Kloves on Adapting Harry Potter: “Books Are Difficult to Wrestle to the Screen”

Apr 30, 2009

Posted by: SueTLC


The Baltimore Sun is running a new article today, featuring an interview with Harry Potter film director David Yates, and also contains new comments from screenwriter Steve Kloves. Mr. Kloves is very complimentary of working with David Yates, and also speaks to the task of transforming the beloved Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling to the big screen. Of interest are the following comments: “Kindness, decency and patience are the personal qualities that draw the
loyalty of Yates’ collaborators. Screenwriter Steve Kloves, a
distinguished director himself (The Fabulous Baker Boys), has been working with Yates back-to-back-to-back on Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows I and II. He says Yates’ “vast resources of patience” are good to have on Potter films, “since the books are difficult to wrestle to the screen.” Kloves, the adapter of all but one Potter novel (Phoenix),
writes first drafts that tend “to be both wishful and practical” in his
desire to retain Rowling’s details and plot twists. “Wishful in the
sense that I want to get the entire book on the page and practical in
the sense that I know the wishful side of me is insane.”

The article also contains more from Steve Kloves on the decisions he and director David Yates made regarding which and how many Pensieve scenes to include for Half-Blood Prince.

Prince presented challenges because of “a series of memories that inform the
past and the present.” While Yates “enjoyed the flashbacks enormously
as separate incidents, he didn’t feel they were satisfying within the
whole. In other words, they diluted the dramatic experience from his
point of view and he felt we needed to concentrate exclusively on those
memories that informed one particular thread of the story – the story I
was, by and large, telling.”

Yates says, “We often have
conversations which go along the lines of ‘Will the fans really like it
if we lose that?’ Some choices may be right for the framework of the
film but will put the fans out.” Yates wants “to make sure the fans are
happy” and says he always lets pieces of the book go “regretfully,” but
his goal is to make “the best adaptation that will warrant spending
two-and-a-half hours in the dark.”

Finally of note are high praises from director David Yates regarding the performance of actor Rupert Grint in Half-Blood Prince.”He’s always been the funny one, but he has so much more as an actor than that. In Prince, he has lovely stuff that’s funny and true, but in Deathly Hallows,
he must be defensive and haunted, and Rupert took to that like a duck
to water. I’m always thankful that Jo Rowling gave us a world that
allowed us to turn corners with the actors.”

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.