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Director of the 3rd Harry Potter film explains changes in the saga: “I was confused”

The director of “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” , Alfonso Cuaron recently spoke about the changes he decided to make when taking on the third film in the saga — which turns 20 on June 4 — and how he almost turned down the invitation because he wasn't familiar with the history of the franchise.

“I didn't know the Potter universe very well and I was surprised to receive [o convite para dirigir o filme]”, said Cuarón in an interview with Total Film to mark the film’s anniversary.

“I was confused because this wasn’t on my radar,” he said. “I talk to Guillermo often [del Toro] and a few days later I said, 'You know, they offered me this Harry Potter movie, but it's really weird that they would offer me this.' He said, 'Wait, wait, wait, you said you haven't read Harry Potter?' I said, 'I didn't think it was for me.' In a very flowery lexicon, in Spanish, he said: 'You are an arrogant idiot.'”

Cuarón agreed to direct “The Prisoner of Azkaban” — which is considered by many fans and critics to be the best feature in the franchise — and faced the challenge of bringing the child characters from the first films into the world of puberty while Harry, Ron and Hermione enter adolescence.

“The first two [filmes de Harry] Potter are about childhood experience,” reflected Cuarón. “Characters aged 11 and 12. Innocence. A purity even in the way they see danger. We were dealing with the first impulse to question everything, especially who you are. Suddenly you are not part of the whole; there is a teenage separation.”

“Perfect” cast

According to David Heyman, who served as a producer on the eight films in the franchise, Cuarón also began to treat the actors as young adults on the film set, and asked for a task that made it clear how to choose the protagonist cast — Daniel Radcliffe as Harry, Emma Watson as Hermione and Rupert Grint as Ron — it had been done well.

“Alfonso also had the three children write essays about their characters. Dan wrote one page, Emma wrote 10 or 12 and Rupert didn't turn in anything. Simply perfect”, said Heyman in the interview with Total Film.

“They were becoming more aware of the art of acting and wanted to move on to the next stage,” Cuarón said of the trio of actors.

Exploring Hogwarts grounds

The director also explained that he decided to adopt a more cinematic style when taking on the franchise, exploring the terrain and landscapes of Hogwarts and the wizarding world.

“I wanted to expand things. Open the universe. Feeling like Hogwarts is situated in a geographic place, where you can have nature around your universe, and make that universe one with that nature,” he said.

Cuarón said he wanted to “create a geographic logic” for Hogwarts school: “You know, the main hall is here, and then the stairs are next to the main hall, and if you go up the stairs you go to the bedrooms… If you go to the clock tower, the hospital is a corridor away, and you can see the courtyard, and from there you see the bridge… and below that is Hagrid's hut, and the Whomping Willow on the other side, after the forest…”

“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” It will be re-screened in Brazilian cinemas on June 4th to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

Source: CNN Brasil

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