Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 Set Visit – Director David Yates


David Yates knows how to get the job done! He was chosen over an array of talented directors to bring the “Harry Potter” movies to an end and he spoke with ComingSoon.net briefly about his plans for the final installments.

Q: We know as of now you don’t know how the movie will be split, but what are you looking to achieve with the split? Is it about how you’re ending the first film? How you’re beginning the second?
David Yates: I think the first film needs to feel like a complete experience. That’s the number one priority. We looked at initially at kind of cliffhanger ending because we thought that would be kind of neat and interesting. There is always someone who dies at the end of a “Harry Potter” film. I thought why don’t we just end it in a very different way to how the last two or three have ended. I looked at it and I think we have a point now – we’ve actually got a scene which I think is quite cool to end the first part which is we still have an emotional resolution. The film still feels quite complete. I can’t tell you what it is until I’m sure it’s the right thing to do honestly. We’re moving pieces around all the time. It feels good actually. It feels right. It climatic, but it kind of offers a slight cliffhanger element to it. It’s very early days in the editing. We’ve been shooting for a year-and-a-half. We’ve been editing alongside the shoot, but editing is such an extraordinary process because you’re always playing and trying different things. I’m not committed to anything yet. I haven’t presented anything to the studio or to the producers about where we’re ending. We’re still playing.

Q: Are there things you’re still discovering that are exciting and new about the “Harry Potter” world? What also made you decide to keep going after the first one you worked on?
Yates: It’s too much fun to stop to be honest. It’s a great world to be working with. It’s so rich and playful. At the beginning of Part 1 we’ve got this car chase. It’s a wizard car chase. Jo gives us the opportunities in what she’s put together in “Hallows” that I didn’t get to do in “Half- Blood” and “Order of the Phoenix” because she’s so imaginative. I never feel like I’m making the same movie. Six for me felt very different than five because there was more comedy and it was more playful, it had a slightly different tone, it wasn’t as intense, it wasn’t as tight. In “Hallows – Part 1” is these kids are on the road. They feel very small in a very big world. They are away from Hogwarts – this big familiar comfortable blanket that they’ve grown up with. They feel quite surprisingly vulnerable and fragile in this big Muggle world. With the second film, I just want it to be a big opera. I want it to be big and loud and exciting. I want it to be a big action spectacle.

Q: How are you working with the actors to get these very emotional scenes out of them?
Yates: Well they’ve gotten older and that means in their life they have experienced more. Any actor draws on that so you encourage them to bring a bit of what they’ve learned from the real world and their real lives into their performances. They become a little bit more sophisticated in what they do. Also I’m a big believer in giving them a bit more freedom to try things so we might do a take and instead of going cut, we’ll just do the take again. We never stop so you give them the opportunity to tune in into the moment. One thing I often say to Daniel is that you have to tune into this experience. It’s a bit like a dial on a radio. Here’s a bit static. Here the sounds not quite right and here you’re actually here – you’re in it. You’re always saying let’s try to be in that experience. When you’re in that experience you don’t have to show it. It just has to happen to you. There was a torturing [scene] with Emma and Bellatrix. Emma was really keen to do this torturing scene. I said we had to be really careful about how we do it and she completely gave herself to the process. What we did was set up a couple of cameras and Helena [Bonham Carter] got on top of Emma basically and she was writing mud blood on her arm. We just let the whole thing role for about three or four minutes. In that three or four minutes there was some good bits and not so good bits. There were one or two moments that were really powerful where Emma was just able to let go and forget for a moment she was acting. She still was acting – you’re still performing but she lost herself in this process. The screams were quite horrible to listen to. You could feel it on stage. Everyone felt uncomfortable. Everyone sort of stepped back a bit. It was a very off energy in the room because she was exploring exercising demons really and serving the scene in doing that. It was really interesting.

Q: Are you shooting for an audience at this point or for the general field?
Yates: It’s an odd thing, “Potter,” because it seems to attract six-year-old kids and 60-year-old men and women. Years ago, I saw people reading the book on the tube and it wasn’t kids who were reading the book, it was adults reading the book. Jo Rowlings just created this world that has this universal appeal and it’s not ageist in any sense. We have pretty scary things and I worry about younger kids seeing some of the stuff because it’s quite scary but at the same time they seem to like scary stuff. So I never think about the demographic. I just think how can we make this as fun and interesting as possible.

<< Return to Main Set Visit