Ever wonder what mighty magic Steven Spielberg would have brought to the Harry Potter franchise? An interview with BBC Breakfast reveals his reasons for jumping off the Hogwarts Express and how his own flesh and blood questioned his sanity.
Back in 1997, Spielberg and his team spent half a year trying to adapt Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for his DreamWorks Pictures, toying with the notion of combining several of the books, Americanizing the actors and possibly transforming it into an animated series.
Reflecting on the billion-dollar goose that got away, the War Horse director seems perfectly content with his decision to exit the wizarding world:
"I've had chances to make a lot of movies that went on to be big hits with other directors and other studios, because I can't do everything," he said. "I was offered Harry Potter. I developed it for about five or six months with screenwriter Steve Kloves and then I dropped out.
"I just felt that I wasn't ready to make an all-kids movie and my kids thought I was crazy. The books were by that time popular, so when I dropped out, I knew it was going to be a phenomenon. But, you know I don't make movies because they're gonna be phenomenons. I make movies because they have to touch me in a way that really commits me to a year, two years, three years of work."
It seems Spielberg didn't have the visceral response to the material necessary to devote a sizeable part of his life to Muggles and Mudbloods. Spielberg may have felt J.K. Rowling's carefully crafted universe didn't leave enough room for his jumbo-size imagination and personal flourishes, once describing directing Harry Potter as shooting ducks in a barrel.
So do you lament the fact Harry, Ron and Hermione were orphaned from the Spielbergian spell? Or are the existing movies mini-masterpieces meant for the ages?