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Old 06-19-2019, 06:12 PM
masterofmystery masterofmystery is offline
Post Alan Gilmore discusses Universal Orlando Hagrid ride's creation, magical creatures

SnitchSeeker got the chance to speak with the art director of the Harry Potter film series, Alan Gilmore, at last week's opening of Universal Orlando Resort's Hagridís Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, which he had a huge hand in creating from the start with Universal, Warner Bros. and J.K. Rowling's creative team.

Gilmore chatted about how and why Hagrid - beloved by fans worldwide - was the focus of the thriller roller coaster - the immersive queue through Hagrid's 'ruins', the decision to feature specific magical creatures, and the thoughts of expanding the ride already. That can be read and watched below.

SnitchSeeker: When and how did you conceptualize Hagridís Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure?
Alan Gilmore:
Itís a huge team effort Ė not just me. Itís a grouping of Universal Creations, the Warner Bros filmmaking team, J.K. Rowlingís team. Weíve all joined together in a very interesting way to help conceptualize this place. Itís new. Itís not in the books. There are snippets of this in the books. Weíve drawn from information that J.K. Rowling created. Weíve helped expand that and grow it. Our biggest idea here was Hagrid.

What would Hagridís world be? Where would he go outside of Hogwarts? So we created this new environment beyond his hut, a place thatís somewhere deep in the forest. It doesnít have an identity. Itís an old architectural ruins, which are very common in Scotland Ė deep in mountainsides and hillsides. So we brought this ruins to life. Itís a place where only Hagrid goes. Most of the occupants of Hogwarts wouldnít even know about this place. Itís been forgotten about for many centuries.

But Hagrid brings his students here and he educates them. He teaches them about creatures. He has his Care of Magical Creatures class here. The biggest creature he takes care of here is skrewt, which are something very new. Itís all about the skrewts and their existence. Theyíre very menacing, theyíre very stange, theyíre very alien. Hagridís being very strong with animals and creatures to nuture them. He wants to introduce them to us and show us this whole other part of the wizarding world that we havenít seen before.

SnitchSeeker: With so many hundreds of rich characters in the series, why did you decide to focus on Hagrid?
Alan Gilmore:
We just felt he was the one to tell a story about. When we got together and spoke about what should the next place be, we focused on this little house on the edge of the world we created. Letís look more at this little house. Itís an interesting place. And the more we looked into it, the more we found.

Thereís a whole world here. Thereís a whole world to explore. Yes, there are many characters with amazing stories, but we felt this was the one to tell right now. Itís the right time. Itís about ecology. Itís about nature. Itís about living simply. Itís about just getting to nature. Nature is so important, and I feel that weíve brought nature into the theme park world here. Weíve created this very seamless place. In theme park parlance, youíve got the queue and the ride, and we donít really use words like that in the filmmaking world. Itís all one story. This is our own movie, in a way, and you are in the movie that weíre telling and creating about Hagrid.

SnitchSeeker: Can you talk about the queue and why you chose to feature what you did Ė even elements that werenít in the books that you decided to add in?
Alan Gilmore:
Getting deep into the logic of what the place is, we looked at what these old ruins would be. They could be a college, they could be a university, they could be a functional place, a monastery Ö they could be a castle. What would they have? Theyíd have kitchens, theyíd have halls Ė like Hogwarts, they have some of the similar spaces. So we brought those spaces to life.

You see inside, you meet Arthur (Weasley) at Hagridís in the Ö what in a sense looks like a Great Hall. Itís a very small version, a very medieval version, but that is what that room is. Itís dilapidated. Thereís old furniture. Arthur has brought a bunch of muggle items in. Heís exploring, working on whatís going on with the motorbike. Heís trying to duplicate them, not sure how to. Itís a double act, in a way. Itís all about Hagrid, but Arthur is the one that he bounces off. Theyíre good friends. Arthur is very important because heís the one that makes the motorbikes work, and thatís a huge part of this because itís not just the magical creaturesí adventure, itís a motorbike journey. So they join together with that.

SnitchSeeker: Tell us about the ride itself. How many times have you been on it? Whatís it been like in both the motorbike and the sidecar?
Alan Gilmore:
For awhile now weíve been saying that itís very unique from each point of view, and it is actually very unique. Iíve ridden it many times and I love the motorbike, I have to say. I love the whole experience of holding the handlebars and driving.

Itís very ... the best word is visceral. You are engaged from the moment you leave this building and go out through the forest. Itís absolutely amazing. Itís so dynamic and so strong. In a blink, itís over and then you go, ďIíve gotta go back. Iíve gotta ride again. I have to.Ē Thereís so many things to see. You only see a fraction of whatís out there the first or second time. The third time, fourth time, you see more and more. Youíll have to ride this many, many times to capture it all.

SnitchSeeker: Compared to Forbidden Journey and Gringotts, this doesnít have any screens so how does this ride compare to those?
Alan Gilmore:
Well itís all physical. Weíve actually brought it all to life. Everything you see is actually there. You see Hagrid. You see the skrewt. You see the Devilís Snare. Youíre in all these spaces. Theyíre not media, theyíre real. Theyíre there, and thatís very new as well. And theyíre huge. Theyíre very enveloping. When youíre in there itís like, ďWow, Iíve got to get out of this!Ē Luckily, the enchanted motorbike will get you out and save you. But yeah, itís not about media as such. Itís a tangible, physical experience.

SnitchSeeker: Since this is an outdoor ride, whatís the experience day versus night?
Alan Gilmore:
Iíve seen both and I have to say night is very special because the lights of the motorbike illuminate the forest as you fly through. Weíve deliberately not put too much light here. Itís deep in the forest. Thereís no technology. Itís not a habited place, so lighting is very minimal. The motorbike is your light. It guides you through.

SnitchSeeker: There are specific creatures on this ride and not on this ride Ė thereís no giant squid here Ė so how did you pick and choose which creatures to feature?
Alan Gilmore:
We worked with J.K. Rowlingís guys and started with the most important storytelling creatures. Again, itís a story. Any story, you have to edit it and you have to tell the right story. This is the story we wanted to tell.

SnitchSeeker: Would you consider expanding?
Alan Gilmore:
You never know. Weíll see how it goes. Weíre just about ready right now. As you know, weíve been doing this for a long time. We keep doing more, so you never know whatís next.
Universal Orlando Resort's Hagridís Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is now open for the world to take a ride on.
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