HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE
About The Production
With over 100 million copies sold in over 46 languages, J.K. Rowing's best-selling series of books based on the adventures of the world's most beloved wizard, Harry Potter, have truly become a worldwide phenomenon, touching and capturing the imaginations of readers of all ages around the globe. However, the book was barely in print when it captivated British producer David
Heyman. the former Hollywood studio executive- turned-producer of such acclaimed independent films as Juice and The Daytrippers.
In 1996, Heyman returned to London from the U.S. to set up his own production company, Heyday Films, with a vision of producing truly international films for both Europe and the United States. "Having a brother and sister who were 10 and 14 at the time, I was very interested in finding a children's film that I could enjoy as much as they would," Heyman recalls. "My team at Heyday was aware of this and my Head of Development, Tanya
Seghatchian., read an article about a new children's book by a then- unknown author. The agent sent her a copy and my assistant Nisha read it over the weekend. Nisha reported that it was a curious book about a young boy who goes to wizard school. I thought it was a wonderful idea and read the novel that evening. What I thought was a great idea turned out to be an even more remarkable book, and so much richer than the idea that initially attracted me. I realized this was something very special and began pursuing the rights the following morning."
It was during his auspicious first meeting with author J.K. RowIng in early 1997 that Heynian made his commitment clear. "I made a promise to Jo RowIng to be true to her vision," Heyman says. "This was and has been the most important consideration to me throughout the process.
But finding a director who shared Rowing and Heyman's passion, commitment and vision for the film adaptation proved to be a challenge. Chris Columbus, renowned for directing the blockbuster hits Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire. made the short list of those considered for the daunting but prestigious task.
"My daughter Eleanor was reading the book at the time and insisted that I read it as well," Columbus remembers. "I started reading it, finished it in one day and couldn't stop thinking about turning it into a flint But, at that point, the film was already in the hands of another director. A few months later. I received a call from my agent, telling me the book was again available. There was only one problem: several directors were now also interested in making the film. Warner Bros. and producer David Heyman began a lengthy process of interviewing the potential candidates. Nevertheless, I wasn't intimidated by this. I felt that if I could articulate my passion and obsession with the material, if I could clearly
specify how I would make the film, David and the Studio would realize that I was the man for the job."
The next step was meeting with the author, J.K. Rowing. "At first I was nervous, being such a big fan of the books," Columbus says. "But I immediately felt comfortable with Jo. I explained that I would protect the integrity of the book. I told her how I wanted to keep the darkness and the edge of the material intact. I also think Jo was excited by the fact that I wanted her to be involved in the creative process. And she was an invaluable collaborator. Her inspiration and ideas were absolutely wonderful."
"There was a lot of interest from numerous directors who wanted to be involved with Harry
Potter," Heyman says, "but Chris emerged as the person with the greatest passion and understanding of the books and the desire to remain faithful to Jo's vision."
Indeed, Columbus, like Heyman and Warner Bros. Pictures, had no desire to deviate from the world that Ro
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