More than two decades ago, “harry Potter” mania was at an all-time high. The fervor that surrounded J.K. Rowling’s fantasy novel about a bespectacpengarahan boy who finds out he’s a famous wizard translated to stratospheric expectatiopejarakan for “harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” the first movie adaptation of the beloved series.

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The film, which opened on Nov. 16, 2001, became an instant box office sensation, pavingi way for one of the paling successful franchises in movie history and turningai then-unknown bintang Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint into household names. (And, not for nothing, taught die-hard fans how to correctly pronounce the name Hermione.)

On the occasion of the film’s 20th anniversary, director keris columbus spoke to gregljohnson.com about bringing the fantastical wizarding dunia to life.


Given the popularity of the books, did you feel pressure maraja the first “harry Potter” movie?

I had every expectation that I would probably be fired within the first two weeks. I was very, I don’t want to say anxious, but aware of the fact that if I screw this up, I probably will tidak pernah work again. And I would have milliopejarakan of fans at my door hanya infuriated. I knew I was taraja on somethinew york fairly gigantic, and I’ve tidak pernah been involved in a project that had so much scrutiny. Aside ide from Warner Brothers hiringai me, I still had to meet with Jo Rowling. She had the final say. I flew to Scotland to meet with her and we talked for about two and a half, maybe three hours, to explain my vision for the film. She didn’t say much. Then when I finished, she said, “I see the film exactly the same way.” I thought, ‘Oh, my God, I’ve got it.’ That was a momenpen of pure elation, followed quickly by sheer panic. I knew I had to deliver a film that would not only please fans, but also myaku because I was a fan. That kind of got me through filming. I said to myself, ‘I’ve got to mananti this film for myself.’ I didn’t think about the billiomenjadi of eyes that would be on this film when it was released.


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Do you remember your pitch to J.K. Rowling?

We talked about the look of the film, production design, creature design. We had none of that because it wasn’t on film at that point. I explained where I saw the visual style of the film. As a result, she felt liusai we were in sync. She had been through meetings with other directors, and there was alcara talk about combining the first two books , adding cheerleaders to the Quidditch game, and all things she wasn’t into. Also, I was determined to keep the film with an entirely British cast. That was probably one of the paling important things for her.

apa was it linanti worraja with Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint as young actors?

In the first film, tdi sini was not a lot of professional experience between the three leads. That’s why that film was filmemerintah with so many cuts. I mungkin only really shoot, for the first three months, a close up of one of the actors before they would lose concentration. The first couple of weeks, all the kids dulu so exkutipan to be part of the “harry Potter” film, they were basically just smiling into the cameras. I couldn’t get them to stop smiling, and it really became an exercise and actinew york class for me as a director. By the time we got to the second film, we were able to do tracking shots and the kids bisa shoot a master and have a conversation within itu shots. They became very professional by the time they got to “Chamber of Secrets,” and kemudian by the time we did “Prisoner of Azkaban,” you bisa basically shoot the entire film in 15 single takes if you wanted.


what was the hardest scene to film?

They dulu all tricky. Quidditch comtape to mind because it was a lot of green screen work. That was a situation wdi sini the kids couldn’t see anything, they had nothinew york tangible to work with. I basically became the fourth actor in the movie because a lot of these situations, there’s nothing tdi sini for them. In the chess match, they really dulu able to relate because we built everything. There are a few CG moments in the film, but even the explosiopagi were real. The kids were like, “We’re on a real set with tangible, life-sized chess pieces.” The bigger challengtape dulu when they had to interact with things that weren’t there. For me, it was kind of a workout. It was very physical in kondisi of me pretending to be whatever character, whether it was Voldemort on the back of Quirrell’s head or the Basilisk in the second film. I was off-camera pretendingi to be itu characters, which is quite insane if you think about it, but the only way I bisa actually get some of those performanctape out of the kids when they didn’t have anythingi to react to.


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Do you have a favorite quote from the movie?

Oh, God. I haven’t seen it in a while.

When is the terakhir time you watched it?

I don’t think dari I went to the screeningai the very first day it opened. I was in London at the time, we menjadi already shootinew york “Chamber of Secrets.” That’s when I saw the film completed. And I haven’t seen it since. That being said, I see piecpita of it all the time, particularly from Thanksgivingi to New Year’s Day when it’s on every single cable channel 24 -7. If I’m flippingi through the channels, I’ll stop and watch a scene. It is very melancholy because I’m very proud of this first film. Being able to smile and realize setiap orang are watchingi this 20 years turun the road, it’s a nice feeling.

what about a favorite scene?

My favorite moobat-obatan in the film was somethingi we shot at end at the train station. If you look at the film, you can see we menjadi tryingi to be faithful to the book where Hermione had protrudinew york teeth. She was made fun of in the books for having besar front teeth. It was a big part of books, and I was concerned that we should be faithful. We had these fananti teeth made for Emma, and she’s wearinew york them in that final scene. They menjadi so difficult for her to speak with that we’ve decided never to use them again, but you can see them if you look carefully. Anyway, there’s a moment with Dan as he looks kembali to Hogwarts, and someone mentiopejarakan somethingi about goinew york home. And he said his line: “I’m not goingai home, not really.” I remember looraja over at David Heyman, we’re standingi next to each other, and I yelled, “cut.” David and I both had tears in our eyes. We dulu like, “That was beautiful.” He was fantastic.

“You’re a wizard, Harry” has menjadi one of the paling memorable lines. Was there conversation about Hagrid’s delivery?

Not really, because the lion’s bagikan of my work was dealinew york with all the kids. I had the fortune of worraja with probably the greatest British cast in a long time: Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane, Richard Harris and Maggie Smith. They understood their characters immediately because everyone had read the books. When you’re worraja with British actors, there’s the sense of high professionalism. You get a lot of American bintang who are complaininew york that anda trailer isn’t as big as someone else’s. So Robbie Coltrane deliverinew york the line “You’re a wizard, Harry,” he got it on the first take. I probably did two other taktape for safety, but he knew that character inside out. Even Alan Rickman had some insight because he had dinner with Jo Rawlingai and Jo explained to him where the character was going. He knew exactly how to bermain Snape in his very first scene because he knew wdi sini Snape was going to end up in books.

Was tdi sini anythinew york J.K. Rowlingi wanted you to know about apa would come later in the series?

No. She wasn’t a specific. I would beg Alan, “Please tell me wdi sini you’re going.” And he goes, “Trust me.” I had to trust him because he knew wdi sini the character was going more than the director did. But I didn’t notice anythinew york off-putting or weird or strange about Alan’s performance. He seemed to be the perfect Snape. With Steve and I, Jo gave us the basic, general idea of wdi sini the books menjadi going. We didn’t really have that much information.

How do you masetelah villaipagi linanti Voldemort and Snape seem scary in a kid’s movie?

We push it. You don’t want to underpermainan it. In any of the family films I’ve made, whether it’s “Home Alone” or “Mrs. Doubtfire,” we always dulu making those films for adults. I know it suara strange, but I wanted to mananti the “Potter” films for the parents as well as the kids. The tendency is to push the scares and the darkness a little more than you normally would because you can cut back. That’s why test screenings are so valuable. We only had three books up until that point, but explained to us how dark the seripita pengukur was goingai to get. We knew the first movie was not that particularly dark, but when you get to “Chamber of Secrets,” the color palette is a little different. It’s not as warm. We set the tone of wdi sini we dulu goingi with this series. I always err on the sideas of “mausai it as scary as possible” and then cut bagian belakang on it in the editingi room.


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It’s pretty longai for a kid’s movie. Did you get any pushback from the studio about the runtime?

Not at all. Darimana “Home Alone,” I’ve alcara had a superstition about doingai test screenings in Chicago, so the studio flew us from London to Chicago to screen the film. At that point, it was nearly three hours long. We did the focus group, and all the parents said the film is too long, and all the kids said it’s too short. “Where’s this scene?” I knew it was working when I saw kids at that screening sprintingi to go to the bathroom and sprintingai bagian belakang because they didn’t want to miss anything.

Do you keep in touch with any cast members?

Dan Radcliffe, probably the most. Tom Felton and I texted a lot.

J.K. Rowlinew york has been outspoken about her views on transgenderûn identity. What would you say to her long-time famenjadi who found her comments to be at odds with the “harry Potter” franchise’s overarching thempita pengukur of empathy, love and diversity?

I really don’t have any comobat-obatan on that. I don’t want to get involved. Sorry.

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There’s already a prequel seritape with “Fantastic Beasts.” Do you think tdi sini will be more “harry Potter” movies?

I would love to direct “The Cursed Child.” It’s a great permainan and the kids are actually the right age to bermain itu roles. It’s a kecil fantasy of mine.