggles and pulsates, and squirts out Stinksap when irritated. Neville obviously takes good care of it; the plant is still present during a scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, in the Room of Requirement, where it sits near the wireless transmitter.

The movement of the Mimbulus mimbletonia was animated in a similar way to the Mandrakes. A metal skeletal structure inside of the prop would twist and scrunch via radio-controlled transmitters. For simple motions such as these, the transmitter would be manually controlled. Creatures with more intricate, complicated movements would be activated via a computer program.

In a scene in the Gryffindor common room deleted from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), Neville probes and prods at the plant. At one point he pokes the wrong place, and the plant spurts green sludge all over him. Director David Yates wanted Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom) to not react as he was drenched, to remain motionless. The actor admitted it got harder and harder not to flinch, as he knew what was about to happen. Lewis had to change his wardrobe and wash up between each take.

Harry Potter: The Creature Vault book cover

Extracted from
'Harry Potter: The Creature Vault'