Interview with Katie Leung as Cho Chang in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
By Marie Morreale
Katie: My dad was watching telly one day and he saw an ad for the Harry Potter movie and basically it said you have to be 16, you have to have an Asian appearance, and you have to have a British passport. At the time I was 16 and I fit all the requirements, so my dad suggested we go down to London to try out for the part. I hadn't had any acting experience beforehand, so I was a bit reluctant to go, but he did insist and we ended up going down, which took four hours for a five-minute audition. The first audition involved taking a photo and they said they would call back if they were interested. A few weeks later, I went down again for a drama workshop and they had narrowed it down from about 4,000 to 100 girls. We did a lot of improvisation with the drama teacher and we acted out scenes and played a lot of games. Then it was down to the final five, and I got called back to the studio for a screen test. There were a lot of cameras, and I did a scene from the script with the drama teacher. We did the part where Harry asks me to the ball, and after that, I got the part.
Q: You said you had never acted beforewas it scary?
Katie: I was so nervous and it was really, really, really frightening. I think that was part of what made me do welljust all the adrenaline and everything. I wanted my dad and my mom to be proud, too. It was a real shock when I got the part.
Q: Where were you when you found out that you got it?
Katie: I was sleeping in bed. It was really funny because when my mom called and told me, I didn't take it in. I was just like "yeah, whatever," and then I went back to bed. When I woke up, I realized what she had said, and it was hard because I couldn't tell anyone for a while.
Q: When you were able to tell people, who did you tell first?
Katie: I told my best friend and she was just ecstatic. She was just jumping around, and because of her reaction it was kind of obvious what had happened. Everyone had heard about the auditions, but they didn't know whether or not I had gotten the part. They kept bugging me and asking me and I told them and they're all used to it now.
Q: Even though you hadn't acted in the past, had you wanted to act? Was it something of interest to you?
Katie: Definitely not, because I always thought if you wanted to be an actor you had to have great confidence and you had to be outspoken, and that was not me, because I was really shy at school.
Q: I guess you've overcome that?
Katie: Yeah, definitely. That's something I've achieved from filming this movie, just becoming more outgoing and confident. It's great.
Q: Had you read all the Harry Potter books before?
Katie: I read the first two before I got the part, and I read the other three afterwards.
Q: Do you have a favorite one?
Katie: I'd say the fourth book, Goblet of Fire, is my favorite. It's just so action-packed and there are so many different elements in it like romance and action and excitement and everything.
Q: In the series, did you have a favorite character besides Cho?
Katie: I really liked Rupert's character, Ron Weasley. He's just so funny. He has such a great sense of humor. He's unintentionally funnyyou know he doesn't try to be, but he is. The fact that he's a boy and he's afraid of spiders makes it even more funny.
Q: What was the most fun scene to film in Goblet of Fire?
Katie: My favorite scene was the ball scene. I think all the girls preferred that, because we got to dance and dress up and have our makeup and hair done. I think that’s just every girl's dream. For boys, that scene is a total sleeper. They preferred all the action scenes.
Q: Did you have any scenes where you needed to do stunts or you needed a stunt double?
Katie: I had a stunt double for the diving scene, because I was underwater in a tank and basically Cedric Diggory saves me. I had to take a lot of diving lessons for that, so it was really hard, but great fun as well.
Q: So, now when you see a pool or a lake you want to dive right in?
Katie: Yeah. [laughs]
Q: And are you planning on going to university?
Katie: Definitely, it's something I want to do. I want to continue with acting as a possible career, but I also want to stay in contact with my friends and I don't want to miss out on university life, so maybe I'll take a gap year if I'm doing a next film, and then I'll go back to it.
Q: That sounds like a good plan.
Katie: Yeah, and it's something I can always fall back on if the acting career doesn't work out.
Q: What would you like to study?
Katie: Well, art's my favorite subject at school, so probably something to do with design or interior designing or something like that.
Q: I bet you got a lot of great ideas from the sets on the movie. What Hogwarts class would you like to take?
Katie: Herbology would probably be quite interesting. I've always been into flowers and all that. I think it's quite interesting and in the first or second film they have the little baby plants that scream and I thought that was pretty cool.