“Harry Potter” Screenwriter Reflects on Ten Years of Magic

Kloves says writing "Hallows" was easier than earlier scripts

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Screenwriter Steve Kloves has been writing the "Harry Potter" screenplays for over a decade.

    Being the screenwriter for the Harry Potter franchise, arguably one of the most successful in Hollywood history, Steve Kloves has a lot of detail to keep in mind--from writing in quips about Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Bean to how to pen the often lurking, greasy character of Professor Snape.

    In an interview in the New York Times on Saturday, Kloves talked about the trials and tribulations of writing screenplays with quick turnaround, often without any indicator from author J.K. Rowling as to how the series would end. That’s not to say that Rowling hasn’t given him hints.

    In the second film, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” Kloves had toned down the character of the often mischievous and fiercely loyal Dobby the House Elf. Rowling addressed Dobby’s role in the film, which Kloves had truncated for the screen. “[Rowling] said, ‘Dobby’s going to be important, and so you want to revisit the scene,’ ” said Kloves. Adamant readers of the series know that Dobby is crucial to the fate of Harry Potter in “The Deathly Hallows.”

    Kloves has written the screenplays for all but one of the eight films; he sat out on “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” according to IMDb.

    Writing the upcoming "Deathly Hallows" went more smoothly than other scripts, since Kloves finally knew how things ended.  There was no more guesswork.

    “I had a remarkable ability to anticipate events,” Kloves explained to the Times, “because I swam in the narrative for 10 years. His premonitions about Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) being a tortured yet heroic character proved to be true. But you can’t be right one hundred percent of the time.

    After reading the later novels, Kloves had thought that Hermione (Emma Watson), the bookish Muggle and best friend to Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and Ron (Rupert Grint), would be killed.

    “If you read the books, you can argue that [Rowling’s] setting it up,” Kloves said. He was convinced all the way to the end of “The Deathly Hallows,” the seventh and final book in the series. “When I read the book,” he said, “I thought, ‘Bloody hell — how could you do that to me?’ ”

    Through the years, the movies have seen considerable changes—most notably in the director’s chair. While “The Sorcerer’s Stone” and “The Chamber of Secrets” were directed by Chris Columbus, the rest of the movies have seen a different director nearly each new film, from “Y Tu Mama Tambien’s” Alfonso Curon (“The Prisoner of Azkaban").

    It has become essential to the flow of the "Harry Potter" movies that they have a consistant tone, the same understanding of over 4,000 pages of the magical world of Hogwarts.  Someone get this guy a butterbeer! 

    Selected Reading: Times, Baltimore Sun, IMDb