“I didn’t want to let fans down”: J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne on Creating ‘Cursed Child’

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Jun 12, 2016

Posted by: Emma Pocock | Comments

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Interviews, J.K. Rowling, JKR Interviews, News

Recently, BBC News interviewed Harry Potter and the Cursed Child show-makers J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne on the making of the play.

Interviewer Will Gompertz starts by asking about the process of three people co-writing one play.  After many discussions between the three creators, the story of Cursed Child was fleshed out and ready for writing. John Tiffany explains:

‘We didn’t start writing the play – or Jack didn’t – until we’d agreed on what that story was.’

Jack Thorne then started on writing the script that is soon to be published in (script)book form.

‘Jack produced an amazing script’ Jo Rowling says in reply to his ‘very self-depricating’ remarks about attempting to write a script.

Rowling then comments on her concerns prior to the play being released to the public:

‘I don’t think I realised how anxious I was … I mean, this is putting me back ten years. Potter attracted a lot of madness, and a lot of hype, and going back to that place, I realised on Wednesday night how anxious that had made me, because I knew how much expectation there would be, and I didn’t want to let fans down.’

Gompertz then asks if there’s a sense that Jo doesn’t ‘own’ Potter anymore. After so many fan creations, so much theorising about her stories and characters, this is a good question to ask. The level of expectation put on J.K. Rowling to deliver the stories that we want as fans could make it seem like the stories are almost ‘owned’ by the fanbase, but Rowling thinks otherwise:

‘I wouldn’t go that far, Will’ Rowling shoots back, whilst Tiffany and Thorne chuckle knowingly.

‘Because, you know, that would be – and I’m deadly serious – that would be to disavow what that world was to me.

Seventeen years that world was mine, and for seven of those years it was entirely mine – not a living soul knew anything about it. I can’t just uproot that from all those personal experiences that inform those stories and say, “I’m throwing that away now”, and that’s how that would feel.’

Jack Thorne chips in, saying:

‘As a fan, you want it to be her world, not our world … it’s her world that we’ve been allowed to play in.’

Will Gompertz then remarks to Director John Tiffany that ‘Jack and Jo had it easy’ in comparison, as Tiffany’s job is to ‘make their imagination a reality on stage’. Tiffany responds:

‘It’s not all bells and whistles, it’s not all glitter guns and cannons. Actually, a lot of it is very very simple magic and illusion, and stage craft … there’s not really a huge amount that could go wrong’

After provoking what was almost a whimper of fear from Jo Rowling in that last comment, Tiffany explains his rather laid-back attitude:

‘We’ve done it very very carefully, so it’s not kind of a wing and a prayer.’

Gompertz asks Rowling whether she could imagine ever creating another world which had as profound an impact as the Potter world:

‘No’ She replies, ‘and nor would I want to. I feel as though I did that, and I love it. It takes up so much mental space, it takes up a lot of space in the world now. I think I would be on a fool’s errand to try and do that again’.

Be sure to watch the full interview at the BBC here. This interview followed  The Guardian’s interview with the trio prior to Cursed Child‘s opening this week (here), and the New York Times’ coverage of a roundtable discussion with the cast and crew of Cursed Child here.





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.