You could say Christopher Columbus is the reason we are now facing a bittersweet ending to an extremely successful Harry Potter series. Columbus directed the first two Potter films, Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and produced the third film, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
We caught up with Columbus while he was promoting his new film The Help and got in a couple of questions about the end of such an impressive era in cinema.
A decade later, he's just as emotional as the rest of the cast and crew, looking back on the magic they created.
"I’ve waited to see the movie until the premiere because I know it’s going to be emotional," Columbus explains. "Seeing the movie apart from England has been emotional because I’m looking at this movie thinking ‘oh my god, I cast all these people, I built all these sets, and there’s still someone out there still making these movies.’ It’s very surreal. I don’t think it’s ever happened to me again in my life."
He says the reason the films have been so successful and have lasted 10 years to becomes one of the most beloved series' of all time is because of the dedication to J.K. Rowling's book series. If they put in the things they were talking about, we definitely wouldn't be here writing about the emotional ending.
"I think a certain amount of faithfulness is absolutely essential. We got a lot of criticism on Potter for being too faithful for the first movie, but if we weren’t that faithful, there wouldn’t have been an eighth movie. You could have added cheerleaders to Hogwarts and all the nonsense that was talked about and we would be sitting here talking about remaking the first movie, as opposed to the series, so I think faithfulness is a really important thing."
But faithfulness to the book isn't all that's necessary for a successful series. There's also the casting, the set, and the overall production of the film.
And Columbus firmly believes the casting could not have been any better for Potter - looking in awe at the 10 and 11-year-old kids he helped become worldwide superstars.
"People say, well did you know when you were casting these kids that it would be such a success? No. We had no idea and we never knew that they would age so well. There’s certain younger actors, who after the second or third film, you would never want to put them in another film. In this Harry Potter world, for some reason we had this incredibly blessed cast of all these young kids who became great actors and who maintain some kind of movie star charisma."
Check out the final installment of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 in theaters this Friday, July 15, 2011.