Harry Potter: How Cameron Diaz Unexpectedly Helped Daniel Radcliffe’s Quidditch Scenes

Cameron Diaz and Daniel Radcliffe
(Image credit: NBCUniversal Syndication Studios/ Warner Bros. Pictures)

Tom Felton just recently published his memoir, Beyond the Wand: The Magic and Mayhem of Growing Up a Wizard, which heavily centers around his time on the Harry Potter set. With that, the actor has dropped a number of interesting behind-the-scenes morsels that fans will want to know. As Felton revealed some BTS facts about Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, he spoke about how Cameron Diaz unexpectedly helped his co-star, Daniel Radcliffe, with the iconic quidditch scenes.

Considering there’s no such thing as a flying broomstick or quaffles, practical effects and green screens were needed to bring the magical sport to life. Tom Felton revealed in his memoir (via Variety) that during the process, Daniel Radcliffe had a Cameron Diaz-centric item that helped him complete his scenes:

When the first assistant director shouted ‘Dragon!’ or ‘Bludger!’ you had to look at the tennis ball like it was, well, a dragon or a bludger, Sometimes there would be more than one tennis ball up there, and as one looked very much like another, after a while they gave us more individual objects to stare at. We chose pictures of something or somebody close to our hearts. Daniel Radcliffe had a picture of a particularly beautiful Cameron Diaz.

Aww, 12-year-old Daniel Radcliffe had a little crush on Cameron Diaz! Fans will probably view that scene a bit differently, since they now know what Radcliffe was really looking at. That's better than what Tom Felton used to grab his attention - a picture of carp, due to his love of fishing. Another interesting quidditch fact that the fan-favorite Slytherin actor shared is that the "broomstick" he used was a metal pole attached to a bicycle saddle. The actors were attached to harnesses and had stirrups for their feet. A seesaw would also move the stars in different directions and a was fan blowing in their faces in order to simulate wind. Hearing all of this, you really have to appreciate movie magic.

There were hurdles, though. Sorcerer’s Stone director Chris Columbus said he still beats himself up for the effects used in that first movie and would have done the sports match differently today. Well, he’s got to forgive himself for that considering the film was made in the early 2000s. And the cast still gave great performances throughout. To that point, during the quidditch scenes for Chamber of Secrets, Severus Snape actor Alan Rickman gave Lucius Malfoy star Jason Isaacs advice on how to convincingly react to the match they were watching. 

Quidditch aside, Tom Felton shared other juicy on-set secrets in his book. For example, he spoke about his “unspoken love” for his co-star Emma Watson. (Watson actually harbored a little crush on him during the second movie.) While they didn’t have a close bond when they first met, they now have an excellent friendship. We actually have the Hermione Granger actress to thank for encouraging Felton to “tell his story.” The 35-year-old actor also came clean about his substance abuse and rehab stays, which he tried several times in order to reach sobriety. He also discussed controversial Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and how often she was on set.

After hearing that Cameron Diaz helped Daniel Radcliffe with his work, one has to wonder if any other child actors working on blockbusters have similar stories. It's something to think about and, if they did, I'd hope they had a visual cue as strong as Diaz.

You can watch those quidditch scenes by streaming the Harry Potter movies with a Peacock subscription. Tom Felton's memoir, Beyond the Wand: The Magic and Mayhem of Growing Up a Wizard, is also on sale now!

Carly Levy
Entertainment Writer

Just your average South Floridian cinephile who believes the pen is mightier than the sword.