Wednesday 20th Mar 2019
As Warner Bros. Studio Tour London readies itself to open its Gringotts expansion, we spoke to Griphook actor Warwick Davis and creature effects artist Sarita Allison, who were there to welcome us for a sneak preview.
Keys, please. Harry Potter film fans are about to be introduced to a brand-new experience to treasure: a chance to step onto the set of Gringotts, opening 6 April. Over in Leavesden, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London has restored the original set of Diagon Alley’s iconic wizarding bank, complete with grandiose crystal chandeliers, marble pillars, and the goblin tellers’ desks that you’ll remember well from the films.
From the banking hall of Gringotts itself, to the Lestrange Vault which featured in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, visitors will get to walk through the 16,500 square foot expansion and take a look at some of the treasures on display, from Hufflepuff cups to lots and lots of gold, of course. In the films, over 210,000 coins were created for the Gringotts scenes!
And, seeing as the bank is famously run by goblins, you can expect to learn all about how they were brought to life for the films, and will be able to examine the intricate prosthetic goblin masks of the Gringotts workers such as Bogrod and Griphook, which will be on display. Speaking of which...
Pottermore had a quick catch-up with Warwick Davis, who plays both Griphook the goblin and Professor Flitwick in the Harry Potter films. He was accompanied by make-up artist extraordinaire Sarita who helped create the look and feel of the goblin masks the actors wore.
‘I think working on Potter enabled us all to be extremely creative,’ Sarita told us. ‘Anyone that I’ve ever spoken to, make-up artist wise, they love to come in and do prosthetic make-up with a goblin – there’s just so much scope there, with the pointy ears, the character lines and sort of ruddy faces, there’s just so much there to play with.’
Indeed, the tour will display some of the make-up team’s creations in a special behind-the-scenes look at the prosthetics, costumes and more.
Warwick, who used to sit for four hours to be transformed into Griphook, reminisced about his experience on set, and the transformation.
‘I remember for the first film when I was wearing this make-up, getting up at 4am, have the make-up applied, be ready for 8, we’d then do some filming, usually with Daniel [Radcliffe] who was a very young boy at that point, but then because they needed to film him and get him into school and things... they’d turn around and do my shots right at the end of the day. Now, by then I was wiped out, I couldn’t remember my lines, I didn’t know what was going on at that point!’
Sarita commended Warwick for his patience, saying, ‘We get a lot of praise for our amazing goblin work but we couldn’t do it without actors like Warwick – it’s very precise work and they do sit there for hours.’
‘It’s because we’re asleep,’ Warwick joked.
As Gringotts bank is known for its top levels of security, we also asked the pair what they would keep in their vaults. Warwick suggested putting his family in there for safe-keeping, and his dog, Sherlock. ‘Or I could go really profound and put my freedom in there?’ he added.
‘I’m going to put in all my secrets from recreating my goblins!’ Sarita said. ‘Although some are revealed here in the tour...’
Not long to wait to see what those secrets might be...
The Gringotts Wizarding Bank expansion will open at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London to the public on 6 April. Let’s hope there’s no Nifflers around to sniff out all that gold...