NEW YORK (Reuters) - British director David Yates has spent the last six and half years of his life bringing the wizard world of Harry Potter to the big screen.
The 47 year old has made the final four of the eight films based on the top-selling books by author J.K. Rowling films.
But as the franchise comes to an end with the release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” this week, Yates talked to Reuters about putting a full stop on an epic experience and what he plans to do next.
Q: Why did you sign on to do these movies?
A: “It was too good of an opportunity to pass up. I hadn’t read the books and they asked me, ‘Would you like to do it?’ I was like ‘Oh my God, I’d better read a book.’ It was so funny and charming and I quickly read the second one. It was a difficult world to walk away from, and once I started, everybody was really great. They asked me to stay and I said yes. And they asked me to stay and I said yes again, and I didn’t want to be the bloke who made the two in the middle.”
Q: Like the middle child?
A: “Yeah, exactly. And no one takes you that seriously. So I stayed.”
Q: Was it a conscious decision to keep the atmosphere of this film rather mature?
A: “One way to keep the whole series fresh is to keep making it grow old with the audience and that’s the most important thing for me. (The audience) may have been six or seven or eight and they are 16, 17 and 19 now ... They don’t want to be patronized with cute stuff anymore. Also, little kids love to be scared. I loved to be scared when I was little.”
Q: What are your next moves, now that you have these big blockbusters under your belt?
A: “I am going to make a small film next — a very lean, mean, small film with a tiny budget. I don’t know what it is yet. With big movies, you get slightly indulged because everything is there. And it is not healthy. You need to step away from that and be challenged again.”
Q: Your first movie was “When I was a Girl”, how have you grown as a director since then?
A: “Wow. It nearly killed me making that. It was 16 minutes long and nearly killed me. Because making your first film is your hardest film to ever make. All these muscles start to develop and it’s painful. At that time I was much more interested in lenses and cameras and all that gear. You get obsessed with the wrong things. The biggest way I have changed is I care about the things that really matter, which are the story, acting, writing, and mise-en-scene of the story telling. I am less obsessed with dollies now.”
Q: What characteristics do you want people to look for in knowing they are watching a Yates film?
A: “You know it’s a really hard question to answer because I often get asked that question. But I asked (producer) David Heyman, ‘Why did you choose me and why did you keep me for four films?’ And he said, ‘You’re work has humanity in it. You really love the characters and there is a warmth and empathy with the characters and I love that.’ So honestly, I have no idea, or when I retire I’ll look back and know.”