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David Yates on Emma Watson in Half-Blood Prince: Much More Confident

HBP Film
Posted by: sue
July 02, 2009, 12:28 PM

The Telegraph has a new interview with David Yates where he reflects on his second stint as director of a Harry Potter film, this being the upcoming Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Mr. Yates notes he has now settled in and is feeling more situated as he directs his second Harry Potter film, saying "Oddly, that meant that when I started this one, I was a little bit warier of everything rather than being more confident. The first time round you just do it; you just go for it. But I have settled in and this one’s quite different from the last one. It’s a little bit more grown up and a bit wittier. It’s a different vibe.”

That different vibe is seen in the actions of the cast on screen in Half-Blood Prince, with David Yates giving high marks to the actors. “I think the cast are getting better and better,” Yates says, “and Emma certainly seems much more confident this time. She really moved on in the last one, but now she’s even more at ease. And Dan, having done Equus, he’s just finding moments and beats that are really surprising and lovely.”

He also speaks to visualising on the screen some of the events merely written about in the novel by J.K. Rowling:“I remember when Jurassic Park came out and that was quite a violent movie, with all these cutting-edge special effects,” Yates says. “But because it was Steven Spielberg, people said, 'We think kids will go with it.’ “And I think that’s true here: because it’s Harry Potter and because of the fanbase, I think there’s a higher tolerance for what we can present to the audience. The viewers know the world and they’ve read about these things and they’ve experienced it on the page. Hence we are able to do a little bit more than maybe other films can.” He smiles. “That’s the beauty of Harry Potter.”

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3271 Points

The only thing I’m worried about is that he added a whole new scene about the burrow burning down and being attacked…. I really wonder how they are going to use that for the last two films, since it is part of the scenery for a while.

Posted by Half-Blood Princess66[ROAR!] on July 03, 2009, 08:43 AM report to moderator
347 Points

I love his dedication, i just don’t think he’s best suited. Order of the Phoenix was the worst HP. Although i still liked it, it wasn’t the best. I just wanted the films to progress not fall drastically, in my opinion. Yates says that this film gives off a different vibe… i bloody well hope so. Because i DESPERATELY want this to be my favorite. And from what i’ve seen clips wise, it looks marvelous :)
So i’m on board with Yates, for now. Lets wait until the 15th.

Posted by HarryRichardsPotter on July 03, 2009, 09:56 AM report to moderator

Harry Richard hits the right note, tho let’s go further: we’ll need to wait until the credits are rolling on DH2 to really know if the films hold together.

Clarification: my concern is that the films as a whole hang together, not that the films should exactly mirror the books, or that non-readers/films-only folks won’t get something (tho, unlike Bockers, I have had to answer a fair number of questions from non-readers who have been puzzled by specific omissions from the movies. The Marauders Map in PoA in particular, as well as “So, who set the dementers on Harry?” in OotP). Each film has left things out, but some major, crucial ones were left out of OotP, and it sounds like others will be left out in HBP.

Specific examples? Ok, here’s just two. The Gaunts. We know they are left out of HBP, but the problem is not merely that we don’t get to “meet the Gaunts” but more importantly we are not being introduced to the Peverell Ring and Syltherin’s Locket. Since there are no Gaunts, then how those two important elements will be introduced becomes a question…hopefully answered in 13 days, right? Or, second,in OotP, there was no cleaning of Grimmauld Place scene, hence no reference to Kreacher stealing things back to treasure, nor to a locket…creating the need now for a flashback scene in DH1 to close the gap. And so on.

So, we wait and see. Putting out the chocolate bowl and leaving with a warm “help yourself” to all.

Posted by budb on July 03, 2009, 11:06 AM report to moderator
3048 Points

I am looking forward immensely to seeing how he handled the sixth installment!

Posted by Kirk on July 03, 2009, 06:23 PM report to moderator
1661 Points

I love Yates! He’s perfect and I’m so happy that he’s finishing the HP series!

Posted by cghambright on July 03, 2009, 07:54 PM report to moderator
1661 Points

I wonder if his comment at the end is why Half Blood Prince go the PG rating that’s annoying some people. Because they can get away with alot of stuff because it’s in the books and people accept it.

Posted by cghambright on July 04, 2009, 08:03 AM report to moderator
35 Points

In response to BudB’s remark – “regardless, we will line up and go to the movies, we will buy the dvds, and we will watch them countless times.”

Not true. I’m sick of being pissed when I leave the theater. I’m a writer and I know that not everything makes it into the film, but the RIGHT things must make it into the film. I am not going on opening night, or even the first couple of weeks. My local theater has a $6 ticket special, and that’s all I’m willing to spend. I still do not own OOtP on DVD, and I don’t plan on buying it. (I am tempted by possible extras as hinted at by a Matt Lewis interview I read today, but OOtP jumped the shark so bad I cringe at the thought of owning it.)

The worst part is that OOtP is so bad that I haven’t re-watched any of the other HP films since I saw that one. And now, they’re doing DH in 2 parts… Great. Let’s wait till the last film to do it correctly. Sounds like a plan…. oh, wait.

The problem is that they assume success when the money rolls even, even if the film is crap. Where’s the incentive to improve? Nonexistent.

Yates said in the article that “because it’s Harry Potter and because of the fanbase, I think there’s a higher tolerance for what we can present to the audience. The viewers know the world and they’ve read about these things and they’ve experienced it on the page. Hence we are able to do a little bit more than maybe other films can.” Um, I agree. Too bad WB is realizing this about 4 films too late.

As I’ve said before, I await the HP incarnation of Peter Jackson to come fix things in the future. It’s just really too bad that the cast is perfect NOW. If only the filmmaking and scripts were also, I would be happy indeed.

Posted by JennaSaisPas on July 05, 2009, 08:08 AM report to moderator
44049 Points

Sigh, I guess Emma couldn’t get worse :D

Posted by Dolemite [FTC!] on July 06, 2009, 02:20 PM report to moderator

ah, Jenna, when we think about what else is available to us to consume besides HP, then it becomes simpler. warts and all, HP is far superior to 99.9% of the crap that is out there.

Where we agree is that we want it done RIGHT, to use your emphasis, which I completely share. Its not a matter of everything in the books showing up on screen, its a matter of having an audience that walks out saying wow, that complicated story really made sense. And we agree that WB/various writers, directors, editors should have “got it right” from the start instead of being forced to plug holes in the final films, but since that is the situation let’s hope they figure out how to correct their mistakes rather than skate over them?

Being remarkably boring, I sat down the other night and drew up a list of major plot lines dropped from the films that need to be dealt with in HBP and DH. Actually, the fewest happened in SS and CoS. In SS, the main one was that Dumbledore’s Chocolate Frog card disappeared —and the reference to Grindelwald (scene filmed and deleted as we know); and perhaps in the hospital scene Harry should have asked “Why did Voldy want to kill me in the first place?” but that strikes me as less important.

In CoS, the Burgin and Burke’s scene with the vanishing cabinet was filmed and deleted…but we at least got a quick glimpse of the necklace. In brief, the Columbus/Kloves team did rather well, and without the benefit of having the remaining books in front of them!

and so on. I must admit that PoA did contain almost all crucial plot ingredients (the Marauders’ Map being a relatively annoying issue that would have taken, what, 30 seconds or less of dialogue? “The map never lies, we wrote it, me and remus and peter and james!”). And we know in hindsight that the weighing of the wands scene probably should have been in GoF (the Gregorovich reference…wonder how that will be introduced?)

But, in OotP..sheez. Having neglected to have just 30 seconds of dialogue here and there we have gaping issues that need to be addressed in HBP and DH. Two examples, both of which could have been avoided in the existing Black Family Tree scene: Sirius points to Family Tree..“that’s my brother Regulus, he joined the death eaters, etc” and “here (hands Harry wrapped package) take this, its a two way mirror”. Ok, Regulus now will be introduced in HBP, but the need to do so was self-inflicted. Working in the locket and Kreacher stealing back the goodies would have required perhaps 60-90 seconds of film…but as you know Yates firmly believes films cannot be too long since we have such short attention spans. And the Prophecy, the crucial linchpin of the entire series…we get Dumbledore simply saying “yes”??? No Trelawney made the Prophecy, and no reference to “someone” interrupting and passing the info on to Voldy? Internal to the film itself, we never learn that Umbridge sent the dementors after Harry… We agree, Jenna, as an individual film, and as one in a series that must hold together, OotP was very unsatisfying!

And there are other less important problems —having never mentioned or introduced Mundungus, he now suddenly will appear in DH with no character development or explanation? Dobby will miraculously show up and save the day? (Radcliff’s line “Gee Dobby, I haven’t seen you since 2005” is perfect!) These are just some of the self-inflicted problems that need to be addressed if the films as a whole will make sense.

As for HBP…right now, I’ll wait. One very easy fix would be to have Grint/Ron at the very end saying the words almost verbatim from the book: “Harry, before we go after horcruxes, you need to come to my place this summer. Remember ole Fleur Delacoeur? She’s marrying my oldest brother, Bill!”. What does that take to say, 20 seconds? Introduces Bill, reintroduces Fleur, sets the stage for the wedding… we’ll find out next week, huh? If something like that is not in HBP, then we are going to go “huh?”

Shrug, sorry, Yates is not my favorite director, more for what he leaves out of films and for his ridiculously silly comments about film-making than for what he puts into films.

Jenna, go back and enjoy the first films at least! Truly, why deprive yourself of the fun?

For the moment, as grumpy as I appear to be about how the films are progressing (based on what we read here and elsewhere), I’m inclined to skeptically wait and see, even until the credits roll on DH2. But clearly I’m waiting critically and not simply shouting “awesome” with each snippet of news…

Smile…when they finally get around to redoing HP (perhaps with Radcliffe playing Snape, which turns out to be the real juicy role), I fear I will be long gone… ;-)

And last…the problems with the films are annoying…but don’t they just underscore the overall brilliance of the novels, where clues are planted right from the start, new ones introduced, and so on over 7 volumes and thousands of pages? Wasn’t that half the fun of reading the books as they appeared, and re-reading them to find things we missed? ok, there were occasional gaffs and goofs, and some sloppy copy editing at times, and the sudden shift to the Hallows didn’t quite satisfy me to tell the truth… but what held (and holds) our attention and fascination is that JKR did something remarkable. We want the films to be as remarkable as the novels ;-)

Posted by budb on July 07, 2009, 04:08 PM report to moderator

Jenna, here’s a comment I posted in the Moviefone thread of July 3, which rather sums up my lack of appreciation of Yates, and in particular his comments regarding film. I also hold to my puckish belief that Evanna Lynch should be given complete veto power over all storyline matters! And, I think its clear you and I agree on most issues?

“I found Yates’ comment that so much was left out of OotP because the film was “over-stuffed” to be disingenuous and fake. As long-time Leaky readers will recall, Yates made it clear when starting work on OotP that he believes movies should never be more than 2 1/2 hours long from opening titles to closing credits. In brief, he imposed an artificial time barrier, since films can be any length, and the real issue is “how long does this specific film need to be in order to do the job right?”

2 1/2 hours obviously is considered the maximum length of time young children and short-attention span adults can sit still. It also allows for easier conversion to broadcast tv presentation, with space for commercials, which strikes me as the real explanation for that specific length.

For those unaware of this trend, which is found in both film and print media, I would point out that many publishers insist that a book manuscript must contain no more than a specific number of words, which translates roughly into so many pages. Then editors demand further cuts within chapters in order to get each chapter down to so many pages (the economic issue here is to reduce the number of pages required to print and bind the book; I know this from personal experience, and that of my professional colleagues.). Many publishers refuse to consider a book if it looks like it will run more than 300 printed pages total.

Imagine if JKR had been told, “Sorry, Goblet of Fire is just too long at 734 pages. Please cut at least 435 pages out or we won’t publish it.” And thank god for Arthur Levine and Scholastic for having better sense than to even consider such a thing.

What the HP books have proven, beyond any doubt whatsoever, is that if you give your audience high quality then the length is irrelevant. Wish the bean-counters in film and publishing would recognize that fact. And I wish Yates specifically, and the WB folks collectively, would also recognize that we are far more intelligent, and far more capable of sitting in our seats, than they seem to think."

Posted by budb on July 07, 2009, 04:28 PM report to moderator
4007 Points

keeping my fingers crossed

Posted by KC Nox on July 09, 2009, 11:25 AM report to moderator
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