Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Getting Cut in Two and Yates Directing
Last month we brought you a bit of news that Harry Potter producer David Barron was inserting an additional scene into the currently in-production Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - an unconventional move since the Potter series' sheer volume has more often necessitated cutting material. While we don't yet expect a similar move with the seventh book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, we did receive news today via the LA Times that director David Yates is confronting the Potter material in an equally interesting way: cutting the final story into two movies.
Did I also mention that Yates will, in fact, return as director? Despite many rumors and speculation to the contrary, including the idea that Guillermo del Toro would helm the film, Yates is our guy. (Somewhat sad, since I love del Toro). So, being the captain, Yates and crew have decided that Deathly Hollows will be a two-part conclusion. The news is a bit surprising, but the execution seems even more difficult.
Firstly, the idea of separating Deathly Hollows is rife with greedy speculation. The decision seems like it would be an easy one for Warner Brothers given that the series has made more than $4.5 billion at the box office worldwide. Of course, they'd want to double their fun in the last installment. However, producer David Heyman pleadingly denounces such a hypothesis: "I swear to you it was born out of purely creative reasons. Unlike every other book, you cannot remove elements of this book."
Franchise star Daniel Radcliffe echoes this sentiment, as well. "I think it's the only way you can do it without cutting out a huge portion of the book." And to be sure, a lot would have to be cut from the 759-page tome before it would fit comfortably into a single movie. And while you could rightly point out that Order of the Phoenix was lengthier at 896, Heyman has a perspective on why Deathly Hollows is harder to piece out. "You can remove scenes of Ron playing quidditch from the fifth book, and you can remove Hermione and S.P.E.W. [Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare] and those subplots … but with the seventh, that can't be done."
So all in all, it's surprising that this move is not overtly monetarily focused and actually makes sense for the adaptation of the story.
However, it's not going to be easy. While Radcliffe supports the creative reasoning for the separation, he contradicts himself a bit in the next breathe. "There have been compartmentalized subplots in the other books that have made them easier to cut…but the seventh book doesn't really have any subplots. It's one driving, pounding story from the word go."
So how do you divide "one driving pounding story" into two parts? At least Heyman accepts this as being the major question at play. "How do you make them one but two separate and distinct stories? Do you break it with a moment of suspense or one of resolution? These are the interesting challenges. But each book has presented its challenges."
The largest fear in breaking the story is loosing the momentum and magic of the Potter stories. Deathly Hollows is the final chapter in one of the most compelling fantasy tales of our time. I'd hate to see a stutter-start to the series' powerful conclusion, and hope Heyman, Yates and others can still mold a complete, satisfying and fitting end.
Harry Potter fans - what do you think, is this a good idea or a bad one?