Producer Adds Personal Touch to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Last year's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was criticized for widely cutting various scenes from the book, ostensibly not staying true to the written version. At 870 pages of material, there should hardly be an expectation that every scene will translate as-is into a commercial production. Next up is Half-Blood Prince, the sixth book in the series, and despite being similarly voluminous (at 652 pages), we learned recently that producer David Barron, along with the usual cutting of material, is actually adding a scene to the story. Judiciously trimming is one thing, but actually including a new sequence - one that was not authored by J.K. Rowling herself - is a really daring move.
Barron told Australia's Herald Sun (via SnitchSneeker.com):
"This was brought in because Jo (Rowling) was able throughout the quite lengthy book to keep dropping little snippets of what was happening in the outside world - there'd be people reading newspapers and talking about how somebody's parents had been killed, or somebody had been withdrawn from school because their parents didn't think it was safe."
Baron's aim is to make the audience more aware of the parallel strife experienced in Potter's domain as well as the outside world of the Muggles.
"The book is peppered with those moments, but we couldn't do that quite so easily in the film. So (the extra scene) comes in the middle of the film and it just reminds us the world is no longer a safe place. Even in what would normally be considered the safe haven of the Burrow, nobody's safe."
"I think you'll like it. It's quite effective."
I'm curious why such explanation is needed. Perhaps this scene seeks to make clear a point that can only truly be derived from the lengthy nature of the book. In that case, since you can't exactly have a 4-hour movie, Barron's move might make sense - distilling plot points that span unwieldy pages into one, albeit new scene. Of course, that's just a guess. Adding your own ingredients to the Potter stew isn't exactly the greatest idea, regardless.
Complicating this move further is a scene that begins the seventh book, Deathly Hallows. Shawn Adler of MTV speculates that this additional scene in Half-Blood Prince might, in fact, be a Death Eater attack on the Burrow. However, he rightly points out that a similar event takes place during Bill and Fleur's wedding in the beginning of the following book. So will there be two such scenes, or will one adversely influence the other?
To be fair, Barron knows a thing or two about Harry Potter. He was executive producer on both Chamber of Secrets and Goblet of Fire, and is attached as producer to the in-production Half-Blood Prince and the 2010-slated Deathly Hallows. Translating the hefty Potter books has always been a challenge, and it will continue to be.
While adding a scene to the Half-Blood Prince might be an efficient move here, Barron recently spoke to MTV about actually splitting the forthcoming Deathly Hallows into two movies. "But the real positive, if we were to do that, would be that we wouldn't have quite the battle we always have of 'How do you compress all that book into just over hours of screen time?' It would be brilliant not to have to cut anything. But at the same time, we have to think it through properly."