Daniel Radcliffe Had A Blast Filming Harry Potter's Underwater Scenes

Daniel Radcliffe grew up on-screen as Harry Potter. He took the part of The Boy Who Lived at age 11 and delivered ambitious, emotional performances throughout all eight movies. Despite his vast filmography that is teeming with quirky, eccentric roles that ensured he wouldn't only be known as the young wizard, the actor's career-defining role will always be "Harry Potter" (until, perhaps, "Weird: The Al Yankovic Story" steals that title).

While Radcliffe has always described his "Harry Potter" filming experience as a joyful time, the actor recently noted how the films allowed him to perform some of the most exciting stunts of his career. The "Harry Potter" films allowed for plenty of CGI and tongue-twisting spells to learn pronunciations for, not to mention all the Quidditch flying Radcliffe must've had to pretend to do on a rotating broom rig in front of a green screen. But perhaps the biggest challenge from the franchise, were the extensive underwater scenes for the "Harry Potter" sequels "Goblet of Fire" and "Half-Blood Prince." Thankfully, the challenge didn't make them any less fun, at least for Radcliffe.

Daniel Radcliffe's favorite thing about filming Harry Potter

One of the most challenging and time-consuming scenes to film in all of "Harry Potter" appears to be when Radcliffe filmed the underwater sequences. In "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," Radcliffe's character participated in the Triwizard Tournament, a magical inter-school contest in which students proved their mettle in a series of risky challenges that put their magic to the test. Radcliffe had a log book to record the hours he spent filming underwater in a set that had been converted into an underwater tank for six weeks.

The actor had great things to say about his experience in a new interview with GQ, where he broke down his most iconic characters.

"There is so much on Potter that was so intense and so crazy. You don't even think about it at the time, 'cause you're just like, 'Yeah, they're building a tank where D stage used to be. They're just building a tank and they're gonna be filming underwater for six weeks.'"

Radcliffe believes it to be special

Radcliffe is well-aware that his "Harry Potter" role allowed him to experience some of the most special moments in his career, and he was able to participate in the kind of scenes that many actors won't ever get to experience. Radcliffe recalled:

"It was really cool. I've heard that we averaged, like, seven seconds of footage a day or something, of useable footage. But again, those are one of those things that you go like, 'I will never do that again. And if I do, I'll be one of the only people who's done it before.' It was one of those moments that you look back on and you go, 'God, that's special.' Those ones on the fourth film, the dragon sequence on the fourth film."

But "Goblet of Fire wasn't the only Harry Potter movie that put Radcliffe underwater. 

'It's phenomenal they allowed me to do that myself'

"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" features a scene where Radcliffe faces extreme danger alongside Michael Gambon's Albus Dumbledore, where he performed an underwater stunt all on his own. During the sequence, Harry encounters The Inferi, a group of corpse-like creatures, and he's dragged underwater by them. Eventually, Dumbledore saves Harry's life with a spell that creates a ring of fire and destroys the creatures, and Harry swims to the surface. 

Radcliffe was holding himself underwater with a rope when the crew lit a ring of fire around him. It was all very real and intense, as Radcliffe explained:

"One shot, on the sixth film I think, where I'd start off underneath the water, and I was on a wire, so I was holding myself by a rope under the surface of the water, and then on 'action' I let go and they pulled me on the wire. So I flew out of the water, and there was a ring of fire around me, so I was just bursting out of the surface of the water through a ring of fire. It's phenomenal they allowed me to do that myself, and again, I'll probably never be on a job where they let me do that kind of stuff."

Radcliffe commended the franchise's directors — Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuarón, Mike Newell, and David Yates — for stepping in when they did. The actor was grateful to explore every new phase of his acting career with them, and it prepared him for the eclectic career that would follow in the years after the "Harry Potter" franchise.