MyLeaky Login

Join the largest Harry Potter Social Network on the Web! | FAQ

In the News

Steve Kloves: "In a Cynical World, 'Potter' Stands Apart"

DH Film
Posted by: Rosi
November 11, 2010, 10:49 AM

Steve Kloves, screenwriter for seven of the eight Harry Potter films, has given a rare interview to the LA Times' HeroComplex Blog. Kloves speaks about the difficult position of writing for the successful book series, commenting, “If people like a ‘Harry Potter’ movie, it’s because of the book [...] But if they don’t like it, then it’s my fault.”

Kloves reflected on his initial choice to adapt Harry Potter and the Philosophers' Stone, having been sent a list of titles Warner Bros. held the rights for and were looking to make into films:

“The truth is ‘Potter’ was really strange for me, right from the beginning, it wasn’t the sort of thing I ever expected to be doing,” he said. “It was really, really nice in many ways but always a little odd…. I always saw myself writing movies that, you know, people don’t go see.”

“At that point, this was 1998, ‘Potter’ wasn’t that big a deal here in the States, and later one of my friends said to me, ‘If it had been on the cover of Time magazine before you signed up, you never would have done it,’” Kloves said. “And that’s absolutely the case.”
The screenwriter also spoke to his friendship with Jo Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books:
“The single greatest thing I take from the experience of the past 10 years is becoming friends with Jo. That’s a separate thing from all of this now, separate from ‘Potter,’ and it’s become a very important part of my life. I used to say she’s the coolest chick on the face of the planet. You read that first book and you thought, ‘Angela Lansbury wrote this book,’ then you meet her and she knows all of your music references and she’s funny. The first thing you pick up sitting down with her though is the intelligence. We had to make movies as smart as her books and as smart as her.”

Kloves is proud of the work he’s done but he still gets spooked by its reach and ripple. “I still don’t understand the magnitude of it,” he said. “I only catch glimpses of the size in my peripheral vision. It kind of freaks me out.”
Kloves further commented on why he thinks Potter is unique:
“In a cynical world, ‘Potter’ stands apart,” Kloves said. “Look, to take a dystopian stance as a writer or a filmmaker is not that difficult. It’s much harder to be earnest about things like loyalty and courage and friendship. Jo Rowling has been able to deal with these things in her books without being saccharine.”
HeroComplex Blog also spoke to Executive Producer David Heyman about Steve Kloves. Heyman said he could think of "no other screenwriter who can capture an author's voice" as successfully as Kloves:
“He did so in ‘The Wonder Boys’ and hehas done so in all the Harry Potter films he has written. He has the ability to get inside an author’s head and bring their voice to the script, to the screen. That is the greatest of so many gifts he has given to the Harry Potter films. There were even times when he wrote scenes that were not in the book that Jo said she wished she had thought of. He understood what to leave in, what to leave out, he gave the characters their voices, he was able to turn on a dime, from a dramatic moment to a comedic moment, from the intimate to the epic and he was able to adapt to the styles and demands of each of the four directors and give them what they needed and wanted. The Harry Potter films would be much less without him.”
You can read the full interview at this link on the HeroComplex Blog.

Thanks, Jamie, for emailing in!

Previous Article | Next Article Browse all Recent DH Film News

38 Comments

Tumblr_mvvctnikjv1qcanm1o1_r1_250_1__thumb
49341 Points

FIRST! I kinda like this guy, he makes sense.

Posted by MJB™ on November 11, 2010, 10:54 AM report to moderator
Safe_image_thumb
209 Points

Props to you Steve…:)

Posted by Picazo on November 11, 2010, 11:26 AM report to moderator
Capture10_thumb
16258 Points

OotP was the worst movie because he didnt write it :D

Posted by Gryffindor1991 {ROAR!!!} on November 11, 2010, 11:35 AM report to moderator
98143829_thumb
1910 Points

He is awesome like everyone else who have helped so Harry Potter could come alive!!!

Posted by Jane_Potter on November 11, 2010, 11:39 AM report to moderator
Movies_ootp_premieries_imax_001_thumb
5389 Points

Steve was just awesome.

Posted by Azaad Potter The Chosen One [ROAR] on November 11, 2010, 11:48 AM report to moderator
Noavatar-thumb
96 Points

Kloves was just awful. He butchered the characterizations horribly, particularly Ron, and Hermione to lesser extent (highly ironic, since he named Hermione his favorite character).

His love for Hermione made him do stupid things like giving lines and actions that belonged to Ron or Dumbledore to her, making Hermione a Pink Power!Granger character that doesn’t resemble the canon one from books at all. Other characters (especially Ron) suffered horribly from Kloves’ Hermione favoritism.

Makes me sad to think about how much better the movies could have been with some other writer.

Posted by j@m on November 11, 2010, 12:20 PM report to moderator
Budgie_thumb
12005 Points

I just thought the other movies suffered from focusing on major plotlines at the expense of minor plotlines.

Posted by budgie on November 11, 2010, 12:57 PM report to moderator
Prophecy_thumb
799 Points

Kloves is a talentless !##$#. The reason he's used to writing movies that people don't go see is because he can't write. People love the movies because they are Harry Potter not because they are good. I can't tell you how many people have told me that they never read any of the books until they watched Prisoner of Azkaban. The movie totally confused them and they had no idea what was going on. So the read the books and were all "Oh, THAT was what was going on. Awesome." He has left out entire plotlines and rewrote them according to what he wanted. Also, the Shrunken Head is the only thing I've ever heard Jo say she wished she'd written (I could have missed something on that front but I've never read or heard any interview where she mentioned anything except that one thing). In short, and if I may be so bold as to reiterate, Kloves is a talentless @#$%$#.

Posted by DeliaDee on November 11, 2010, 12:59 PM report to moderator
Noavatar-thumb

Kloves- simply a Hermoine obsessive who has no feel for the books whatsoever. Appalling.

Posted by Beazle on November 11, 2010, 01:05 PM report to moderator
Dh_poster_high_res_thumb
60 Points

I didn’’t envy Steve Kloves the job of trying to condense the books into a screenplay. The only way we book-lovers would have been happy is if every movie had been a 2-part-er (which is really impractical). However, he did make Ron’s character little more than a third wheel — which is COMPLETELY wrong! He gave most of Ron’s best lines to Hermoine. Even my husband (who has only seen the movies and not read the books) has asked me “what does Ron do?” There’s a reason why Harry & Hermoine don’t make any progress after Ron walks out.

I am extremely curious how a lot of the “skipped” plot lines are going to be resovled in these final two films. It’ll be interesting to see how Kloves wrote out of the hole he dug for himself.

Posted by elsabetharia on November 11, 2010, 02:24 PM report to moderator
Dh_poster_high_res_thumb
60 Points

I didn’’t envy Steve Kloves the job of trying to condense the books into a screenplay. The only way we book-lovers would have been happy is if every movie had been a 2-part-er (which is really impractical). However, he did make Ron’s character little more than a third wheel — which is COMPLETELY wrong! He gave most of Ron’s best lines to Hermoine. Even my husband (who has only seen the movies and not read the books) has asked me “what does Ron do?” There’s a reason why Harry & Hermoine don’t make any progress after Ron walks out.

I am extremely curious how a lot of the “skipped” plot lines are going to be resovled in these final two films. It’ll be interesting to see how Kloves wrote out of the hole he dug for himself.

Posted by elsabetharia on November 11, 2010, 02:24 PM report to moderator
Noavatar-thumb

Wow, the Kloves hate returns. I’ve always found it funny how Potter fans were always looking for where to lay the blame when they disliked certain aspects of the movies, and it always struck me how they seemed to believe Kloves was solely responsible for the fact that the movies had to be cut down and compressed from the books. Do you guys really think the screenwriter has that much control over what goes in or what comes out? Believe me, unless he or she is also producing or directing a film, a screenwriter is very low on the totem pole. If segments of the story were left out, it was most likely a decision by the director and producers, or even the editor of a film (if it’s cut after it’s been filmed). There’s evidence that Steve Kloves did his best at the beginning of the series to try and fit as much of the book plotlines into the films as he could (it wasn’t his decision to eliminate Peeves from the first film, for example, it was a combination of the director and the producers). Screenwriters often just do as they are told, and not everything you end up seeing on the screen is a decision by the screenwriter…directors can add dialogue to scenes (or take dialogue out), or they can decide to have actors ad lib (which means the screenplay becomes useless at that point). Some of what happened to Ron likely happened because of the producers, who probably wanted to create more of a distinction between the characters, making Hermione more brainy and Ron more of the comedic relief, so they weren’t simply male and female versions of the same sidekick…I’m not saying it’s right, or justified, but it has happened in adaptations of books into films that Steve Kloves had nothing to do with (Merry and Pippin were not simply comic relief in the Lord of the Rings book series, but they became that in the films, simply because a film needs to be more streamlined and exaggerated, in a lot of ways).

And to be fair, when you put down Steve Kloves in such harsh terms, you’re really kind of dumping on Jo Rowling herself. There are multiple interviews where she has expressed her admiration for Steve Kloves and his adaptations of her books, and SHE is one of the main factors the films started to diverge more and more from the books around the time Prisoner of Azkaban was being made by Cuaron…Rowling has stated in interviews that she wanted the films to be a different entity, NOT a carbon-copy of the books, and while she was glad that Chris Columbus had been faithful in adapting the first two books (something he was ordered to do, by the way, and the reason the studio didn’t hire someone like Terry Gilliam, who wanted to do everything his own way), she wanted the films to have their own sense of personality and life. Also, Kloves didn’t “skip” plotlines, believe me…there is evidence (again, from interviews, joint interviews with Jo Rowling on the DVDs) that he was constantly in contact with her, asking if certain characters were going to be important in later books, just so he wouldn’t write a character out that was going to be crucial later on. I’m actually kind of amazed at how well he’s managed all of that (yes, it was sad to see characters like Dobby written out of Goblet of Fire, but by giving Neville the opportunity to give Harry the gillyweed, considering Neville’s strength in Herbology, actually makes more sense than the book’s plotline, and strengthens Neville’s character). Switching Ron’s Quidditch team plotline from Order of the Phoenix to Half-Blood Prince didn’t have any negative effect at all, to be honest.

Kloves is by no means talentless…Before the Potter movies even began he was a well-respected writer in the film scene. If Jo Rowling or the producers or the directors or Warner Brothers themselves had wanted to replace him, they could have…he doesn’t hold some sort of mystic Sword of Damocles over their heads. He’s there because they all want him to be there. So give the guy just a modicum of respect, okay? Don’t just stick to your beliefs based on your emotions, actually sit down and look at the facts of a situation before you start heaping blame onto one person.

Posted by critterfur on November 11, 2010, 02:49 PM report to moderator
146_thumb
1258 Points

I would not want his job. There are literally thousands of people that hate him for “butchering” the HP films. I think he’s done a reasonable job with the movies. I just wish he wasn’t such a Harry/Hermione shipper. All my friends that haven’t read the books, and have just seen the movies are convinced that Harry and Hermione have been secretly dating throughout the movies. It really comes across in the films that he leaves out the Ron/Hermione aspect. That’s all I have to complain about though. He seems like a smart guy.

Posted by Darth Mary on November 11, 2010, 02:52 PM report to moderator
Sales_calendars_2011_042_thumb
393 Points

@Mary Malfoy – That is exactly what i think too..

He inserts too many H/Hr moments in the film which actually makes the film Hermione and the film Harry different from the book Hermi and book Harry…If you take the H/Hr dance in the deathly Hallows for instance,,it is totally out of character for Harry..The book Harry is very bad at handling women who cry and that is the reason his relationship with Cho did not work out..When Hermione cries, Harry is the kind of person who would just throw a blanket on her and walk away..But in the film, he is seen comforting her and having a dance with her when his best friend has left them…it is so out of character for Harry and it looks like they dont care about Ron at all!…

Posted by hermy on November 11, 2010, 03:16 PM report to moderator
Noavatar-thumb

Well said critterfur, if Jo’s happy with the movies and has had her input that should be good enough for everyone. I love all of the films and watch them and read the books constantly. I’m just so grateful to everyone involved in producing them.

Posted by Dumblebridge on November 11, 2010, 03:25 PM report to moderator
You must be logged in to MyLeaky to comment. Please click here to log in.

Finding Hogwarts
PotterCast Interviews Jo Rowling! Click here to Listen! The Books Everything...Half-Blood Prince...and the rest of the HP Films Leaky Apps
Learn to knit your own 'Weasley Sweater'. Learn to brew your own 'Butterbeer'. Find out how at Leaky Crafts!

Guess That Book

"Once a champion has been selected by the Goblet of Fire, he or she is obliged to see the tournament through to the end. The placing of your name in the goblet constitutes a binding, magical contract. There can be no change of heart once you have become a

Scribbulus Essay Project

Issue 28 - Jul. 2014

Scribbulus is THE place for Leaky Cauldron readers to submit their essays and opinion pieces!
See more over at Scribbulus!