Friday, December 5, 2014

Sci Fi Trifles: Steven Spielberg Considered Adapting the Harry Potter Books as Animated Films in the Late 90’s

The Harry Potter movies, based on the uber-popular books by J.K. Rowling, are known and beloved the world over and the film franchise has grossed over $7.5 billion worldwide. But did you know that long before Christopher Columbus helmed the first movie--Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone--Steven Spielberg considered taking a stab at the books and he wanted to produce them as animated films?

Rowling’s first Harry Potter book hit the stores in 1997 in England (where it was known as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) and became an instant success. By 1998, it had made its way across the Atlantic and Warner Bros. studio had taken an immediate interest in the property. They paid $2 million for the rights to the first four books, and Steven Spielberg was the person pegged to helm this promising new franchise in its transition to the big screen. However, Spielberg envisioned the Harry Potter films as CGI-animated affairs. He had noted the phenomenal success that Pixar had with Toy Story in 1995, and he knew that the Harry Potter movies would require plenty of special effects scenes to bring the story to life. So he believed that CGI-animation was the best way to go with the property. He also planned on combining two of the books into a single movie instead of doing a separate film for each. The president of Warner Bros. did not see eye-to-eye with this approach, though, preferring live action films and a single movie per book. Spielberg eventually bowed out of the Harry Potter movies and would go on to do AI: Artificial Intelligence for Warner Bros. in 2001.

The names of several other directors were then tossed out including Terry Gilliam, Alan Parker, Wolfgang Petersen, Rob Reiner, Brad Silberling, Peter Weir and of course Christopher Columbus. This would be narrowed down to Gilliam, Parker, Silberling, and Columbus and Rowling would have preferred that Gilliam take up the director’s chair. But Warner Bros. would eventually award Columbus with the task of shepherding Harry Potter to the big screens. Based on the popularity of the movies, that must have been the right choice. But wouldn’t have been interesting to see the animated interpretation of the character that Spielberg would have created, or just think how differently it would have turned out in Terry Gilliam’s hands.

Source: LA Time Hero Complex and Wikipedia

Buy the Harry Potter Movies on Blu-ray and DVD from

Useless but essential pop culture tidbits and trivia from the worlds of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror.

Did you know that Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski wrote a proposal for a Star Trek reboot years before the J.J. Abrams movies came out? Did you know that Han Solo was originally supposed to be a green-skinned alien and some of the early actors considered for the role included Billy Dee Williams, Al Pacino, and Chevy Chase? How about that FOX originally wanted someone more like Pamela Anderson to play the roll of Scully on The X-Files? Or that in 1974, science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke predicted the Internet? Ever hear of Varney the Vampire?

Find out the truths about these and more in Sci Fi Trifles.  Trivia, anecdotes, little known nuggets and more that present an addicting glimpse into the story behind the story of sci fi. Once you've started reading them you will wonder how you have managed to live so long without knowing them!

Available now for only $2.99 on Kindle from  

No comments:

Post a Comment