Hav­ing a hoot on the set

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Although owls are gen­er­ally con­sid­ered to be wise, they are, in fact, no­to­ri­ously dif­fi­cult to train and can take up to three months to learn what a raven can mas­ter in a week

The scene which re­quired the largest num­ber of birds to ‘act’ was the owlery scene in Harry Pot­ter and the Goblet of Fire. Train­ers took on the dif­fi­cult task of teach­ing al­most 80 owls to hoot, fly and sit still at the same time

Ini­tial ground­work for an­i­mal train­ing takes about three to five weeks; when a script first ar­rived, the An­i­mal Depart­ment would begin fun­da­men­tal train­ing, de­velop ques­tions and ideas about how the scenes would be shot and then work with the direc­tor to fi­nalise train­ing plans

Crack­er­jack, one of the cat­sthat played Crook­shanks, be­came very good friends with one of the rats that played Scab­bers. In fact, he would of­ten chase the rat around the sets even when the cam­eras weren’t rolling

An­i­mals ap­peared in the Harry Pot­ter film se­ries in some un­ex­pected places. Themed break­fast ce­re­als, in­clud­ing Lun­frey’s Cheeri Owls and Honey­dukes’ Pixie Puffs, were cre­ated es­pe­cially for the films by graphic de­sign­ers Mi­raphora Mina and Ed­uardo Lima

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