Why Did Director Chris-Columbus Leave The Harry Potter Franchise?

One of the most adored series of all time is, without a doubt, the “Harry Potter” series. Chris Columbus, who helmed the first two films, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” in 2001 and 2002, was the first of a total of four directors to take on the task of directing various films in the franchise. Alfonso Cuarón took up running the third movie after Columbus left the series, and Mike Newell handled the fourth. Finally, David Yates was hired to helm the remaining four films (per Insider).

Columbus, a director since 1987, performed an unquestionably crucial role in the film series as the first director to bring the story’s idea to reality (via IMDb). The first two “Harry Potter” movies continue to rank among the director’s best-known productions, along with films like “Home Alone” from 1990 and “Mrs. Doubtfire” from 1993. So why did Columbus decide to abandon a team that was so successful and well-liked?

Chris Columbus Was Emotionally And Physically Exhausted

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” Columbus spoke candidly about his experiences working on the movies, including why he left after the second installment.

Columbus stated that he started the voyage to direct each of the seven films (it had not yet been decided that “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” would be split into two films). The filmmaker remarked, “I was gullible. I assumed I would have the stamina to complete all seven of these films, but that was not the case.”

The two films were shot back-to-back, each requiring 160 days to shoot, which is already laborious for a movie. Columbus described this as the most challenging aspect. Thus, Columbus characterized himself emotionally and physically spent when they concluded the “Chamber of Secrets.” Columbus continued, “I wasn’t witnessing the development of my little children at the time. I was longing for our shared dinners. I felt like I couldn’t go through this for another six, seven, or eight years. I’ll never meet my kids because they’ll grow up.”

Fortunately, Columbus was able to return for the third movie, though this time in the capacity of a producer, which, in his words, gave him considerably more work flexibility and, consequently, allowed him to spend more time with his family.

Columbus Wants To Direct Another Harry Potter Film

Columbus also expressed his desire to help another “Harry Potter” movie in a piece for The Hollywood Reporter, saying that he would like to turn the stage play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” into a film with the franchise’s original actors. “A version of Cursed Child with Dan, Rupert, and Emma at the correct age, it’s cinematic nirvana,” said Columbus to THR. He used “Star Wars,” stating how poignant it was for fans to see Harrison Ford return for 2015’s “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens,” as an example of how impactful reuniting the “Harry Potter” ensemble for a “Cursed Child” movie could be. It’s a small fantasy of mine; the director said in an interview with Variety when bringing up the subject.
Unfortunately, the possibility doesn’t appear likely any time soon because Daniel Radcliffe said he needs more time away from the role before he contemplates returning when asked if he would be willing to do so. Radcliffe explained to The New York Times, “Going back would drastically alter my life, but I’m getting to the point where I feel like I made it out of “Potter” alright, and I’m content with where I am right now. Never say never is what I always say. I’m not all that interested in doing it right now.”

Given that Radcliffe promised never to say never, perhaps Columbus will be able to realize his ambition of producing a “Cursed Child” movie.

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