Harry Potter Movie Director Recalls Stress Of Adapting The Book And Thinking He Would Be Fired

"I Knew if I screwed this one up it's all over," director Chris Columbus says.


Chris Columbus, the director of the first two Harry Potter films, has recalled some of the stress he felt during the production of the first film in particular.

Speaking to Collider, Columbus said he felt "the pressure of the world" when filming the first movie, The Sorcerer's Stone/The Philosopher's Stone. "I knew if I screwed this one up it's all over," he said. "You can't screw up this book. So I had to go to the set every day with sort of tunnel vision in terms of not thinking about the outside world, and that was a lot easier 19 years ago before the internet blew up."

Overall, Columbus said he was "fraught with anxiety" when making the first Harry Potter movie. For the first two weeks of shooting, Columbus said he feared for his job.

"The first two weeks I thought I was gonna get fired every day," he said. "Everything looked good, I just thought if I do one thing wrong, if I f**k up, I'm fired. And that was intense. I didn't let any of that show on the set, there was no frustration; I'm not a screamer, I get along with everybody and I want everybody to feel like they're part of the family, so I just had to hide that side of my emotions."

Columbus' worries were unfounded, as The Sorcerer's Stone tested very well in its initial screenings, and then it would go on to be a big hit at the box office in 2001. The success of the first movie helped Columbus to feel more confident on the sequel, The Chamber of Secrets, which he also directed.

"It was like night and day, because then I could really let loose a little bit and bring a little bit more of my particular style to the movie," he said.

After directing the first two Harry Potter movies, Columbus stepped away, with Alfonso Cuaron coming in to direct The Prisoner of Azkaban. David Yates and Mike Newell directed the other films.

The mainline Harry Potter film series ended in 2011 with The Deathly Hallows - Part II. A spinoff film franchise, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, premiered in 2016 and was followed up by a sequel in 2018. A third movie is planned for 2022, and it just recently underwent a big change with Mads Mikkelsen stepping in to replace Johnny Depp in a key role.

Outside of film, Warner Bros. is creating a new open-world video game called Hogwarts Legacy for release in 2021 on PS5 and Xbox Series X, as well as last-gen consoles and PC.

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