HARRY POTTER and the Dartford Tunnel
PUBLISHED: 13:38 30 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:55 23 August 2010
SCENES from the seventh Harry Potter - featuring the young wizard and his confidant Hagrid - were filmed at the river crossing. It s just a fortnight after the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince but filming for the last two in the series a
SCENES from the seventh Harry Potter - featuring the young wizard and his confidant Hagrid - were filmed at the river crossing.
It's just a fortnight after the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince but filming for the last two in the series and based on the final book is well underway.
On Thursday and Friday, it is thought Daniel Radcliffe turned up with the producer David Barron to try a spell of directing during a race scene in the Dartford tunnels for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.
The film crew remained at the nearby Hilton Hotel, Crossways, this week, with sources claiming filming of a scene involving a helicopter was due to take place on land next to the Bridge Housing development yesterday.
A source revealed: "Daniel has told friends he is looking for a project to direct when he finally waves goodbye to Hogwarts. He has been approached by a number of producers."
Another source close to the film crew, added: "They have been staying at the hotel for over a week now. The tunnel scenes are complete but we understand there is still filming taking place on nearby land late at night and involves a helicopter. It's very exciting."
The initial scenes are thought to involve Hagrid, expected to be played by Robbie Coltrane, racing through one of the toll tunnels against the traffic on Sirius Black's trademark motorbike. Harry Potter is in the sidecar fighting off enemies with his wand.
It follows on from a sequence to be used in the Seven Potters part featured in J.K Rowling books where seven Harry Potters are created to act as a diversion for the young wizard's enemy the Death Eaters, controlled by Lord Voldemort.
Resident and Harry Potter fan Andrew Gardiner, 45, said: "It's been really exciting when you realise that such a massive blockbuster is being filmed in Dartford.
"It's quite a big operation for what could be a small take in the scene. It's amazing Dartford will feature in the Harry Potter movies."
More than 40 vehicles for the filming, supplied by www.movievehicles.com were parked on land to the right of The Bridge housing project just yards from the real-life set for about a week leading up to filming.
At 10pm on Thursday and Friday the vehicles, including cars, vans, pick-up trucks and an Arriva-style bus were driven to the crossing offices in preparation for filming.
It is thought the roles played by Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) and Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid) did not take part with bosses opting for stunt doubles to film them zooming through the tunnel.
Mr Gardiner said: "More and more vehicles had been slowly turning up each day for about a week. Cars, vans and transporters - even an Arriva bus it seems - there has been a lot of security and a film crew on occasion.
"Then on Thursday loads more turned up and you just knew something was going to happen. At about 10pm they all started moving out. They eventually parked up on the plaza at the crossing before moving to the holding area where tankers go to wait for an escort through the tunnel. Using the marshland area to park gives them easy and quick access to the tunnels and it's the prefect set-up really.
"It all makes sense now. It seems to me they close one for the tunnels so it is available for filming and then use the mix of common vehicles to look as real traffic while Hagrid cruises through.
"I've not seen a glimpse of any stars yet which is a shame but filming must have happened in the hours after that under cover of darkness in typical Harry Potter style."
Bosses at Warner Brothers, who produce the films, kept the build up to filming a secret with about 30 security staff patrolling the area. When approached they denied any filming was taking place or planned.
Management at The Bridge also refused to talk about the makeshift parking lot when approached by reporters.
But a spokesperson for the Highways Agency and Warner Brothers confirmed filming took place at the crossing.
He said: "The Highways Agency gave permission for Warner Brothers to film near the Dartford River Crossing for a short period this month.
"The tunnel would have been closed at this time anyway for maintenance work which is normal practice."
A team of over 30 security guards have been protecting the vehicle props and a guard has been placed at the Hilton hotel entrance were crew members are staying.
The company who supplied the vehicles for the scene have a long history of working with top blockbusters, including the first four Harry Potter films.
Their website also credits them to supplying vehicles for James Bond films and the long-running UK police drama, The Bill.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is scheduled for completion next year with release on November 19. The second and final part is due for release on July 15, 2011 but as the project is 'in production' the date is subject to change.
A Warner Brothers spokesperson said: "We have been filming at the crossing but we are now back in the Leavesden studio where most of the filming takes place.
"We rarely go out on location."
They denied any more filming was to take place at Dartford locations despite the crew being expected to remain at the hotel until the end of the week.
n IT is not the first time the Dartford Crossing has featured in well-known films and TV productions, particularly the QE2 Bridge that was opened by the Queen in 1991.
The Bridge featured briefly in the hit 1994 British romantic comedy Four Weddings and a Funeral, starring Hugh Grant, Andie MacDowell and Rowan Atkinson.
In 2000 the landmark appeared again in the British crime film Essex Boys starring Sean Bean. The film was based on the real life story five years earlier when three drug dealers lured to a quiet lane and blasted to death with a shotgun before being left in a Land Rover in Essex.
It also appears on the opening credits of the police drama Thief Takers, a series based on the Metropolitan Police Service's Flying Squad between 1995 and 1997.