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Harry Potter & The Order Of The Phoenix - Katie Leung interview

Katie Leung in Harry Potter & The Order Of The Phoenix

Interview by Rob Carnevale

KATIE Leung talks about reprising her role as Cho Chang in Harry Potter & The Order Of The Phoenix and the challenge of dealing with some of the more emotional scenes in the film.

She also reveals what it was like to snog the young wizard during their first screen kiss and how she is dealing with her newfound celebrity in the wake of the Harry Potter movies…

Q. How does it feel second time around being in Harry Potter?
Katie Leung: I feel more relaxed in this one and comfortable. It almost feels like a second home where I get to see my friends again. I’m also more confident in front of the camera this time.

Q. There’s a lot more for your character to do in this one, including the big kiss with Harry Potter. How was it?
Katie Leung: It’s kind of strange seeing pictures of yourself in papers kissing Harry Potter. You can’t really avoid it, though. My friends are always asking me about it. Before I did the scene everyone kept coming up to me and asking if I was looking forward to it. It got me really, really nervous and I was having sleepless nights over it. But when I actually did the scene it went very well and Dan was great. He said he was nervous as well. But the director [David Yates] was really cool about it too.

Q. How was new director David Yates compared to Mike Newell?
Katie Leung: He was great – not that Mike Newell wasn’t. But David is just so gentle. His voice is just really soft. Whenever he speaks to me I kind of go weak at the knees. He’s really amazing to work with. For example, during some of the emotional scenes he would say: “Cho’s really upset and she’s on her own.” It was just so heartbreaking the way he said it that he really put me into the mood of the character.

Q. Was there any difference in the atmosphere on this one because there’s a very serious death?
Katie Leung: I think it’s generally a lot darker. We always say this whenever the next film comes out but it is darker than the rest. We are all growing up now. When I was portraying my character, she was always upset and depressed and that’s a big change from when I was filming the fourth one. Then, she was just a normal happy go lucky teenager who had a crush on Harry. So, in this one I tried to prepare for it beforehand.

Q. How difficult was it to prepare for some of the more emotional scenes – and did you have any trouble switching off at the end of the day?
Katie Leung: It’s much easier to switch off than on. You can be with friends having a laugh on set and then suddenly have to switch on emotionally. I tried to barricade myself in the dressing room for a few hours before we shot scenes and listen to Coldplay or whatever… or watch a tear-jerk movie. I watched Crash. It’s a really good film but it did make me cry. The only trouble is that when you get back on set and people are trying to do your hair and make-up, you’re surrounded by your friends again!

Q. How has the Harry Potter experience changed your life? Do you get recognised now?
Katie Leung: It hasn’t really changed my life in a great way. I’m more confident in general. I used to be really, really shy which is never a good thing because you never speak up for yourself. Now I don’t stop talking! But in terms of being recognised, it doesn’t really happen that often. I get the odd person coming up and saying they love the films…

Q. Your first two films have been Harry Potter films. Has that spoiled you? Or are you looking forward to working on something with a lower budget?
Katie Leung: I have really started at the top so it’s kind of hard to say I’ll go on to do bigger and better things! But I would love to do a lower budget movie where there’s a lot of drama and intensity and a challenging character. But we’ll have to wait and see. I’d love to continue with acting, although I’m not entirely sure what I want to do yet. I think I’ll probably end up making my mind up at the last minute, like I always do. But I’d like to go university as well and study graphic design, perhaps. I’ve just moved to London, so I’m settling in.

Read our interview with Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood)