Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange

Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange

Griphook agrees to help Harry Potter and his comrades get into Gringotts for a steep price: the sword of Gryffindor. Gaining entry to Bellatrix’s vault is another matter. With the aid of some Polyjuice Potion, they will be accompanied by Madam Lestrange herself—or rather Hermione Granger in the guise of Bellatrix.

Since her introduction in “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” one of the hallmarks of Bellatrix Lestrange has been how utterly mad she is, and Helena Bonham Carter had always reveled in the boundless nature of her character. Portraying Hermione pretending to be Bellatrix, however, required a few definite boundaries. Bonham Carter attests, “It’s not actually Bellatrix; it’s Hermione’s version of Bellatrix. They are total opposites so it was good fun because it gave me another texture to play.”

Capturing the dichotomy involved the collaboration of Bonham Carter, Yates and the person who knows Hermione better than anyone: Emma Watson.

David Yates recalls, “We had a big rehearsal session where Emma basically did the scene, demonstrating how she would walk and how she would say her lines and we videotaped it so Helena could incorporate that into her performance.”

Bonham Carter adds, “Emma and I discussed the scene at length and she gave me terrific bullet points, which became my Hermione guidebook.”

“One of the things I really wanted Helena to get across is how awkward the whole experience is for Hermione,” Watson observes. “She is very uncomfortable because, for one thing, Hermione is somewhat prudish and Bellatrix is wild and goes around in a leather corset. And Bellatrix is evil and arrogant while Hermione is a good person, so being mean and demanding to everyone doesn’t come naturally to her at all.”

With Ron disguised as a Death Eater, and Harry and Griphook hidden beneath the Invisibility Cloak, the group makes their way into Gringotts, where rows of goblin bank tellers barely look up from their ledgers.

For the Gringotts sequence, Davis did double duty, not only acting but casting. He explains, “I represent actors under five feet tall, so the filmmakers came to me and asked me to help them find more than 60 people to play goblins, who could also handle the extensive prosthetics. We had actors come in from all over Europe, so it was like the United Nations of goblins.”