Chris Columbus recently revealed that he thought he was going to get fired off Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone while they were filming.
The Harry Potter franchise appears to be in trouble at the moment for several reasons. J.K. Rowling has been in hot water the last few years for comments she has made about the transgender community while Johnny Depp was recently replaced by Mads Mikkelsen as Gellert Grindlewald after losing a court battle over libel. The Fantastic Beasts franchise might be struggling to find its footing, but there’s no denying that the Harry Potter film series is one of the most successful ever and it all started with director Chris Columbus.
The Harry Potter film series has seen multiple directors take the helm of the story, but Chris Columbus was the first. During a recent interview with Collider, Columbus opened up about the pressure of making Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone 20 years ago:
“The first film was fraught with anxiety for me. The first two weeks I thought I was gonna get fired every day. Everything looked good, I just thought if I do one thing wrong, if I fuck up, I’m fired. And that was intense. I didn’t let any of that show on the set, there was no frustration, I’m not a screamer, I get along with everybody and I want everybody to feel like they’re part of the family, so I just had to hide that side of my emotions.”
The Harry Potter films from Chris Columbus were extremely faithful to the books and also featured lengthy runtimes. As it turns out, the original cut screened in Chicago was even longer:
“By the time we finished the film and we screened it in Chicago – it’s good luck for us to screen our films in Chicago, so back in the day when we could go to a movie theater we would fly to Chicago and show the film to an audience – the audience loved it. The audience just ate up the film. The film was two hours and fifty minutes long at that point and the kids thought it was too short and the parents thought it was too long.”
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone ended up being a massive hit, grossing around $1 billion worldwide and furthered the worldwide phenomenon. Once the first film came out, Columbus’ experience on Chamber of Secrets was much more enjoyable before he eventually handed off the series to Alfonso Cuaron:
“So I started to feel a little relief, and then when the first movie opened well I had so much more fun on Chamber of Secrets. It was like night and day, because then I could really let loose a little bit and bring a little bit more of my particular style to the movie. That was a very specific choice, the style of the first Potter movie, but part of it we were boxed into because as I said we had three cameras on the kids at a time. They were brand new, they had never been on movie sets, so they would say a line and they would look into the camera and smile. The first week they were just so delighted that they were in Harry Potter, it meant the world to them, so they would just be smiling like they were in a trance. So that was something we had to overcome as well.”
Do you consider Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone a classic? Who is your favorite Harry Potter director? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Here is the official synopsis for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald:
At the end of the first film, the powerful dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald was captured by MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America), with the help of Newt Scamander. But, making good on his threat, Grindelwald escaped custody and has set about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise wizards and witches up to rule over all non-magical beings.
Directed by David Yates from a script written by J. K. Rowling, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald stars Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Zoë Kravitz, Callum Turner, Claudia Kim, William Nadylam, Kevin Guthrie, Jude Law, and Johnny Depp.
Fantastic Beasts 3 is currently scheduled for a July 15, 2022 release. Stay tuned for all the latest news on the Harry Potter franchise and be sure to subscribe to Heroic Hollywood’s YouTube channel for more video content!