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LA Times Interview with Screenwriter Steve Kloves on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

HBP Film
Posted by: sue
June 17, 2009, 01:33 PM

The Hero blog for the LA Times is launching a Harry Potter countdown with a series of new articles, the first being a new and rare interview with screenwriter Steve Kloves. In this interview, Mr. Kloves speaks about some canon tidbits he learned while working with Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, some of the pivotal moments in his adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, including the decision to cut out some scenes, as well as the final dramatic moments of the story, with the screenwriter giving high praise to actor Alan Rickman as Snape.While the entire interview is quite fascinating and well worth reading, here are some particular quotes of interest:

What, if anything, can you say about the climactic moment between Snape and Dumbledore? In the book, it’s a short but intense scene.
It is informed by everything [Potter readers] have come to know is true. So if you watch the film carefully, there are performance moments that are quite extraordinary, Alan Rickman [who plays Snape] especially. There is something we added that you can look forward to, a short scene between Harry and Snape prior to the big event. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays to the audience. It should be a haunting moment for Harry. While I was writing, I just had a notion about a moment between him and Snape, something Harry could look back on and question as to why he didn’t act differently.
I’ve also read that most of Dumbledore's pensieve memories of young Voldemort, then Tom Riddle, have been cut from the film. (Not to mention: Dumbledore's funeral!)

In my original draft, I had every single memory but one, I believe. I even dramatized a couple of things that weren’t in the book in terms of Voldemort, like the death of Tom’s parents, things like that. I'm a Harry Potter fan, so my first drafts tend to reflect that, in that they tend to be long and all-inclusive. When [director] David Yates came in, he had a very specific point of view, which was that he wanted to showcase Voldemort’s rise without getting overly involved with his past as Riddle. He didn’t think that most of the memories would be as compelling on-screen as they are on the page. He liked them in the script, but he really felt that in the movie experience Voldemort’s story was more important than young Riddle‘s. We went back and forth on that for quite a bit. But he was very convincing, and I think it wound up working out well.
Are there any other changes or additions that you can talk about?
I know one thing David is very proud of is getting Quidditch right. I do think it’s the first time that it feels like a sport. And it’s comic, which is fun. Rupert Grint [who plays Ron] is great. We also do a lot with the kids coming of age, navigating sexual politics and all that. It’s pretty interesting to see these characters doing that because the movies have always been a bit chaste, and they continue to be on some level, but there’s more happening in this one. You realize how complicated it is between boys and girls. It’s a lot of fun seeing Ron navigate his first girlfriend
What kind of things do you run by Rowling?

A range of things, even something really simple. I once asked about the 12 uses of dragon’s blood, which is referenced in the books. There are writers who would write “12 uses of dragon’s blood” and not have a clue what they are; it just sounds cool. But I emailed her to ask (and this was 10 years ago), and 25 seconds later I get an email back with a list.
Do tell. She's only mentioned "oven cleaner" in interviews.
One is an oven cleaner, yes. Another is a spot remover. . . . It was really amazing. Really, the books are only the thinnest surface of what she knows about the series. Where Jo is helpful in a more serious way for me is when I want to know more about motivation or background, when Harry realized certain things, when characters understood things. There was one case where I was violating a plot thing -- it had something to do with Dobby, I think -- and she said, "No, you don’t want to do that," as she knew what was to come. She’s a great resource for problem solving and she has such a facile mind, she can help with complicated things. Though her plots are so fiendish that they’re really difficult for cinema.

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3703 Points

“He liked them in the script, but he really felt that in the movie experience Voldemort’s story was more important than young Riddle‘s.”

Wait, aren’t those the same things though? “Voldemort’ story” “Riddle’s story”?

I wish they kept in all the memories. I would love to see the Gaunt House. =(

Posted by Christine on June 17, 2009, 01:52 PM report to moderator
341 Points

I agree there should be a moment between Snape and Harry before it happens, but I don’t think Snape going “Shh” is the right kind of moment. It’s like he’s winking at him almost. I’d be more happy if Snape was the one who froze Harry in place.

Posted by ScottMan on June 17, 2009, 01:54 PM report to moderator
3703 Points

Oh, and I just HAVE to say this: why isn’t Dumbledore’s funeral in? Okay, I know that they have that raising wands part but … Dumbledore’s funeral! I mean, come on. They had a ceremony for Cedric – and he’s not as important as Dumbledore.

Posted by Christine on June 17, 2009, 02:00 PM report to moderator
2417 Points

I think for us die hard fans we wouldn’t mind 4-5 hour movies if they got every little detail in – at least I wouldn’t – but that isn’t reality and many wouldn’t watch the movies and then they’d flop and they wouldn’t make any movies at all – and then I’d have nothing to look forward to!!! OMG, no. So, as much as I don’t like them messing with things, guess it’s the lesser of evils.

Posted by Hagrid 713 (ROAR) on June 17, 2009, 02:10 PM report to moderator
1642 Points

amazing interview. I was always really happy with Kloves as scriptwriter. and you see? its not screenwriters fault for everything! and so many people were against him.thank God we have him. because script for OOTP – ew.

Posted by Matea on June 17, 2009, 02:36 PM report to moderator
13596 Points

This interview doesn’t exactly make me happy, but what are you going to do?

Posted by Garden State Geek on June 17, 2009, 02:39 PM report to moderator
13596 Points

This interview doesn’t exactly make me happy, but what are you going to do?

Posted by Garden State Geek on June 17, 2009, 02:39 PM report to moderator
159 Points

“There’s one moment in “The Chamber of Secrets” that I don’t like, where Hagrid enters Hogwarts at the end of the movie and the whole group of assembled students applaud him. That would not happen. And it really upset me. I felt it was a real violation of character."

He’s SO right (:

Posted by Lilleby on June 17, 2009, 02:56 PM report to moderator
4630 Points

I really wish they would’ve included more memories…

Posted by Live Laugh Love Potter ♥ROAR♥ on June 17, 2009, 03:08 PM report to moderator
2661 Points

I used to dislike Kloves because his scripts for HP were just… not true to the books. But now I know that’s the director’s fault. Now I dislike Yates.

Dumbledore’s funeral is not in the movie?! This is terrible, I think it’s really important. :-(

Posted by Wingardium Leviosa ❄WBM❄ on June 17, 2009, 03:18 PM report to moderator
8256 Points

Why is the funeral not in the movie? I was so looking forward to seeing Ron comforting Hermione! Agghhhhh!

Posted by spicefan78 OoM1 {ROAR!} on June 17, 2009, 03:21 PM report to moderator
80450 Points

I think Lord Of The Rings proved that the public WILL go to long serialized movies, IF, they are worth seeing… HP done “right” would be more than worth seeing, IMHO

Posted by Won_Two on June 17, 2009, 03:23 PM report to moderator
337 Points

I can’t belive they haven’t put Dumbledore’s funeral in!!!! They put in a wholenew fight but can’t out Dumbledore’s funeral in near the end! I think he should have gotten a good send off from the flims!

But other than that (lol) really glad he’s back!

Posted by krystle on June 17, 2009, 04:00 PM report to moderator
71 Points

So it was Yates’s decision to cut out all the memories! I’m really worried about Deathly Hallows now.

Posted by Goury on June 17, 2009, 04:16 PM report to moderator
2573 Points

Wouldn’t you just love to sit with JKR and ask her all of those questions like he did? I can only imagine how much of the stories she still has left unknown to the rest of us…COULD YOU JUST IMAGINE NEW INFO FROM JKR??? I would die on the spot!! :)

Posted by ErinM {Roar} on June 17, 2009, 04:30 PM report to moderator
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