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Harry Potter Director Reflects on the Pressure of Casting Main Characters

Harry Potter director Chris Columbus reflects on the pressure that came with casting the main characters in one of the biggest movie series ever.

Chris Columbus, director of the first two Harry Potter movies, talks about the pressure he was under when casting one of the most iconic trios in film history. The franchise’s eight movies released over the span of ten years, from 2001 until 2011. Combined, all eight Harry Potter movies in the main series made a whopping $7.73 billion worldwide. They have been insanely popular since their release, spawning a stage play, spinoff films, and a section in the Universal Studios Theme Parks. Warner Bros.’ streaming platform HBO Max is also capitalizing on the Harry Potter hype by releasing some exclusive content.

Now that Sorcerer’s Stone is turning 20 years old, fans are talking about what could be next for the Wizarding World. Currently, the Fantastic Beasts films, which are prequels to the original series that take place in America instead of Britain, are still underway. The third installment, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, is due to release in 2022. Some fans have also been calling for an adaptation of the stage play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which picks up years after The Deathly Hallows and deals with Harry deciding to use a Time Turner to travel back in time. This allows fans to revisit some famous Harry Potter moments, but a film would have to deal with the loss of some cast members, most notably Snape actor Alan Rickman.

Now, Columbus talks about his experience casting the likes of Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson. In an interview with Jake’s Takes, Columbus mentions how quickly the pressure hit him that he would have to cast Harry and the others. He also discusses meeting with author J.K. Rowling and the support she gave him. Check out the full quote below:

I was, you know, once I got the job, there was about 20 minutes, 20 seconds, of euphoria, then I was filled with terror, anxiety because I knew the entire world is looking at this book series. If I screwed it up, I’d be in the witness protection program. So it was important for me to get it right, and I still had that sense of anxiety when I went to meet with J.K. Rowling and she said ‘What’s your vision for the film?’ I talked about it for two and a half hours, and she said at the end of that conversation ‘That’s exactly the way I see the film.’ As a result of that, I felt a tremendous amount of confidence because she was basically backing my vision of the film.

It is no surprise that Columbus felt the weight of the series on his shoulders. The book was immensely popular when it released, so he knew how massive the project would be, and if he got the Harry Potter casting wrong, he would never hear the end of it. Luckily, Columbus found young actors that not only embodied the roles, but were able to carry the weight of a massive movie franchise for a decade. The cast is undoubtedly one of the biggest reasons that the movies were successful, especially since many audience members were able to grow up with them over the course of the series.

While Columbus nailed the casting back then, some have talked about a potential reboot of the series, which is definitely one of the touchiest subjects for fans. One of the most important parts of this hypothetical Harry Potter reboot would be the cast, and fans have ideas for who should play the characters. But for now, it does not seem like a reboot movie series will be happening, and audiences can just enjoy the magic of Columbus’ casting in the original Harry Potter saga.

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