Mike Newell has agreed to direct “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” the fourth film in the smash-hit series for Warner Bros. Pictures. The announcement was made today by Jeff Robinov, President of Production, Warner Bros. Pictures. Newell most recently completed production on “Mona Lisa Smile,” starring Julia Roberts, and is also known for directing such critical and popular successes as “Four Weddings and A Funeral,” “Enchanted April” and “Donnie Brasco.”
Production on “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” is scheduled to begin in England in April, 2004. David Heyman will produce and Steve Kloves will write the screenplay for the film, which is slated for release worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures in late 2005. Newell will be the first British director to helm a Harry Potter movie; the films are based on the best-selling series of books by J.K. Rowling and are set in the U.K.
The first two movies in the Harry Potter series broke worldwide records with a combined box-office gross of nearly US$1.9 billion. “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” the third film in the series, is currently being filmed under the direction of Alfonso CuarÃ³n at Leavesden Studios and on location in England and Scotland. However, since the production schedules for that picture and “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” will overlap, it became infeasible for the same director to oversee both projects.
“We’re really happy to bring Mike on board to direct this movie,” said Robinov. “He has the ability to get tremendous performances from his actors, and handles drama and comedy equally well. We’ve been lucky to have worked with excellent filmmakers on the first three Harry Potter movies and we are looking forward to continuing that tradition as we start on this next movie with Mike.”
Agreed Heyman, “When Alfonso made the decision to focus on completing ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,’ we were faced with the daunting task of finding a director to handle the complex challenges of ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ and to follow in the footsteps of Chris Columbus and Alfonso CuarÃ³n. Mike’s rich and diverse body of work show him to be the perfect choice. He has worked with children, made us laugh, and had us sitting on the edge of our seats. He is great with actors and imbues all his characters, all his films, with great humanity. I’m thrilled.”
“I’m very excited about directing ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,'” said Newell. “As audiences have become more familiar with both the books and the movies, there has been an increasing challenge to continue to develop each of these characters and to make their world real on the screen. It is a pleasure to follow directors Chris Columbus and Alfonso CuarÃ³n, who have done so much to establish the tradition of Harry Potter on film, and to work with David Heyman and Steve Kloves, whose love and respect for this material have been central to the success of this enormous undertaking.”
Newell, through his company Fifty Cannon Entertainment, has executive produced such films as “Traffic,” “I Capture the Castle” and “High Fidelity.”