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?
User comment: By: KeithRyan, luckily imdb is not a credible source when it comes to release dates that are years off. What Brie said makes a lot of sense, as the second half of the 2-parter will do HUGE box office, and so a May release date makes the most sense, not November.
User comment: By: BrieFinally, the smartest thing they ever done. The fifth movie skipped so much and disappointed many Potter fans. I heard the Deathly Hallows 1 releases November 2010 and #2 releases May 2011. Thats great being only 6 months apart! This would not disappoint Potter fans like the fifth one. I CAN'T WAIT!
User comment: By: RyanIMDB said Part 1 will be for May 2010 and Part 2 Nov. 2011. That sux.
User comment: By: Ryan#6, that is a real good place to cut it! This is one decision I like and DO NOT think this has to do anything with "milking" the franchise but I am sure the guys in suits didn't mind the decision either. I just hoped they are released close together. Maybe one in early summer and one in December?
User comment: By: SHANE DI like the fact that its split in 2............to big of a book to cut it in half I do however want a new director. Yates has done a good job with the last film and he is doing HBP right now. They need to give it to someone else. TIM BURTON or STEPHEN SPIELBERG would make a great Deathly Hallows give them chance. Its the last books give them the BLOCKBUSTER status they deserve ...JMO
User comment: By: Alexanderi can guess where the movie might split up, and this is a pretty big SPOILER if you havent read the last one, it might be split right after ron abandons Harry and Hermione. this is a good way to avoid losing bits of the book cause it really is just one story with no sub plots, but i hope it doesnt just suck. thats all i want
User comment: By: KeithJust how I wanted it. It will break with suspense I assume. I can't remember the book very well right now for some reason, but (this is a SPOILER, i guess, if you havent read the book/s) the book revolves mainly around the searching for and destroying items called horcruxes, which will hopefully defeat voldemort, and so it the film will break with the group about to find one, finding one, or setting off to find one? I truly can't remember the details of the book at all right now or Id make a guess at where it would break.
User comment: By: RobI was hoping they'd do something like this. Good on them.
User comment: By: HeckleThey did it with Kill Bill. Make them into 2 movies and release them a couple months apart.
User comment: By: NunyaThat's one way to milk a franchise.
Visit here to subscribe to commentsUser comment: By: SamGreat, great idea! I love it! Shit, I can not wait to have them all. I'm hoping they make them around 2 and a half hours each though. This makes me very excited (and Yates especially, as I loved OOTP!) Woohoo!