What the Harry Potter movies would have been like if Spielberg had finally directed them.
We go back to the late 1990s to review what could have become of the Harry Potter film franchise under Steven Spielberg as director and producer.
Before the Harry Potter saga became a worldwide cinematic phenomenon, and with the popularity of JK Rowling’s novels growing like foam, Warner Bors. acquired the rights to the franchise from the British author focused on the young wizard and his classmates from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The passage of the years made Harry Potter one of the greatest sagas of all time in the Seventh Art.
For ten years we watched Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson grow up in the Harry Potter movies. The protagonists, and several of their companions, carved out a future as actors thanks to the direction of some renowned directors such as Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuarón, Mike Newell and finally David Yates.
But before those filmmakers took over running the franchise, an industry behemoth was fleetingly at the helm of the project: none other than the great Steven Spielberg. Today at SamaGame, we review what the Harry Potter movies could have been like with Steven Spielberg at the helm.
A project that lacked something essential to support Spielberg
When Warner Bros. seized the rights to adapt the Harry Potter novels for the big screen, the studio was quick to bring up the name Steven Spielberg as the great candidate to take over the franchise. Spielberg had been, and still is today, one of the great directors in the industry. In 1999 he had films like Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, ET the extraterrestrial, Jurassic Park or Schindler’s list, to name just a few.
It was logical that the studio thought of a filmmaker of his category to take charge of that goose that laid the golden eggs that was Harry Potter and that it was not necessary to see that in the right hands it was going to be a gold mine for many years for the production company. After six months working with screenwriter Steve Kloves on the film’s script, and After some clear disagreements regarding how he wanted to approach the Spielberg project, the filmmaker gave up and left the project, focusing on the direction of AI Artificial Intelligence.
Spielberg does not direct projects with which he does not feel a “personal harmony or connection”, so the Harry Potter saga did not seem to awaken that empathy in the director that encouraged him to sit in the director’s chair, although he would not act as a producer either.
What were Steven Spielberg’s ideas?
This brings us to the big question: what did Steven Spielberg have in mind for the Harry Potter franchise? The filmmaker has given several interviews over the years in which he has addressed the subject of his plans for the Harry Potter films. While working on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Spielberg began to feel that the film would fit into an animated production., and that Dreamworks Animation could take care of the work to focus the saga on a more childlike audience.
In addition, Spielberg proposed to combine some of the novels, moving away from the tendency that we knew in the Harry Potter saga of producing one film for each JK Rowling novel, two in the case of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The president of Warner at the time disagreed with Spielberg in his idea of reducing the number of films by combining stories, something that if we think about it financially makes sense, since fewer movies, less box office income.
Seeing that their positions did not seem to approach at any time, Steven Spielberg abandoned the project at that time and Chris Columbus took the baton, assuming both the direction of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone as well as that of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Alfonso Cuarón would take care of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Mike Newell did the same with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Beginning with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, David Yates has taken over the franchise, a role that has expanded into the spin-off Fantastic Beasts films.
Really, thinking of Harry Potter as an animated franchise does not seem particularly complicated, although it would have deprived us of some great interpretations that the Little Wizard franchise has left us with over the years.
We would not have Alan Rickman’s Severus Snape, and it is possible that few people knew the acting side of Daniel Radcliffe, whom we can now see in various films such as Guns Akimbo. Would you have liked Steven Spielberg to take over directing the Harry Potter franchise?