Take two for the Weasley Twins: After ten years as the Hogwarts double act, Harry Potter’s chums have ditched their ginger hair dye to head for Hollywood
By Lina Das
Call it karma, but when James and Oliver Phelps were cast in the Harry Potter films as the red-headed twin wizard brothers of the equally flame-haired Ron Weasley, James knew that he was in for a spot of payback.
Now, some 12 years and eight Harry Potter films later, the 26-year-olds have arrived in Hollywood to try their luck.
‘We haven’t seen much of Robert Pattinson [who played Cedric Diggory], but he was a top guy who wanted to have a good time and because it was before the whole Twilight thing, there weren’t always a load of screaming girls whenever we went out.’
And they haven’t seen Emma Watson recently either, she’s in LA filming the latest Sofia Coppola film, The Bling Ring. ‘But she was great,’ says Oliver, ‘and she beat me at table tennis.’
Typically for brothers, Oliver and James have a competitive streak. ‘Whether we’re playing golf, PlayStation, or we’re on Twitter,’ says James, ‘and yes, I know that he’s got more followers than me because I was off it for a month or two,’ he grins.
Would they both go up for the same roles? ‘Yes,’ says James, ‘We decided we should go for the same parts. If I don’t get it, then I’d much rather Oliver got it than someone I don’t know.’
In addition to Potter, they have also appeared in Stephen Fry’s comedy-drama Kingdom as a pair of mischief-making twins similar to the Weasleys. But they also have separate projects on the go, with James due to appear in the film Ward 3, and Oliver making the Pablo Picasso biopic The Latin Quarter with Dean Cain and Martin Landau.
James and Oliver remain very close to their parents Susan and Martyn, who are both retired. ‘This may sound cheesy,’ says Oliver, ‘but maybe one of the reasons we haven’t gone off the rails is because we have a very open relationship with our family and we’d hate for our nan to something nasty about us.’
It’s their grandmother, Joan, who sorts their fan mail — ‘I hope none of it is saucy,’ says James. ‘But if it is, she probably puts it straight in the bin.’
Is there anything they wouldn’t do on screen for a role? ‘Wear an Aston Villa shirt,’ says James without hesitation. ‘You probably shouldn’t say that,’ says Oliver. ‘I remember watching Kate Winslet in Titanic when I was young and thinking: “Why the hell would someone dye their hair ginger?” ’ He grins. ‘Famous last words, or what?’