Alfonso Cuaron was on FOX News today
Jun 09, 2004
Thanks to Darlene for creating a transcript from Alfonso Cuaron’s appearance on Linda Vester’s programme on FOX News today, where he took some questions from the audience. You can read the whole thing below.
Linda Vester: If you haven’t seen the newest HP movie – GO SEE IT! The special effects in this one are really cool. It has a different director from the first two. Meanwhile Harry’s a teenager now. As are his pals. Please welcome Alfonso Cuaron. Director of Harry Potter and the Prisoner Of Azkaban. (Audience applause) A couple of your fans are in the front row and we were just talking about special effects. Pretty cool?
Audience Member: The dementors, definitely.
LV: The dementors. There’s a scene – (to Alfonso) hope you don’t mind us going through it –
Alfonso Cuaron: No, please –
LV: – that’s one of my favorites. Okay. On the train,
LV: – Harry is on there with his buds and then lets take it from there
(They show the clip on the train where the glass and water in the bottle freeze up to when the dementor opens the door to Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Lupins cabin.)
LV: Ooooh. (Audience applause) So how did you do that? I mean how did you do that with the hmm-hmm – you know.
AC: Well, actually that’s a computer generated creature. But the basis of it is, um, there’s an amazing puppeteer in San Francisco called Basil Twist that he does puppeteer underwater. So the fabric kind of has this beautiful motion –
AC: – and that’s what we tried – we did some tests with real puppets, but it proved to be impossible – practically, it was impossible to achieve it with puppets. So the computer generation wizards – they took that as a model to follow.
LV: Wow. Um, we were talking about other parts of the movie before you walked into the studio – uh, and another one of your fans, uh – well we were appreciating that, you know, the movies a little darker, but also there’s kind of a sense of humor in there. And, you (speaking to another audience member) were mentioning the tree.
Audience Member: Right. The whomping willow, when it takes out the birds. Uh, it’s just so quick and it’s a quick, punchy like kind of comedy and I really enjoyed seeing that in this film.
AC: Oh, great. Thank you. What we were trying to do is, what is great in the books, is there is an amazing balance between suspense, emotion and humor. And we tried to be faithful to that.
LV: You know there were certain things, though, that are a little bit different. Is it true that you had to ask, or at least wanted to ask, JK Rowling – you know, for instance, on changing what the kids wore – you know, is it okay if they wear their street clothes –
AC: That was her idea.
LV: Really? That was her idea? She told you?
LV: And it’s really true that she said, look, don’t be too literal with the book.
AC: Yeah. What she said is she didn’t want it to be literal. She said be faithful to the spirit of the book, but don’t be literal. And together with that she said, you know, I think that the uniforms are really good, but they shouldn’t wear the uniforms unless they are doing academic things. You know, when they are doing things in their personal lives they should wear their street clothes.
LV: Huh. Um, you came in after two HP movies and, uh, so you had a tall order in front of you. But you also had this little thing called puberty you had to deal with.
AC: Oh, not me –
LV: Well, not you –
AC: (Laughs) I went through that ages ago.
V: You’re well past that point. (Audience applause) I mean with Daniel and Emma and Rupert.
V: So, it dawned on us that we thought, well wait a minute, let’s go back and look at how they looked before and how they look now. So let’s do some before and after. (Shows picture of Daniel Radcliffe at age of first movie and premiere red carpet photo from POA) Okay, so here’s Harry aka Daniel. Wow. Look at the difference. The young lady down in front thought he was pretty cute. I had to tell her he was too young. (Shows picture of Emma Watson then and now) Hermione also known as Emma Watson, before and after –
Male Audience member: Ooooh.
V: Wow. Yeah, see, she’s pretty cute and now you say “Hello!” but she’s too young for you too. And then Ron (Shows picture of Rupert Grint before and after) also known as Rupert Grint, before and after. But you (speaking to AC) were okay with it. You said, you know, I’m not going to try to make them look how they were.
AC: Oh, no. What is great is that the point of this book is there’s this child is seeking for his identity as a teenager, it’s that transition. And what I’m very thankful for these kids is that they actually lend to their characters their emotional experiences. To make the performance more honest. And –
V: Let me say – (stops) keep going.
AC: No, that’s what was priceless. I asked them to write an essay early on. An essay that I asked them to write a biography of their characters in first person –
V: Oh really.
AC: from the moment they were born to the moment the movie starts
V: Emma and Daniel and – really?
AC: And they will have to lend their emotional experiences in this biography. And it was just a template to keep them working.
V: Hmm. Uh, let me just try to squeeze in one quick final question. She had, this young lady, had a question about something you left out and I don’t know if it was on purpose or by accident.
Audience Member: I noticed, um, there was lots of foreshadowing in the third book that kind of leads to the fourth book and explains it a little better and I noticed that it was kind of left out. Particularly at the end of the third movie and I was curious if that was deliberate, or like how the fourth movie will be, especially because there’s going to be a new director.
AC: Well, yeah, what happened is that you have to discriminate a lot when you are doing an adaptation. And we decided to just adapt everything that was relevant to the theme of a kid growing into a teenager. And pretty much we had to leave everything else, whatever didn’t stick to that theme, we had to let it go. And that was one of those things. And yes, I know, it’s setting up for the fourth one, but in the fourth one they are taking elements of the third to do the set up for the fourth.
V: Well, congratulations on a fantastic movie.
AC: Well, thank you.
V: What’s the next thing you are going to do?
AC: I need a beach and a hammock (Laughs, audience applause)
V: And a little drink with an umbrella in it?
AC: Yes. (Audience continues to applaud) Thank you.
V: Alfonso Cuaron, thank you very much.
AC: Thank you so much.