Variety: J.K. Rowling Has a “Wand-erful Life”

Nov 30, 2004

Posted by: SueTLC


As a preview to tonight’s British Independent Film Awards, Variety has a feature on J.K.Rowling and the Harry Potter films. J.K.Rowling is due to receive recognition as the “UK Personality of the Year” at these awards, and this article takes a look at the development of the Harry Potter books into film. There are many quotes from producer David Heyman, such as this about the influence the author has on the films.

His smartest move was to form a tight alliance with Rowling. It’s a widespread misconception that Rowling has all kinds of contractual rights of approval over the Potter movies. In fact, she has none, but Heyman has always gone out of his way to ensure that her voice is heard powerfully throughout the process of adaptation.

“I’m a big believer in authorial influence,” he says. “Jo is an invaluable resource, and she’s generous to a fault in giving us information. The books are just the surface of what’s there; she has notebooks upon notebooks about this world, and any question you have, she already knows the answer. She’s present when we need her, but never interfering. “

The article goes on to address the issues of an all British cast, as well as the directors and screenwriter.

The determination of Rowling and Heyman to see the movies made in the U.K. with British actors also has made the Hollywood studios more open to approaching other British-based material without relocating it to New Jersey or insisting on American stars.

“If truth be told, the books are the star, and that has afforded us opportunities to do what we want with casting,” Heyman says. “Why should we cast an American playing a Brit when we have so many great British actors, when we don’t need the American star power?”

Even using an American screenwriter and director —Steve Kloves and Chris Columbus, respectively — was something of a compromise. Heyman initially approached Brit uberscribe Richard Curtis, who would work only with Brit helmers Mike Newell or Alan Parker. Newell wasn’t available, and Parker managed to talk himself out of the job. Now, of course, the wheel has turned full circle, with Newell directing the fourth installment, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.”

Variety has this chart as well about the amount of money made by the Potter films.

UPDATE: J.K.Rowling was unable to attend tonight’s awards, and her award was accepted on her behalf by film producer David Heyman.

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.