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Harry Potter Creator A Dream For Films

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix opens in theaters today, putting Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson back in the public eye for another movie. Harry Potter fans know there’s another, even bigger star than the three lead actors involved in the movies, however: creator J.K. Rowling. The author is known to have an unprecedented amount of influence over the film adaptations, from insisting all major characters are played by genuine Brits, to approving and aiding with the script adaptations.

For instance, an early draft of Order of the Phoenix had cut a major character out of the story. While producer David Heyman won’t say what character had gotten the axe (my guess is “Loony” Luna Lovegood), he will admit Rowling made the writers see the errors of their ways: ”Jo read the draft, read the screenplay, and she said, 'You know, I wouldn't do that if I were you. Or you can, but if you get to make the seventh film, you'll be tied in knots and it will cause you some difficulties.” I guess it helps having someone who knows what that mysterious seventh tome holds helping shape the movies.

Despite the amount of control Rowling can wield, Heyman calls her a “dream collaborator,” pointing out that she is so busy writing that she’s not on set. The producer told SciFi Wire,“She's not intrusive in any way. But she's there when we need her in terms of answering questions. As an example, [there was a question] about the Black family tree, which is something that [isn't detailed in the book]. When we were making it into a film, and we were visualizing, we needed more than four or five names, and so I called Jo up and said 'Help!' Fifteen minutes later this drawing of the family tree [arrived], which was 75 names and five generations, with birthdays and death dates, who's married to whom, who's been excised from the family, like Sirius as a black hole. She's remarkable."

One has to wonder if Rowling will be a little more involved for the final two movies. After all, the final book is done so her writing days are done, at least as far as Harry Potter goes. Also, she’s had the end of the story written from the very beginning, so I’m certain she’ll want to make sure that is translated well onto the screen. Still, two more movies gives Rowling plenty of Harry Potter crazed days left to change her mind and decide to send Harry off to college for more misadventures with Ron and Hermione.