David Heyman on the Half-Blood Prince Delay


Producer David Heyman is best known for producing the “Harry Potter” movies, and he doesn’t often talk to the press, but with his Holocaust drama The Boy in the Striped Pajamas opening in select cities on November 7, he was in New York to promote it. While ComingSoon.net had him, we wanted to get his take on the decision for Warner Bros. to move Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to next summer. Later, we would talk briefly to David Thewlis, who plays Professor Lupin in the series, and we found out some of what to expect for his character in the movie.

“I think that there was some people… kids were definitely upset, and I’m really sympathetic to that,” Heyman told us when asked about the decision to delay the sixth installment. “I would love the film to come out in November; we would have been ready, but the fact is partly because of the writers strike and for whatever reason, Warners didn’t have any movies next summer. They had Batman this year which was bigger than they ever thought it would be, so they came to me, and they said, ‘David, we want to move it.’ Warners has been really good to us. They’ve given us lots of money and lots of independence. It defies belief how much independence we have on these films. They give us the money, they read a draft of the script. I choose the director, we make the film, they come and visit. We show them a cut of the film, they say they like it, they give us some notes, we make the changes that we want to make. We test screen it once and show it to them, and then the movie is released. They’ve been so supportive that one has to support… they needed it. It’s a film business.”

“It’s a shame and it’s frustrating in a sense as any creative person,” he continued. “It’s nice to put what you’ve done behind you before you move onto the next and this is still lingering over us until July next year, but also, we’ll have to take a week off shooting to do publicity, which is a little bit disruptive. It’s not ideal but at the same time, I fully support it, because as I say, they give us the freedom to make these films, and they pay a lot of money.”

“The film’s done,” he confirmed. “We’re just mixing and there’s a slight tweak we’re going to do but actually, if the film was coming out tomorrow, we’d have done it but we have the time. One of the issues that’s come up is security so we are not putting a married print together. We’re keeping all the elements separate until we start to make the prints, which will be six weeks before the movie comes out. Piracy is such a huge issue.”

The move hasn’t affected the shooting of the final two movies that will make up Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which they’ll still start shooting in February. “The way it’s weird to the fans, and this is true, is that there always was going to be a two-year gap somewhere. So there was either going to be a two-year gap between HP6 and HP7 Part 1 but now there’s going to a gap between HP5 and HP6. But the films HP7 Part 1 and 2 are at the moment, we are planning on coming out in November 2010 and Summer 2011.”

A few minutes later, ComingSoon.net spoke to David Thewlis who told us that they’re already starting to set up the romance between his character, Professor Lupin, and the wizard Nymphadora Tonks, in “Half-Blood Prince.” The colorful wizard was introduced in “The Order of the Phoenix,” as played by 24-year-old Natalia Tena, and no one was more surprised than Thewlis when the novel “Deathly Hallows” was released and he realized his character Lupin becomes involved with a character played by a significantly younger actress.

Look for our exclusive interview with Heyman and Mark Herman, the director of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, sometime next week before the movie opens in select city on Friday, November 7.