When we factor in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and more recently, the visual feast that was Gravity, it's no wonder people were excited by the idea that Alfonso Cuaron might be the one to helm the anticipated Harry Potter spinoff/prequel(ish) film(s) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Unfortunately, from what Cuaron recently said, it doesn't sound like the director is interested in the project.
According to Global Post, Alfonso Cuaron's only set plans for the near future involve looking after his kids during the summer. "I'm once again connecting with life," Cuaron said. "I have no plans of any kind."
That in itself isn't a direct denial of the report that Cuaron was "deep in talks" to direct J.K. Rowling's Fantastic Beasts movie. However, Cuaron goes on to speak fondly of J.K. Rowling, but stresses that he's not currently looking for projects "based around lots of visual effects." And given the anticipated magical "fantastic" beasts in Rowling's upcoming film, it seems fair to assume Cuaron's words rule out any involvement in Fantastic Beasts. "I'm coming out of a five-year process of doing visual effects," Cuaron said. "And now I sort of want to clean my palate of that a little bit."
This is surely not what Harry Potter fans wanted to hear, given how well Cuaron handled Prisoner of Azkaban, which was arguably the best directed of all of the Harry Potter films. Not only did it handle the source material well, but the tone and visual style of the film really took the franchise to the next level.
Alfonso Cuaron earned himself a much-deserved Academy Award this year for helming the 2013 space-set drama Gravity. And given the spectacular visual experience he delivered with that film, as much as we'd love for him to bring that talent back to Rowling's world, it's also completely understandable that he might be looking to step away from visual effects for a while.
So we're back to speculating over who might helm Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The story will center on Newt Scamander, fictional author of Hogwarts textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It will be set seventy years before Harry Potter arrives at Hogwarts, and will begin in New York. The script is being penned by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling herself, and last we heard, Warner Bros. wants to make the story into a trilogy. The first film is set for a November 2016 release date, which gives WB some time to find the perfect director, but hopefully we won't have to wait much longer to find out who that will be.