Harry Potter: “Many would have liked Terry Gilliam to shoot the first film”

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Harry Potter: "Many would have liked Terry Gilliam to shoot the first film"
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Before choosing Chris Columbus for L’Ecole des sorcier, David Heyman thought of Steven Soderbergh, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Steven Spielberg …

Première devotes a special issue to Harry potter, this summer. That’s good, at the same time, TF1 reprograms the entire saga on Thursday evening. It starts at 9:05 p.m. with Harry potter and the sorcerer’s stone.

Here is an excerpt from our long “oral story” devoted to the film franchise, which turns 20 in 2021. Before going into details of the casting (how were the young performers of the Hogwarts schoolchildren found? Why the team refused the role of Hagrid to Robin Williams … ), the shooting (which took place in many sets and was very quickly followed by n ° 2, The Chamber of Secrets) and the reception of a first version which lasted 2h50 (!), the producer David Heyman explains how he obtained the rights to JK Rowling’s novels, then discusses the difficulties in finding the perfect director to start the saga. Because before choosing Chris Columbus (Mama, I missed the plane, Mrs. Doubtfire…), the Warner Bros. had mentioned several filmmakers …

DAVID HEYMAN: We launched several names. Of s artists who had a very strong universe and which we imagined compatible with that of Jo. Steven Soderbergh, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Terry Gilliam… Many would have liked Terry Gilliam to shoot the first film, but at the time, it was complicated. And then, Terry would necessarily have done Terry. The more we thought about it, the more we said to ourselves that the most important thing was that the director likes novels. It was essential and not always won … Let’s be honest: some people contacted did not necessarily want to slip into a universe that was not theirs and that they had not created. Make a Harry potter involved making some concessions. And then we crossed paths with Steven Spielberg. He had read the first draft of the script and said he was interested. We had an interview in his office, and it was great. I loved spending an hour and a half talking about this story with him. Then we had an hour-long conference call, him, Jo, and me. He wanted to discuss the project, but looking back, I don’t think he really wanted to get started. He had other films on the horizon at the time. He had a different vision from ours. And then Chris arrived.

CHRIS COLOMBUS: It corresponded to a low period in my career. I wanted to take a step back from Hollywood and really needed to sink into someone else’s world. Jo’s was perfect for me. I think that’s what made the difference when I spoke to David. I loved history, I loved Jo’s writing, and most of all, I loved this universe.

DAVID HEYMAN: Chris turned out to be a choice ideal. The studio was immediately sensitive to his “charms”: he knew the novels already released inside out and his children’s films had been real successes. The other essential choice was that of the screenwriter. Steve Kloves was perfect: he has a unique way of capturing the voice of an author. Read his script from Wonder Boys : we think we hear Michael Chabon on every line… He will quickly become one of the major assets of the saga, whether through his editing choices or his transcription of Jo’s characters.

CHRIS COLOMBUS: They had their director and their screenwriter. And that’s where the real things started. We had to tackle the film’s cast and design the world in which the adventures of this little wizard would unfold. I had just been given the reins of one of the most beloved books of all time. And the responsibilities that went with it suddenly overwhelmed me. I understood that the whole world would have their eyes on me. Who was going to play Harry Potter? Hermione? Ron? What was Hogwarts going to look like? What about Quidditch matches? If I had started to think too long about all of this, I would never have left my house again. The first thing I said to myself is: ” OKAY. You’re gonna need the best. ” And I started casting the actors and technicians.

The full interview can be read in the special issue of First special Harry potter :

Summary of the special edition Première n ° 15: special 20 years of Harry Potter

The story of Harry potter and the sorcerer’s stone : Harry Potter, a young orphan, is raised by his uncle Vernon and his aunt Petunia who hate him. While he was as tall as three apples, they told him that his parents had died in a car accident.
On his eleventh birthday, Harry receives an unexpected visit from a gigantic man named Rubeus Hagrid. This one reveals to him that he is in fact the son of two powerful magicians and that he also possesses extraordinary powers.
It is with joy that the boy accepts to take lessons at Hogwarts, the famous school of witchcraft. He finally has the chance to make friends. Blamed by Professor Severus Snape who teaches him potions and protected by Albus Dumbledore, the principal of the establishment, Harry will try to unravel the mystery of the Philosopher’s Stone.

Trailer :

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