June 15, 2011
Director David Yates lets us in on his thoughts and process while making “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2,” the penultimate chapter of the mega blockbuster franchise. As well as his plans after its release. Clue: A vacation from wizards is in the offing.
Question: With the characters and the actors now older, and this being the final film, did you find that it was a lot different than working this time than before?
David Yates: You know, because they’re getting older and they’ve had more experience of life; they’ve had more experience on the film set. This is the last time they get to play these characters. And the material was, in some ways, more nuanced than it’s ever been. And so all of those things together meant that they had to step up a notch, and they were really ready for that; they were really enthusiastic. And it’s just that they’re getting older and we can explore some deeper things as they get older as actors.
Q: You came into the series at sort of that middle point. When did you realize the magnitude of the fan base. And what did you think about it?
Yates: It was probably a phase in the cycle around about this stage when you do your interviews and you meet the press and walk up the red carpet. Obviously, you notice the fact that it’s globally popular, but it’s just when the fans come from Mexico or Argentina and camp out all night, you realize what it means to them. And it’s a huge responsibility, actually. Also, there are massive expectations on every movie, and in a curious way, you do your very best with the film. And I’m very proud of this film.
Q: How have you survived directing four massive blockbusters in a row?
Yates: Do you know, it’s like running four marathons. It’s tough, I have to tell you. I mean, the process energizes to a certain extent, and the most tiring part of the process, I think, is the promotional side for me. Honestly, it’s lovely to me that people are going to give their feedback on the film. I mean, meeting people from all over the world you get all sorts of different perspectives on the work. And it’s always useful. The work lifts me up and the sort of promotional side I always find hard actually. It’s just tough.
Q: On the last day with Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, when they were on set together and filmed their final scene, what was that like?
Yates: We shot the scene on the viaduct, outside Hogwarts, and it was really peaceful. It was a really sunny day. It was all backlit. And it’s a very tender scene where they sort of reflect on everything that’s happened, all the battles and everything, and they hold hands, and the camera falls away. It’s a really tender, lovely scene. I said to them, ‘Look, guys, this is the last scene we’re all going to do with you three together in front of the camera. So, it’s not just the last scene of these three characters in the movie, this is your last scene in this series of films. That’s what today is about.’ And it infused it with a kind of emotion which was really moving actually.
Q: Did you ever talk to Jo Rowling about adapting these books and the choices you made, particularly in terms of its contemporary feel?
Yates: We never had a big conversation about that because it was very present in the book. She read the script and she was totally cool about the way we’d adapted it. She was always just very enthusiastic about the whole first script, generally. But she’s been really helpful and we had a good chat about a couple of scenes in Part 2. I asked her, ‘What were you thinking when you wrote these scenes?’ And she was really helpful.
Q: Jo was a producer on this film, so how was that? How was her expanded role on it?
Yates: You know, it hasn’t really changed from the other movies, honestly. She’s just always our biggest supporter. And always very graceful and kind and I think, because she’s been there throughout, it was time her name was up there. She wants to be up there with us; it’s a real privilege.
Q: Are you going to take a vacation when you’re all done?
Yates: I promise I’m going to take a vacation. [Laughs]
Q: Do you have another movie brewing after all this?
Yates: I’ve got so many scripts coming in, I can’t tell you. In fact, I told them to stop sending them. [Laughs] Because I haven’t read any of them. They’re just all piled up. But I’m so ambitious, I can’t tell you. It’s a strange thing about Harry Potter because I don’t feel any sense of ownership, in a way. I don’t feel territorial about it. I feel it’s a bit of a national treasure that I’m curating. For everything I can enter, I try and do my very best. And I’m very proud of the work I’ve done. But post-Potter, my career sort of starts again really. And I won’t feel like I’ve made four of the biggest films in the world. I’ll feel like, ‘Well, that’s it. I’ve done Potter now.’ And I’ll have all these beautiful scripts and I can begin in a way. That’s my plan. And I’m going to do big things and tiny little things. And they won’t have wizards in them.
Q: No wizards?
Yates: No wizards.
(Distributed by Warner Bros., “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” will be released in Philippine theatres and IMAX, in 3D and 2D, beginning July 14, 2011.)
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