IAR EXCLUSIVE: Chris Columbus reflects back on 'Harry Potter' series

Monday, 11 July 2011 23:28 Written by  Jami Philbrick
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IAR EXCLUSIVE: Chris Columbus reflects back on 'Harry Potter' series

If you listen very carefully you can almost hear all the Muggles around the world crying right now because this Friday, July 15th marks the end of an era for Harry Potter fans with the release of the final installment of the decade long film series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2. The series began in 2001 with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and has lasted almost a decade, producing eight films in total, which to date have earned over $6 billion worldwide and become one of the most beloved franchises in movie history.

One of the many talented people who had a hand in making this possible is writer/director/producer Chris Columbus who directed the first film, as well as its sequel Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Columbus was a veteran filmmaker in his own right long before he took on J.K. Rowling’s epic, having penned such classics as Gremlins, and The Goonies, as well as directing a string of extremely successful films including Adventures in Babysitting, Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire. While Columbus left the series after producing Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, he will always hold an important place in the hearts of Potter fans as he is the man responsible for first bringing “the boy who lived” to the silver screen.

Over the weekend I had an opportunity to speak with Chris Columbus while he was out promoting his latest producing effort The Help, which is also based on a popular novel and opens in theaters on August 10th. Since we are on the eve of the opening of the final Harry Potter movie, I thought it would only be fitting to ask Columbus to reflect back on his time with the franchise and discuss how he feels about the series now that it is coming to an end.

Here is what Chris Columbus had to say:

“Honestly, I spent a great deal of my career sort of ignoring it and not wanting to take part. I would try to be humble, you know, keeping a healthy lack of ego about everything. But actually seeing it come to an end has been a tremendously satisfying thing for me. I realized that all those decisions we made, and we were forced to make big decisions, were the right ones. It didn’t occur to me at the time, and it didn’t occur to me until a couple of days ago. I think when I read the Entertainment Weekly article, is when I finally realized it. I sort of had to step out of my own body and say, wow, that guy Chris Columbus actually built all the sets, he cast all the people, and that guy's me! So it was a shocking moment. If I had a therapist I would go talk to him about it right now. It was very emotional to realize that these sets were created, all these actors were put into place and ten years later different directors are coming in and playing in that sandbox. It never really occurred to me until now that any decision we may have made on the first film could've been disastrous. Like all these horrific, hideous ideas that were being bandied about at the time; adding cheerleaders to Hogwarts, casting American actors and combining the first two books. Actually going against the grain and retaining a certain amount of faithfulness has enabled this series to last for eleven years and that's enormously gratifying.”

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 opens in theaters everywhere on Friday!

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