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J. K. Rowling Recounts Collaborative Relationship with "Potter" Screenwriter Steve Kloves for Written By Magazine

J.K. Rowling
Posted by: Edward
April 19, 2011, 08:08 PM

Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling has written for the Writer's Guild's Written by magazine about her collaborative relationship with "Potter" Film screenwriter Steve Kloves for their April/May issue.  The full piece, which can be read in its entirety via this link, details the 12-year-long "email correspondence" which resulted in seven adapted screenplays of Ms. Rowling's book series.  Rowling and Kloves began their work together following an early film production meeting in Los Angeles, California when the screenwriter shared his knowledge of the books and favorite character (Hermione) with the author.  The three-page article revisits a handful of moments throughout the 12-year correspondence which crafted the film's scripts, as well as details some of the moments in which Kloves was let in on secrets of the stories early, in order to ensure continuity of the story.

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54 Comments

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@RavenclawDancer…And yet the article clearly shows the Rowling supported Kloves handling of her characters, and her actually hoping Kloves didn’t like Ron as his favorite character because Ron was “so easy to like”. Movie Ron is probably a bit less vocal than Book Ron, since apparently Rupert Grint is sort of a quiet fellow by nature. It’s true that Ron is made into much more of a comedic figure in the movies, and there are some decisions made with his character that I don’t quite understand (like the moment in Prisoner of Azkaban when Snape calls Hermione an “insufferable know-it-all”; in the book, Ron angrily leaps to Hermione’s defense, while in the movie, Ron mumbles to Harry, “He’s got a point, y’know.” Movie Ron is not necessarily out of character; Book Ron has probably said a variation on the same thing to Harry about a hundred times, and has said it directly to Hermione’s face. It’s just that in the book version, Ron won’t allow an “outsider” to criticize his friend; that’s his job. In some ways Movie Ron is more of a complex character than his book counterpart; Movie Ron seems more prone to jealousy and petty behavior than the eternally noble Book Ron, which actually makes Movie Ron more down-to-earth and accessible for some people…he’s not perfect, or the perfect friend. If Jo Rowling had had any qualms about Kloves’ depiction of Ron in the films, she had 10 years in which to voice those concerns, and she never did, which makes me think she likes what he did with the character…maybe she regretted making Ron so likable and loyal to Harry in the earlier books (since he does do his fair share of grumbling and grousing about Harry in the later books, whether it’s jealousy of Harry and Hermione, anger about Ginny’s relationship with Harry, anger in general of Harry’s beloved stature in the Wizarding World (and Ron’s own family), etc. Everything that Ron was REALLY thinking all those times he loyally stuck by Harry in the books came out during the scene with the Horcrux versions of Harry and Hermione, and I think Kloves simply portrayed that version of Ron earlier on…Ron isn’t just a clown, he’s a tragic clown.

Posted by critterfur on April 20, 2011, 11:39 AM report to moderator
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Sorry my posts were so long, I just think that Steve Kloves had a really hard job to do with adapting the books to film form, and that while he didn’t do a perfect job by any means, he doesn’t deserve the vitriol and hate that constantly gets thrown his way by some fans. And like I said earlier, a writer is only one cog in the machine that is film-making; a writer can write a perfect script that is translated badly into visual form, or edited down by a director or producer’s decision…every director of the Potter films should be challenged just as much as the screenwriter in terms of how Ron was portrayed, as should Rupert Grint himself…they all contribute to how the character is portrayed.

Posted by critterfur on April 20, 2011, 11:46 AM report to moderator
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6352 Points

@RavenclawDancer, I totally agree with you about Ron. I’ve never understood why he was dumbed down so much in the films. That last scene in HBP was unbelievable to me. Once again Ron is off in the background when he should have been standing with Harry & Hermione. I thought it was ridiculous. I also think Rupert is a GREAT actor. It was wonderful to watch him shine in DH1.

Posted by KB Prez [ROAR!] on April 20, 2011, 11:55 AM report to moderator
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10268 Points

Although I have a lot of problems with the liberties that Kloves took with many parts of JKR’s story, his ‘dumbing down’ of Ron hardly seems like a major one – largely because of what he had to work with from the author. I always thought that Hermione nailed Ron when she said that he had ‘the emotional range of a teaspoon.’ I was rather shocked at JKR’s statement in this article that Ron was ‘so easy to love,’ because I found it really difficult to warm up to him. He is quite cruel to Hermione in the first book (even given that her intellectually superior attitude is rather annoying), and throughout the series he remains always too quick to put people down who are a little different. Luna’s comment that while he often can be funny, he is also sometimes unkind is an understatement. I suppose that if you are a dog person like JKR you might find his doglike loyalty endearing, but to me he remains a shallow character whose conversion to concern for house elves at the very end seemed totally unconvincing and forced. He is clearly the Trio’s weak link; and he is also not very verbal even in the books, so it makes perfect sense to give Hermione a lot more lines in the movies.

Also, if you are going to argue that Kloves gave him too little screentime, then on what would you base the contention that ‘Rupert is a great actor’? I don’t think that we’ve seen nearly enough of his work yet to draw that conclusion, but time and future acting projects will tell.

Posted by WeenyOwl {The Human Deluminator} on April 20, 2011, 12:17 PM report to moderator
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174 Points

i think Kloves did suceed on some points (Slughorn’s confession, anyone?) but i don’t like the way he writes the trio. Its just so… off balance… because of his bias towards hermione. I mean, look at the ending scene of Half-Blood Prince! Ron doesn’t even get one line! He just sits there while Hermione says his lines for him, along with her’s. Its mostly how he writes Ron that irks me… he gives him none of the substance in the movies that he had in the books. It also seems like in the movies he’s just a comic relief, and you just laugh at his fear of spiders and clumsiness… rather than the witty jokes he makes in the book. He just gets pushed into the background. Maybe thats why I liked Order of the Phoenix so much. Yeah, they cut A LOT, but I think the dynamic between Harry Ron and Hermione was the most accurate…

Posted by horsepatronus64 on April 20, 2011, 12:30 PM report to moderator
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6352 Points

@WeenyOwl, how much of an actor’s work should one see before forming an opinion? My opinion of Rupert as an actor is based on 6 1/2 films. That’s enough for me although it may not be for others.

Frankly, if I were Hermione, I would have chosen Harry over Ron. It would have been an easy choice. Ron is just not my type although I never considered him “shallow”. I remember JKR saying that Ron didn’t mature as quickly as Harry & Hermione. That’s clear from her writing, but I don’t think he was nearly as dim as portrayed in the films.

Posted by KB Prez [ROAR!] on April 20, 2011, 01:10 PM report to moderator
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96 Points

It’s highly ironic that a guy who names Hermione as his favorite character has managed to make her quite different from the canon (book) version.

Kloves is a hack.

Posted by j@m on April 20, 2011, 01:48 PM report to moderator
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3740 Points

Well, just consider me a “dog person” from here on out. I couldn’t imagine the trio with anyone other than Harry, Ron and Hermione.

I personally think they are all fine actors and as was stated in an earlier comment the screenwriter could write a “perfect” script and it could still be hacked up in the process by the others involved in the film’s making.
Posted by Want to be a Weasley on April 20, 2011, 01:56 PM report to moderator
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j@m is a hate-filled exaggerator.

Posted by YodatheHobbit on April 20, 2011, 02:10 PM report to moderator
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427 Points

I am SHOCKED to learn that Hermione is Steve Kloves’ favorite character. SHOCKED.

Posted by Olivia on April 20, 2011, 02:33 PM report to moderator
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427 Points

I am SHOCKED to learn that Hermione is Steve Kloves’ favorite character. SHOCKED.

Posted by Olivia on April 20, 2011, 02:33 PM report to moderator
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It was easy to tell Hermione was Kloves favorite character from
watching the films

Posted by Jeannine on April 20, 2011, 02:35 PM report to moderator
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One of my BIG problems with Kloves writing of the scripts was he never,
ever GOT Jo’s ability to show both the sorrowful side of each book or the extreme humor that is combined in the whole series.
I read and read and read (etc)them over and over and wept and laughted till
tears roled down my cheeks.. often times and I was rolled in the floor
from laughing as intencely …while tears of the
wet my face from my laughter ..
Kloves transformation from book to script never affected me like that,
ever!!!!!

Posted by Jeannine on April 20, 2011, 02:46 PM report to moderator
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80426 Points

To quote Mr. Spock… “Fascinating”…

Posted by Won_Two on April 20, 2011, 05:28 PM report to moderator
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Good comments all around, folks, but once again, if Kloves is so bad, why did the creator of the series give him such a glowing review? (And she’s done so in multiple articles in the past). Like I said before, I think we tend to idealize certain characters and give them traits that they don’t necessarily always have…we tend to “fill in the blanks” if a character isn’t completely flushed out, and then later on remember those things as being “canon”, when they actually came from our own mind and not the author’s (don’t worry, I’m including myself in that above statement). I’m not saying we should all hate Ron and love Hermione, but I’m saying that Steve Kloves decided to take a different approach with Ron in the films, portraying him as Harry’s good friend and ally, but showing him to be prone to jealousy, worried about whether he is loved or valued, etc…the scene in the Mirror of Erised shows that Ron has MAJOR problems with self-worth and his own identity, and that he’s constantly been overshadowed by his brothers in his life, and that Harry is just another person, in some ways, to overshadow him and make him feel small. A lot of you use the example of Ron sitting in silence at the end of HBP, while Hermione does all the talking, taking Ron’s silence as a sign of non-commitment to Harry’s cause. I took it as being partially a set-up for the events of the last film…Ron sees Harry and Hermione being close, once again, right in front of him, and while he’s committed to Harry’s cause (and probably feels he doesn’t even have to tell Harry as much) you can see the seeds of jealousy and doubt growing in his mind, as well as worry about what’s coming, fear of the mission ahead. Rupert Grint doesn’t just sit there and stare blankly…look at Ron in that scene…he’s thinking some heavy stuff, rolling it over in his mind. How is his distance from Harry and Hermione in this scene (both emotionally and physically) disconnected from what happens in Deathly Hallows? The last book had come out by the time Kloves did the screenplay for the 6th movie, so I think he snuck some hints of future plotlines into HBP.

Also, for the life of me, I really can’t understand people who say that Movie Hermione is not remotely close to Book Hermione, and Kloves screwed her character up. In what way? Because Emma Watson is actually quite beautiful, and Hermione is supposed to have bushy hair, big front teeth, and be more homely? Not Kloves’ fault…the behind the scenes material on the Extended Edition DVDs shows that the decision was made early on to remove the prosthetic teeth given to Emma Watson, as well as the green contacts given to Daniel Radcliffe, pretty much on the first day of filming. It wasn’t Kloves decision to play up Watson’s emerging beauty, and there’s virtually no situation where Hermione comes to the rescue that wasn’t also accomplished by her in the books.

Posted by critterfur on April 20, 2011, 05:41 PM report to moderator
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