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Ask Michael Goldenberg a Question!

Posted by: Melissa
May 09, 2009, 12:32 PM

In two weeks, the first ever HP screenwriter-fan chat will be taking place at LeakyCon 2009 in Boston, MA. Today, we're asking you to take part, even if you can't go to the conference.

We're taking your questions ahead of time: leave a question for Michael Goldenberg, scriptwriter of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, here in this thread, and we'll pick out the best ones to be asked during the keynote.

That keynote, by the way, is selling out fast. You can register for LeakyCon here, or amend your registration to include the keynote here.

Here is the entire schedule of events for LeakyCon:

Friday Morning
Friday Afternoon and Evening
Saturday Morning
Saturday Afternoon and Evening


Editors and Authors: Cheryl Klein and John Green - click here to read about it, click here to register.

Nosh with the Nerdfighters - click here to read about it, click here to register.

Q&A with Michael Goldenberg - click here to read, click here to register.

We are also holding a drawing for a signed one-of-a-kind collection of all 10 American-Edition Harry Potter books, donated by Scholastic and J.K. Rowling. For pics and video of the set, click here.

Remember, leave your question in a comment on this thread and we will pick the best ones to be asked at the conference.

See you there!

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65 Points

In the book, Umbridge admits to Harry and Hermione (in the Dark Forest) that she was the one who ordered the dementor attack on Harry at the beginning of the book. She mentions many in the ministry who were anxious to silence Harry (in his claims of Voldemort’s return), yet she was the only one who took action. This seemed to be an important piece of information that was eliminated in the final cut of the film. I’d be interested to hear why this seemingly crucial piece of information — showing the depth of Umbridge’s desire for control and order and her “ends justifies the means” mentality — was left out of the film.

Posted by Sheri on May 09, 2009, 10:50 PM report to moderator
578 Points

kayzz – Sorry, but there are no plans to record the keynotes for LC09. They are working on trying to get them transcribed, but there are no guarantees!

Posted by Overcast on May 09, 2009, 11:27 PM report to moderator
4024 Points

Would was your favourite scene/line in OotP? :)

138 Points

Was there anything you really wanted to include, but couldn’t? (Due to time restrictions, etc.)

Posted by The Lost Diadems on May 10, 2009, 10:55 AM report to moderator
3048 Points

Considering the difficulties faced in adapting an almost 900 page novel into a two hour film, what methods did you consistently use in adapting the script to “abbreviate” the story, retaining its richness while also condensing it?

What prompted you and the rest of the crew to rearrange the order in which scenes took place in comparison to the book (for example, the Occlumency scene before Christmas, the return of Hagrid after, etc.)?

What matter in the plot, characterization, or the like did you most struggle with as you approached adapting the novel?

Thanks, Michael, for answering our questions!

Posted by Kirk on May 10, 2009, 09:30 PM report to moderator
9765 Points

What is your goal with the Deathly Hallows films? Will you be approaching these films differently from the previous ones in any way?

Posted by maera-kyrie on May 10, 2009, 09:46 PM report to moderator
9765 Points

[Oh whoops, wrong one] Is there anything that you would like to change about OotP if you could?

Posted by maera-kyrie on May 10, 2009, 10:10 PM report to moderator
156 Points

For Mr. Goldenberg:

1.) Your last three movies have all been based on successful novels with a huge fanbase (OOtP, Peter Pan and Contact). Did that affect your approach in writing the screenplay? If so, how?

2.) Your last three movies have all been solidly in the world of fantasy/sci-fi. Is that your preferred genre? If you could work on any screenplay in the future, which one would you like to tackle?

3.) You’ve worked with three incredible directors on your last projects: David Yates, P.J. Hogan, and Robert Zemekis. What would you say was the #1 thing you took away from each experience?

4.) Ralph Fiennes was originally cast to play Palmer Joss in “Contact”, which would have made an extreme character comparison to his role as Voldemort. If you could cast any other character in this role, who would it be? And if you could cast Ralph Fiennes in any other role within the Potterverse, who would it be?

PS: Can you tell I’m SO EXCITED to meet Michael Goldenberg? Contact is one of my all-time fave movies, and I have yet to watch Peter Pan without crying. He is SO TALENTED!!

Posted by jords on May 11, 2009, 12:06 AM report to moderator
39234 Points

this truly will be an amazing opportunity. speaking and interacting with someone who was so heavily involved with the movie will be absolutely brilliant. everyone going are soooo lucky :D

Posted by iLoveDolores [FTC!] on May 11, 2009, 08:01 AM report to moderator
15914 Points

Was it really necessary to not have a Quidditch scene in OOTP? Did you take part with that decision?

Posted by Mhæy™⌠R☺AR⌡ on May 11, 2009, 01:28 PM report to moderator
8069 Points

I don’t have any questions that haven’t already been listed. Have fun at LeakyCon everyone!!!

Posted by Melinae ♥Squee♥/Professor Truffle on May 11, 2009, 02:23 PM report to moderator
1591 Points

How did you come to the decision to focus more on the power-struggle between Harry/Hogwarts and Umbridge as opposed to the internal struggle Harry was having with his dawning awareness that Voldemort had a connection to his mind and how that impacted Harry’s character?

Posted by bookmonster79 on May 11, 2009, 02:25 PM report to moderator

Hi Michael.

- The film seems more focused than most of the HP films, and really seems built around the theme of isolation, and Harry’s sense of being victimised and alone. Was this a conscious decision of yourself and David Yates, and did you use this as the criteria for deciding what should be cut?

- After reading Deathly Hallows it was odd to note that because Snape’s “Mudblood” jibe at Lily wasn’t in the film, the irony of Snape’s Worst Memory (that the bad memory was of Lily and not of James) will now be lost in the films. Was JK Rowling happy with this cut, since a film audience in 2011 is unlikely to remember a brief scene they saw in 2007 anyway?

- Ginny has a smaller role in the film than in the book, which seems odd given her role later in the series. Was there more of her in the original screenplay?

- I thought your sense of “how British people speak” was a big improvement on the previous films, which all had an odd combination of “how Americans THINK British people speak” moments (“holy cricket!”), and American terms that British people simply wouldn’t use (“Potions finals”, Harry calling Mr Weasley “sir”, etc.). Did you research any of this, and did David Yates have any input?

Posted by JackHarkness on May 12, 2009, 06:19 AM report to moderator
76 Points

Do you take pride in your judaism, or do you repress it? :]

Posted by iampadfoot on May 17, 2009, 11:36 AM report to moderator
28 Points

Hi Michael, thanks so much for being here! In OotP, the most dramatic change from book to screen in all five movies thusfar takes place – the RAGE that Harry expresses in Dumbledore’s office after Sirius’s death was replaced by an incredibly calm discussion in the film – I have heard Dan say this was because the filmmakers thought that that scene’s emotional weight could be conveyed quietly, but I disagreed – How was the decision made to make such a DRAMATIC change and why? Thanks again, Dawn K

Posted by DawnK on May 17, 2009, 11:53 AM report to moderator
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