David Yates Talks Burrow Scene, Deathly Hallows Film, and Life after Harry Potter
July 24, 2009, 09:09 AM
Director David Yates has given a new interview to Vanity Fair, where he discusses again the decision to add the attack on the Burrow scene to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, as well as weigh in with some thoughts on the look of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two and his career plans after the series has concluded. Notable quotes are as follows:
Can you give me an example of a particularly difficult choice you had to make in this last film? "One of the things we did was we added a sequence in the middle of
the movie—the sequence in the reeds when death eaters try and attack
Harry—and that sequence never existed in the book. In one sense it
seems mad to add something to Jo’s [read: J.K. Rowling’s] world and
Jo’s book. It’s already full of pretty rich, fantastic stuff—why on
earth would you add anything? But in the sort of two-and-a-half hour
structure of a screenplay there was a lack of a sense of jeopardy from
the outside. We were in all these romantic entanglements and I needed
to audience to be reminded of what the threat was from the outside
world. Jo talks about those things in the background in the book but
halfway through our book we needed our audience in the theater to be
aware of them and to experience them. So we added a sequence that
didn’t existed in the book but was there, I guess, in spirit because it
was happening beyond Hogwarts."
Did you run it by J.K. Rowling? I’m sorry: by “Jo”? "Yeah, Jo was totally cool about it. She recognized the challenge of it and the need for it."
On Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: "It’s just edgier. It’s a little rawer. It’s more contemporary. It
feels more modern. Shooting in the way we’ve been shooting, doing a lot
of hand-held camera work, all that stuff, I’ve never got a call from
the studio. They just phone up or email and say we love the dailies
even though I am doing things that feel very not Harry Potter. So I
feel I have a freedom and the elbowroom to do what I feel the story
So you’re hearkening back to your gritty days of State of Play? "Yeah, indeed. In Harry Potter Seven, part One, very much so. But, of course, Hallows
part Two brings that fantasy world back in full cinemascope. It’s full
of dragons, and big wizard battles, and magic. To keep the thing
interesting for me as a filmmaker, I want to serve the wonderful
stories Jo has given us but I need to move it around a bit. I can’t
feel that I am making the same film. Tonally, I need to shake it up a
bit. Like Half-Blood Prince had a lot more humor in it than Order of the Phoenix and that was important for me, and I think it was important for the audience to not get the same journey. And Hallows part One will feel very different than Half-Blood Prince."
What’s the first thing you are going to do next? "I’ve got a couple of things. I want to do a war picture. I’m developing a war picture called Saint Nazaire that’s about a reckless commander raid in the Second World War. I want to make a movie version of the TV thing I did called Sex Traffic, about trafficking. There’s a whole pile of stuff coming out. I am reading stuff all the time."
First of all, with 6 movies in tow, we should ALL understand that the MOVIES and BOOKS are two separate entities. The movies are ADAPTATIONS which means, quite frankly, it’s based upon the book but left to some interpretation. Since Jo Rowling has had executive control over what scenes are in and out (meaning “final approval”) I have had faith in the creative interpretations displayed on the screen.
Now, that being said, have I been disappointed that certain scenes haven’t made the cut? Heck yeah! I missed the battle, I missed Dumbledore’s funeral and, heck, I even missed “U-No-Poo” for some comedic relief. But did those omissions force me to hate the movie? Nope! I thought the movie was BRILLIANT – both cinematically, story and acting.
And, yes, I even liked the addition of the Burrow scene. I felt my heart race during that scene – it added the necessary tension. Someone earlier stated that it made no sense because Bellatrix would have killed Harry then and there – not necessarily. Remember, the “Dark Lord’s” orders are to leave him for him, no one else can harm him. Bellatrix is one who toys over the line of what should be done because Voldemort said so and how she feels – let’s just use some suspension of disbelief to believe that this was one of those times she followed his orders!!! :)
I have complete faith that DH parts 1 and 2 will be fantastic – and from the interviews I read from the creative team down to the cast – it sounds like they will. They know they don’t want to disappoint fans. Have faith. :)
By the way, I think what Yates means by “not very Harry Potter” is the look of the films. If you take a look at how each of the films “look” has changed since Sorcerer’s (Philosopher’s) Stone each has gone from a fairly “light” children’s movie to a darker, more powerful tone. I LOVED the look of HBP – it took on the tone and feel of a super serious Academy Award winning film, only it was about Harry and our wizarding world. I think Yates will be using a more “real” look for Deathly Hallows – they are no longer protected by Hogwarts and are out in the real world with danger lurking at every corner. That right there would change the look. Does that make sense?
Burrow scene doesn’t make any sense. Why did Belatrix and Fenrir attackt it? Were they bored and decided to burn down some house, and decided not to kill Harry Potter or bring him to Voldemort if they by any chance run into him, which they did. Totaly unnecesary scene and unlogical.
@nibbler – Not illogical at all – it shows how the Death Eaters get off on instilling fear in the rest of the wizarding world. It also showed that just because folks try to “protect” Harry, they mustn’t feel like they have security. It’s all about fear and terror. No one is safe.
The scene at the beginning of the book where Dumbledore fetches Harry was actually one of the funniest in the book. It is a shame they replaced it.
I thought the Burrow scene was a waste of time. It seemed like a personal attack against Harry while the real threat was to the entire country, wizards and muggles alike. Of course in the book these dangers were discussed as they read the Daily Prophet and that isn’t very cinematic.
I think they should have stuck closer to what was in the book when they followed Malfoy to Knockturn Alley. I would have rather seen more about Harry’s obsession with what Malfoy was doing. I would have liked to see him have some more moments with Ginny after they were together. And it didn’t seem like there was enough information on horcruxes (although I will have to see the movie again to be sure).
On the other hand, I think the way they staged the death of Dumbledore made sense as having Harry immobilized under his invisibility cloak is not at all cinematic.
Wahey! My theory was right about the Burrow scene. Glad to hear it heh.
I hope they take more risks with DH – it’s meant to be scary!
… you put that in there because of all the romance?
Why did you put in all the added romance to begin with? It was overkill, and I can’t believe you were supplementing romance as if romance was the central tone of the book.
I was so angry at Yates, 2 1/2 years full of anger, for him changing my book. But now, having seen the result, I get it and I love it. I hope that, as he will have 5-6 hours to tell the last part of the story, that he will do it justice. Because several hundred million people will get pretty ticked off if they wait this long for the ending to have it all messed up.
I have a lot to say on this.
#1- I was not a huge fan of the Burning Burrow scene, and as a book purist I must say it was unnecessary, however, from a movie point of view I guess it was good that they showed bad stuff was happening outside of Hogwarts. I feel better now that I know why he added the scene. If they just cut the unnecessary romance in the first place we wouldn’t need the Burrow scene, and I am very confused as to where Harry is supposed to be in Movie 7 and where the wedding will be, but still… glad I know why the added it.
#2- Modern, huh? I know Deathly Hallows takes place in ‘97/’98, but still sometimes the books seem a lot more old than that, not like ancient, but modern is never a word I would associate with Harry Potter. I agree with the studio, movies 3 on don’t feel like Harry Potter. I mean, they are great films, if there were no books they would be fantastic. I love all the details they put in, and exciting scenes… The movies are great, but they are completely separate from the books.
#3- I like when movies have the same feeling. Movies 1 and 2 had the same overall feel, and I loved that. Prisoner of Azkaban was a dramatic change which I liked in the beginning because I hadn’t read the books yet (I started reading them before movie 4), but now I dislike it. Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban don’t seem like they are from the same series at all, and I do like Goblet of Fire better than Prisoner of Azkaban, but once again the feeling changed. Order of the Phoenix was another change, and even Half-Blood Prince didn’t have the same feeling, despite the same director. I don’t really want Deathly Hallows to be different yet again. Yates likes when people get a different journey, which is okay if you’ve read the books. I think it’s hard to follow the HP movies if you haven’t read the books in the first place, but when you keep changing the overall flow of the movie it is even harder.
Sorry for the long response, but I did say at the beginning that I had a lot to say :P
I like bwaysaints comments…I totally agree. Yates really does have a nice feel for the series. He isn’t butchering the books..and he really makes a nice stab at the relationships that are built thoughout the years. I treat each movie as a “snapshot” of the respective book. it is just a glimpse of what is going on. As stories they are wonderful.
Some of this reminds me very much of the whole Star Wars saga… and each movie had such a different “feel”.. I am really looking forward to DH 1 in particular…because the landscape will be very “un-Hogwartsy” anyone for camping??? LETS GO! I can just imagine Ron griping about the lack of food. WAH ….WAH….. WAAAAAAH
Gritty? I don’t like the sound of that. And why is he making decisions on the film based on what’s good for him? Shouldn’t such judgements be based upon what is good for the story?
As for the burning burrow scene, if the film had opened the way the book did, with Harry at home with a collection of papers and the Dumbledore note instead of hanging out in coffee shops making dates while Death Eaters attacked London, they might not have needed to “remind” the audience.
Sorry for sounding so grumpy, it’s just that the idea that Yates is deliberately disrespecting the general continuity of style created in the earlier films.
They explained why they did take out the battle scenes, i really enjoyed HBP and im already looking forward to DH PART 1. I think Yates is doing a great job of the films!!
I think it was nesscessary if you aren’t a massive fan to have that scene in it… I liked it!
you guys have said it all
i agree with every one