Harry Potter director speaks!
is pleased to present the transcript of an exclusive live chat recently held
with "Harry Potter" director Chris Columbus. This transcript is
courtesy of AOL Live.
LIVEJessicaMae: As a HUGE 'Harry Potter' fan, I am thrilled to
announce that Chris Columbus has arrived! How are you tonight?
Chris Columbus: I'm doing great! Thank you. It's great to be on AOL!
LIVEJessicaMae: Fun! Let's get started. LHSVikingchic08 is ready to
dive right in. She writes:
Question: Hi, Chris. I really LOVED how true you stayed to the first book.
Is it true that this is the last 'Harry Potter' movie you will be working
on, because producers and scriptwriters don't want to follow the next five
books as a guide when making the movie? ~Cathy, Ohio
Chris Columbus: No, the real reason I'm not directing the next 'Harry
Potter' film is because I basically need more time to spend with my own
family. We will continue to be faithful to the story lines of the book, yet
we certainly will encourage Alfonzo Cuarón to bring his own vision and
magical style to the film.
LIVEJessicaMae: You'll be missed in Potterland, but it will be fun to
watch your other projects. Here's one from QBee27:
Question: As you know, everyone is a critic, especially when 'Harry Potter'
is concerned. Were there any particular script changes that you had to make
that you would like to defend?
Chris Columbus: We had to lose the Death Day party, and I do miss
LIVEJessicaMae: Poor Nearly Headless Nick!
Chris Columbus: ...to get everything we wanted into the film would
have taken -- the film would have been eight hours long.
LIVEJessicaMae: GundamXcalibur07 would like to know:
Question: Chris, is it true that you and some of the other cast are some of
the moving portraits in 'Chamber of Secrets'?
Chris Columbus: No, but some of our crew people are in those
portraits. There are paintings of Stuart Craig, production designer; Mark
Radcliffe, our producer and various other crew members.
LIVEJessicaMae: These questions are very cool and specific. JammyjIMS
Question: Is the fact that this movie's name is the same both in the United
States and internationally a nice change from the two different film titles
that you had to deal with last year ('Philosopher's Stone' vs. 'Sorcerer's
Chris Columbus: The name change didn't prove to be a big problem for
us last time. There were only three scenes where we needed to shoot
alternate footage for the films.
Question: Let's talk about Dobby. How did you prevent him from becoming the
Jar Jar Binks of 'Harry Potter'?
Chris Columbus: The key to Dobby is that we wanted to -- we hired a
stage actor to perform Dobby, and we wanted his performance to be very
realistic and natural.
LIVEJessicaMae: SweetLiLSk8tr asks:
Question: Has the atmosphere of the 'Harry Potter' set changed at all? I
know the stars -- Daniel, Emma and Rupert -- have grown up and all. Is that
extremely evident, or are they still chirpy young kids?
Chris Columbus: They've grown up and become much more confident and
self-assured as actors, but as people, they've remained the same. They're
still incredibly polite and down-to-earth.
LIVEJessicaMae: Did any pranks go on during the filming of the movie?
Chris Columbus: Certainly not as many pranks as the last film.
Everyone was pretty committed to their work.
LIVEJessicaMae: Here's one from Boots2LicKK:
Question: We know that Daniel Radcliffe had to learn Parseltongue for this
movie. How did you handle this language of snakes in the movie?
Chris Columbus: We essentially invented a language for Parseltongue.
We dealt with a linguistic expert from Oxford University, and I discussed
with him the sound and the feeling I wanted to get out of Parseltongue. He
went back and created an alphabet for Parseltongue, enabling us to translate
any English phrases into Parseltongue.
LIVEJessicaMae: Did you pick up on it at all? If so, do you ever use
it? It would be sweet to yell in snake -- LOL!
Chris Columbus: Well, I used it in the film, not in real life. If I
ever start speaking in Parseltongue in real life, it's time to have myself
LIVEJessicaMae: EnErGy985 has a good question:
Question: What do your children think about you directing 'Harry Potter'?
Chris Columbus: They love it, because they get to visit the set with
their classmates. And we've actually created so much of the world of
Hogwarts that it's like visiting various classrooms and corridors that exist
in Hogwarts. We've actually renamed the studio where we're shooting 'Harry
Potter' Potterland. It's a little joke amongst ourselves, because so much of
Harry Potter's world is built on those stages.
LIVEJessicaMae: Do you think that they will miss having you work on
Chris Columbus: Well, I certainly will miss the kids, and I believe
that our relationship was very strong and intensely collaborative. When you
do two films like this, you become very close with the actors. So we will
miss each other tremendously.
LIVEJessicaMae: Here's a hard one from SnowLover34:
Question: Describe your most difficult business challenge while making the
Chris Columbus: I have no comment. The question doesn't make any
sense to me.
LIVEJessicaMae: Let's talk about the cast. Here's one from C8jO99:
Question: Did cast additions like Kenneth Branagh fit in with the rest of
Chris Columbus: Yes. We went to Kenneth Branagh because he's an
incredible actor who can lose himself in a role. In other words, Ken
actually became Gilderoy Lockhart. When you see him on screen, you believe
he is Gilderoy Lockhart. And we needed an actor of his caliber to fit in
with great English actors like Maggie Smith, Richard Harris and Alan
LIVEJessicaMae: He's amazing. I can't imagine a better choice. Here's
another question about the cast. SweetLiLSk8tr asks:
Question: Do you think that the sudden and gigantic fame of the three stars
-- Emma, Rupert and Daniel -- will have a big effect on them?
Chris Columbus: We've been very careful to prepare them for that, and
obviously it's difficult to maintain a sense of anonymity when you are seen
by millions of people all over the world. So the kids tend to get recognized
on the street a little more, and their lives can be disrupted a little more
than two years ago. However, we want them to live as normal a life as
possible under these circumstances. And as a director, I encourage them to
take things like film premieres and talk shows with a grain of salt. In
other words, those things in life aren't really important or realistic, and
to always put your friends and family first.
LIVEJessicaMae: Sounds like they're lucky to have you has a director
and sort of mentor. Talksalot223 would like to know:
Question: How long did it take you to make the first and second 'Harry
Chris Columbus: The first one was shot in 150 days, and the second
film was shot in 165-170 days.
LIVEJessicaMae: A lot of fans are sad about the passing of Richard
Harris. SWIM bee x22 asks:
Question: What are you going to do about Dumbledore since Richard Harris
Chris Columbus: It's too early to make a decision, but in our minds
there's only one person we can think of as Dumbledore, and that's Richard
Harris. I'm sure as time passes we'll be able to make some sort of decision
about what will happen with that particular character, but it's going to
take some time.
LIVEJessicaMae: SugarRush68 wants to know:
Question: What was the most memorable thing to happen on the set of
'Chamber'? -- Ashley
Chris Columbus: Every day was memorable, but I think the first day
working with Kenneth Branagh was probably the most fun and exciting moment
for all of our cast members and crew people.
Question: Are you the only American on the set?
Chris Columbus: No, there are our co-producers, Mark Radcliffe and
Michael Barnathan. And our screenwriter, Steve Kloves, is American. We also
have an associate producer, Paula DuPré Pesman, who is also American, and
my assistant, Elizabeth Devereaux.
LIVEJessicaMae: Shout out to Elizabeth! HPTriviaClub sounds like a
Question: Hey, Chris. First of all, awesome job. And for my question, what
do you think of Internet piracy and movies? Do you think it will affect the
sales of not only 'Harry Potter,' but other movies as well?
Chris Columbus: I don't understand it, because as a film lover,
nothing seems more depressing than watching a horrible-quality version of a
film on the Internet. I think it's important to stop these people from
pirating films, and with 'Harry Potter,' we have a process in place that
will enable us to actually find the film pirates. Obviously we can't divulge
the method we are using, but it's a very high-tech method that will take us
directly to the doors of these people, and it's a process that will now be
used in almost every film that's released.
LIVEJessicaMae: Oooo, secret-agent type stuff, eh? Sounds cool.
SWIMGIRL3611 would like to know:
Question: What was the funniest thing that happened behind the camera? Can't
wait to see the movie!
LIVEJessicaMae: These are hard ones, LOL! Sounds like a serious set.
Chris Columbus: We were so serious about the work that we had very
little time to make jokes. But we spent a great deal of the day laughing,
particularly Rupert Grint, who played Ron Weasley. He seemed to laugh at
least once a day during each take, and his laughter was very contagious and
it would get all of us laughing.
LIVEJessicaMae: Which 'Harry Potter' book is your favorite?
Chris Columbus: 'Chamber of Secrets,' followed by 'Goblet of Fire.'
LIVEJessicaMae: Has that one always been your favorite?
Chris Columbus: It changes from time to time. When I was working on
'Sorcerer's Stone,' that was my favorite. And I think you need to fall in
love with the material that you are working with, as a director. And early
on, before I started directing the film, 'The Prisoner of Azkaban' was my
favorite. I do go back to the books every now and then and reread them
purely for pleasure. So next year at this time I could have a new favorite!
is diggin' a cast member we haven't talked about yet:
Question: Sean Biggerstaff is such an amazing actor! What was it like
working with him?
Chris Columbus: We knew when we first cast Sean that he had the
potential of being a big star. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of scenes
with Sean in the 'Harry Potter' film, but I believe that this young man will
be a major acting force in film.
LIVEJessicaMae: He's a cutie!
Chris Columbus: There's even one part of me that believes he may
someday be playing James Bond.
LIVEJessicaMae: We are almost out of time. Let's take a few more
Question: Do you have any other projects coming up in the near future?
Chris Columbus: No, we're working on -- obviously, I'll be producing
'Harry Potter III,' and I'm looking forward to producing the 'Fantastic
Four.' After that, I'll be doing a lot of reading and looking for my next
LIVEJessicaMae: Maverick934 asks:
Question: Is it true that the third 'Harry Potter' movie will not be coming
out until 2003?
Chris Columbus: The third 'Harry Potter' movie will be released
sometime in 2004, probably the summer.
LIVEJessicaMae: ::gasp!:: That's a long time. I'll be anxiously
waiting! Thank you so much for stopping by to chat about 'Harry Potter and
the Chamber of Secrets.' I wish that we could have gotten to more questions.
Chris Columbus: Thank you. It's been great to be here.
LIVEJessicaMae: Is there anything that you'd like to say to the fans?
Chris Columbus: Well, I feel 'The Chamber of Secrets' is the best
film I've directed up until this point in my career, and I think you will be
very happy with it. And thanks for all of your support over the years.
LIVEJessicaMae: Take care, and come see us again! I can't wait to see
the movie on Friday, Nov. 15! And thanks to the audience. Have a great
evening, and don't forget to check out Keyword: Harry Potter for movie
exclusives and more!