Who is Oliver Phelps?
Oliver Martyn John Phelps is an English actor best known for his role in the Harry Potter film series, in which he and his identical twin brother James portrayed Fred and George Weasley. At the age of 14, Oliver and his brother skipped exams at school to answer an open audition call. While they did not have any prior acting experience, they made it up with their enthusiasm and eagerness. They were selected after about six auditions and would play their respective roles in all eight films in the franchise. After the completion of the Harry Potter series, Phelps has continued acting and is in the process of building up an impressive resume. His other credits include short film ‘Ears’, comedy-drama ‘Kingdom’, and telefilm ‘Danny and the Human Zoo’. The twins have also devoted considerable time and effort to various charity initiatives, including Teenage Cancer Trust and Virgin Money Giving drive.
In 2000, when they were 14 years old, the Phelps twins decided to skip the school exams and attended the open audition that they were hearing so much about. After about six rounds of auditions, they were selected to play Fred and George Weasley. Initially, however, they were not sure who was going to play whom. They approached casting director Janet Hirshenson and asked her about it. She informed them that George was going to be played by Oliver and Fred by James. The twins still have doubts whether it was their original intention or a last minute decision.
While Oliver and James are quite similar to their fictional counterparts and did play quite a few pranks on the cast and crew, they never swapped characters at work. They were apparently too afraid of getting caught and being responsible for all the cast and crew having to come in and work on a Saturday.
The twin brothers appeared in all the eight films in the series, ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone’ (2001), ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’ (2002), ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’ (2004), ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ (2005), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ (2007), ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ (2009), ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1’ (2010), and ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2’ (2011).
Oliver also reprised the role in the short films ‘Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey’ (2010) and ‘Hogwarts Express’ (2014) and the TV series ‘Chute!’ (2007). He lent his voice to George in the video games ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ (2007) and ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1’ (2010).
Oliver has decided to pursue acting as a full-time profession and has appeared in other projects besides the Harry Potter franchise. He played Finlay Anderson alongside his brother’s Callum Anderson in an episode of Stephen Fry’s ITV comedy ‘Kingdom’ (2009). He acted in the short film ‘Ears’ (2013) and television film ‘Danny and the Human Zoo’ (2015). Oliver is set to appear in the upcoming projects ‘Own Worst Enemy’ and ‘7 Days: The True Story of Blind Dave Heeley’.
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Oliver and his brother are responsible members of their community. They planted trees at the National Forest in Leicestershire in January 2003. The trees that were planted were birch and ash, the same varieties of wood from which Harry Potter broomsticks were made.
The twins support the Teenage Cancer Trust and helped in opening one of its special units in their hometown, Birmingham. They were also participants in the Virgin Money Giving drive and Oliver has concentrated on raising money for the RNLI lifeguards.
Born on February 25, 1986, in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, England, Oliver and his identical twin brother James are the only children of Susan (née Spare) and Martyn Phelps. Oliver is older by about 13 minutes. They studied at the Little Sutton Primary School and the Arthur Terry Secondary School. However, after they were chosen for the Harry Potter films, they were tutored on the set due to their hectic schedule.
Phelps reportedly dated Katy Humpage briefly in 2008. They subsequently split up and had an on-again, off-again relationship over the years. On July 4, 2015, they got married.
Since the summer of 2013, the twins are living in Santa Monica, California. Presently they divide their time between the UK and the US.
Oliver has a mole on the right side of his neck and James doesn’t. This is one of the very few ways one can tell them apart.