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Kloves on Adapting Harry Potter: "Books Are Difficult to Wrestle to the Screen"

Posted by: sue
April 30, 2009, 08:40 AM

The Baltimore Sun is running a new article today, featuring an interview with Harry Potter film director David Yates, and also contains new comments from screenwriter Steve Kloves. Mr. Kloves is very complimentary of working with David Yates, and also speaks to the task of transforming the beloved Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling to the big screen.  Of interest are the following comments: "Kindness, decency and patience are the personal qualities that draw the loyalty of Yates' collaborators. Screenwriter Steve Kloves, a distinguished director himself (The Fabulous Baker Boys), has been working with Yates back-to-back-to-back on Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows I and II. He says Yates' "vast resources of patience" are good to have on Potter films, "since the books are difficult to wrestle to the screen." Kloves, the adapter of all but one Potter novel (Phoenix), writes first drafts that tend "to be both wishful and practical" in his desire to retain Rowling's details and plot twists. "Wishful in the sense that I want to get the entire book on the page and practical in the sense that I know the wishful side of me is insane."

The article also contains more from Steve Kloves on the decisions he and director David Yates made regarding which and how many Pensieve scenes to include for Half-Blood Prince.

"Prince presented challenges because of "a series of memories that inform the past and the present." While Yates "enjoyed the flashbacks enormously as separate incidents, he didn't feel they were satisfying within the whole. In other words, they diluted the dramatic experience from his point of view and he felt we needed to concentrate exclusively on those memories that informed one particular thread of the story - the story I was, by and large, telling."

Yates says, "We often have conversations which go along the lines of 'Will the fans really like it if we lose that?' Some choices may be right for the framework of the film but will put the fans out." Yates wants "to make sure the fans are happy" and says he always lets pieces of the book go "regretfully," but his goal is to make "the best adaptation that will warrant spending two-and-a-half hours in the dark."

Finally of note are high praises from director David Yates regarding the performance of actor Rupert Grint in Half-Blood Prince."He's always been the funny one, but he has so much more as an actor than that. In Prince, he has lovely stuff that's funny and true, but in Deathly Hallows, he must be defensive and haunted, and Rupert took to that like a duck to water. I'm always thankful that Jo Rowling gave us a world that allowed us to turn corners with the actors."

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928 Points

I have to say I’m not too happy with Steven Kloves’ adaptations in general. My biggest disappointment was POA. I know it wasn’t entirely his fault, but I felt POA was butchered.

It’s been a dream of mine that Peter Jackson direct with Fran Walsh doing the screenplay. They did an EXCELLENT job with the “Lord of the Rings” movies. EXCELLENT!!!!

Posted by sessionka oom4 CW on April 30, 2009, 04:56 PM report to moderator
928 Points

I’m happy Rupert is getting compliments on his work. Ron is one of my favorite characters.

Posted by sessionka oom4 CW on April 30, 2009, 04:57 PM report to moderator
551 Points

Nice to see that both director and screenwriter are keen to make sure us fans are happy – and that they are genuinely pained to have to leave stuff out. And I’m really glad that Rupert finally gets to show his stuff! Can’t wait for July!!

Posted by HarryLight {OoM4,CW}[Squee] on April 30, 2009, 05:36 PM report to moderator
169 Points

I wonder if Kloves is ever going explain why he felt the need to ruin Ron as a character in POA and GOF. I mean, why give Hermione that line in the Shreiking Shack? Why make him shrug off Oppugno? Why give Hermione the “We’re With You” line? What good did that do for anyone?

OotP was the only script well written when it came to proper characterization. I’m sure with Kloves back we’ll get plenty of Super! Hermione, Dunce! Ron, and Wimpy! Harry. I just hope Yates can keep him in check.

Posted by EruditeWitch on April 30, 2009, 05:47 PM report to moderator
179 Points

I like how they are starting to keep more from the book in the movie. It seems that HBP and DH is going to be a nice adaption. Yates is my fav director of the series (HBP looks amazing and what i/ve been hearing about DH…he/s the man).

Posted by DilltheMuggle on April 30, 2009, 05:55 PM report to moderator
169 Points

I forgot to say, Rupert is the man! Things Rupert fans have known for years: There’s more to him than comedy, he’s very skilled, and he’s the BEST actor of the trio, and the best young one on set.

Posted by EruditeWitch on April 30, 2009, 05:56 PM report to moderator
288 Points

I did not like the way Ron’s character was treated in the past so I am looking forward to these next two movies to see if they have improved on that score. I am extrememly weary of waiting for HBP to be released. It had better be good after all these years waiting!

Posted by Fereverto on April 30, 2009, 06:06 PM report to moderator
154 Points

I too, think that Kloves has done an exemplary job as an adaptor. There’s no way everything could have been gotten into every movie. (Come on, does anyone really miss the whole SPEW nonsense?) Part of me thinks that if Kloves had adapted OOTP, we would have had more of the prophecy and Snape’s role in it. I’m still hoping some of that gets put back into HBP.

Posted by dcrazmo {ROAR} on April 30, 2009, 06:20 PM report to moderator
154 Points

Oh, yeah, forgot to say how really lovely it is to see Grint get the recognition he deserves. Kind of like Ron finally getting it as well!

Posted by dcrazmo {ROAR} on April 30, 2009, 06:21 PM report to moderator
24135 Points

Rupert is getting so much praise from everyone! I love it! :)

Posted by hermyone*ROAR* on April 30, 2009, 06:32 PM report to moderator
3048 Points

As pleased as I am that they did consider the reaction of the fans in formulating which Pensieve scenes to retain, I do not think they even needed to resort to placating us in order to realize that they should have kept certain scenes. In particular, the one in which we encounter the Gaunt family. Without being exposed to that particular memory, Voldemort’s character loses its rich complexity and he becomes just a typical flat villian. It is truly a pity that they did not understand this as they undertook the process of adapting the novel to the screen. That said, I am still optimistic that they have done a wonderful job in transferring the book to the screen.

Posted by Kirk on April 30, 2009, 07:19 PM report to moderator
112 Points

I’m also glad Kloves returned—I thought OOTP was the worst waste of time and money. In my opinion it was awful. I’m more scared of Yates directing again that Kloves returning.
In regard to Rupert—IT’S ABOUT TIME!!! That man needs some screen time and great lines because so much has been taken from him!! He’s been completely overlooked. I think it’s because he has finally proven himself in other work that they have given him what he deserves. It’s time to push for Rupert a bit!!!

Posted by weB3now on April 30, 2009, 08:09 PM report to moderator
450 Points

good article

Posted by Dragomir Despard on April 30, 2009, 08:33 PM report to moderator
376 Points

i think…
as long as a good story was presented, great.
i dont think any of the movies have been horrible yet, but i still have to look at goblet of fire and raise my eyebrows…

Posted by john-robert. on April 30, 2009, 09:32 PM report to moderator
181 Points

“Those who complain about the HP movies as “unfaithful” to the books must not have read & seen many book-to-film adaptions. I think Kloves & the filmakers have done a good job."

Totally agree, old-gnarled-woman. I often think that the fans who complain about how unfaithful the films are to the HP books need to be sent to a course on book to film adaptations. They would need to read a whole bunch of books and then watch their adaptations and then maybe they would realise that in comparison to 90% of book to film adaptations, these films are INCREDIBLY faithful.

Posted by mouse68 on April 30, 2009, 09:55 PM report to moderator
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