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This page was created on November 3, 2001
This page was last updated on
June 9, 2005



(Special thanks to David Buckna)

For further reference:
J.K. Rowling Interview on the TV program "Hot Type"

First broadcast July 13, 2000 on CBC Newsworld

JK: I do believe in God. That seems to offend the South Carolinans more than almost anything else. I think they would find it -- well, that is my limited experience, that they, yeah, they have more of a problem with me believing in God than they would have a problem if I was an unrepentant atheist.

E: You do believe in God.

JK: Yeah. Yeah.

E: In magic and --

JK: Magic in the sense in which it happens in my books, no, I don't believe. I don't believe in that. No. No. This is so frustrating. Again, there is so much I would like to say, and come back when I've written book seven. But then maybe you won't need to even say it 'cause you'll have found out anyway. You'll have read it.

E: But in your own life, I mean, are you a churchgoer?

JK: (Nods) Mmm hmm. Well, I go more than to weddings and christenings. Yes, I do.

E: And in your own life, would the church and that kind of spirituality help you deal with the loss of your mum?

JK: No, actually it didn't at the time. No. (Shakes her head)

E: So you've come back to it.

JK: Yeah, I would say so. I have some problems with conventional organized religion. Some problems. (Long pause) But -- but, yes, it's a place I would go to in a time of trouble. It probably is a place I would go to in a time of trouble. I wouldn't expect it to provide all the answers, 'cause I would expect to find some of those within me.

E: Right, but the institutional side of it, you know, the rules--

JK: I have certain problems with some aspects of that. Yes I do.

* Interview with J.K. Rowling [Part 2] by Victor Greenstreet and friends in association with Comic Relief http://www.calgaryherald.com November 13, 2001 [pp. B5 and B8]
http://www.canada.com/search/site/story.asp?id=70267FA9-3B5C-46D3-ACE6-205A8B05C 5BF

Q: How do you cope with the aggravation from strongly religious people who have reacted against the Harry Potter stories, accusing them of witchcraft?

Rowling: Well, mostly I laugh about it and ignore it. Very occasionally I get annoyed, because these extremist religious folk have missed the point so spectacularly. I think the Harry books are actually very moral, but some people just object to witchcraft being mentioned in a children's book. Unfortunately, if such extremist views were to prevail, we would have to lose a lot of classic children's fiction.


While Columbus had no reservations about directing one of the most highly anticipated films in history, he was well aware that some questioned his ability to bring the darkness of Harry Potter's world to the big screen. "Over the years, people ? particularly the media ? have implied that I?ve gone soft because I?ve directed some sentimental films," Columbus says. "But based on my own personal life at the time, I felt that those were films I needed to make. Once I got those stories out of my system, I wanted to go back to where I was when I started out as a writer, which is a much darker place."

Of his early influences, Columbus says, "I've always been a big fan of British cinema, everything from David Lean pictures, comedies like Kind Hearts and Coronets, emotional dramas like A Man for all Seasons and particularly the Hammer Horror films, which I adored. I found them very atmospheric and evocative. I grew up watching these films and they influenced my early writing."

Helming Harry Potter gave Columbus the opportunity to revisit the dark themes of early 1980s films he wrote but did not direct, like Gremlins and Young Sherlock Holmes. "Young Sherlock Holmes was set in a British boarding school and involved two pre-teen boys and a girl who solve a supernatural mystery," Columbus enthuses. "It was a sort of preparation for directing Harry Potter."

But Columbus is quick to commend the talented production team that brought the world of Harry Potter to life, particularly Oscar-winning production designer Stuart Craig, costume designer Judianna Makovsky and director of photography John Seale.

"This film is incredibly collaborative and it?s been the highlight of my career for several reasons, mostly because I?ve worked with such talented people. My cinematographer John Seale and production designer Stuart Craig in particular understand the richness and complexity of Harry Potter's world. In Hogwarts, we strived to create a realistic, magical place, a school that the viewer would believe actually existed."

Columbus envisioned a rich, warm pallet for the film. To this end, he and Heyman hired three time Academy Award winner Stuart Craig. "Stuart Craig is one of the finest production designers living,? Heyman says. "There is no one who designs with such taste and elegance. We wanted Harry?s world to feel like it really exists. Stuart made Hogwarts, with all its splendour, seem like a place that truly feels real."

For the all-important role of cinematographer, the filmmakers tapped multiple Oscar nominee John Seale. ?We had loved John?s work in a variety of films from Witness to Dead Poet?s Society and we knew he would give Harry Potter a fantastic look,? says Heyman. ?For instance, Chris wanted low light in the interiors, as there is no artificial light in Hogwarts. John was particularly attentive to this and lit the set with torches and candles. He has this incredible energy and works at a remarkably fast pace, and yet he?s able to retain tremendous depth and richness at all times.?

Hiring the right costume designer was also crucial. ?Beyond the sets and the lighting, we wanted a bit of madness and eccentricity, which Judianna Makovsky has created,? says Heyman. ?For example, for Madame Hooch, the flying instructor, Judianna took classical professor?s robes and added the black and white of a referee and then cut it in such a way it flows like the movement of a bird.?


Click to enlarge?Making Harry Potter has been the highlight of my career,? Chris Columbus declares. ?I?ve been able to shoot in some stunning locations and sets, and have been fortunate to have collaborated with the best, most talented crew of technicians and artists. This film is a culmination of the efforts and talents of a group of very dedicated, hard working people. I believe the results speak for themselves.

?The most difficult aspect of making Harry Potter was excising elements of the book that I wanted to put into the film,? he continues. ?If I had the opportunity, I would have made a seven or eight hour picture. My strongest desire was to make a satisfying film for every single one of the fans, a movie that truly captures the heart and the spirit of the book, without sacrificing any of its darkness, edge or character.?


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