Director David Yates Talks HARRY POTTER & THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART TWO

[Once again thanks goes to Diva Velez for the following interview with four-time Harry Potter helmer, David Yates, which took place in early November during the Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part Two DVD press conference at the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter theme park in Orlando, Florida. This is being cross-published on The Diva Review.]

The Lady Miz Diva: We're all here for the occasion of the DVD release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two.  What is it like to revisit this final chapter?

 
David Yates:  I've really been looking forward to it, 'cos it's a kind of last goodbye to it.  You know, on the back of being absolutely exhausted when you make a movie; you kind of tumble into it and you're just spent, really.  So, it's nice to see people like Warwick {Davis} and Evanna {Lynch} and Rupert {Grint}, just briefly to say hello, because when we see each other, we've been through so much, so to see them is great.  And to also kind of see the theme park, is intriguing...
 
 
LMD:  Had you not been here before?
 
DY:  No, I was finishing the last movie.  When the theme park opened, Warner Brothers said, "Come to the theme park. Come to the opening." And I said, "I'm actually finishing your movie. Do you want the movie ready for the premiere, or shall I come and ride the roller coaster?" and they said, "Ah, okay, on second thought, you finish the movie.  You can ride the roller coaster another time."  So, I've walked 'round yesterday and it was very surreal.  It felt very strange; all the beautiful sets expanded.  I thought, 'My brain's telling me this is associated with work and storytelling and yet all these people are wandering around eating ice cream and smiling.  It was a very weird juxtaposition, but I think they've done a really good job.
 
 
LMD:  We hadn't the chance to speak at the theatrical release of the film, but I must ask what your inspiration was behind the pre-credits sequence which recaps Voldemort stealing the Elder Wand from Dumbledore's grave, then centers on haunting images of Professor Snape in the turrets overlooking Hogwarts.  There's no dialog, only some sound effects and music. It's a stunning and heartbreaking way to begin a film.
 
DY:  I wanted to start with Snape because he's so integral to the story and we discover so much about him in the movie.  And Alan Rickman is so amazing as an actor, and what I love about him and the way he works is he thinks rather than shows.  I know we usually open the movies with big bangs and bridges falling down and all sorts of stuff, but to open on an actor's face, quite close was so compelling.  And it's actually quite an enigmatic expression; he's not giving away too much, but it completely pulls you in.  And then visually, just this notion of this shape, this black shape, and you've seen these Dementors just floating there in the ether and he's almost like another Dementor.  Visually, that felt quite strong, and also we needed to remind the audience of where we left the last movie.  It was just a nice, neat reminder of our characters are in trouble, this is the guy who's got the Elder Wand, it's going to be scary.  So, all those things just rolled together in the first few minutes.
 
 
LMD:  In my review of the film's theatrical release, I wrote that Alan Rickman deserved a Supporting Actor nomination for his performance as Snape. 
 
DY:  I agree. He's mesmeric, you're right.
 
 
LMD:  What, if anything, was different directing him for this film than in your earlier work together?
 
DY:  I think the notion that this is our last roll of the dice always elevates everything. What I love about that character, particularly Alan's interpretation of that character, is there's something very trapped about Snape - something very hidden and trapped.  And there's something very romantic about that; about someone who can't quite express their true self and I find that particularly moving about Alan's portrayal of Snape.  He was aware that this was his last opportunity to do something and I'm in love with the character, what he does with it.  It was great; it was fun just doing it.  And Alan was letting go of it, of course.  For him, that's quite a big deal; 'cos he'd lived with the character for ten years.  When he dies and when he looks at Dan and says, "You have your mother's eyes" -- which is a line that wasn't in the book -- it's really moving.
 
 
LMD:  How much of what you shot was informed by J.K. Rowling's post-publishing revelations about some of the characters, like Dumbledore being gay, and how far off the Rowling reservation did you have leave to take the film?  The line the script where Neville runs off to tell Luna he's mad for her was a big moment for fans who wanted to see them together, but also isn't in the book.
 
DY:  I love that moment.  Obviously, Jo is the source and the oracle, and then Steve {Kloves} goes up and does a draft, and then we all work on the draft with Steve.  That's what we do.  Steve's first drafts are always terrific, but they always go through an evolution as we -- David {Heyman} and I, and David Barron -- we all kind of file in and start to fine-tune it.  And what I love about working with Steve and all the writers I've worked with, is all the visual references and visualisations we have will start to pour into the script, and Steve's a director in his own right, so he's really sophisticated, visually.  So, by the time we get to shooting, most of it's already in the script.  We've changed some things from the book, taken some things out from the book and we've added some things that were not in the book, and that's been a collective process, and that's the template and the map I'll use to shoot.
 
 
LMD:  Speaking of cutting things out, we have some deleted scenes on the DVD, but was there anything you really wanted to include that didn't make it into the theatrical release?
 
DY:  We included pretty much most of the stuff we wanted.  There weren't that many deleted scenes.  Was there anything that we really struggled with?  There was a moment when Rupert and Emma kissed, and there was just a wonderful expression when they break between the pair of them; an acknowledgment of these two friends having just snogged.  It was too long rhythmically to leave it and things like that always hurt, because when you watch the movie with it in, you're too long away from Voldemort.  So, there were things you trim out for the greater good of the movie, but at the moment it is painful.
 
 
LMD:  Were both parts of Deathly Hallows shot at the same time?
 
DY:  Yeah, concurrently.
 
 
LMD:  How did you get such completely different feel from each of the films based on this one book?
 
DY:  It was always my intention.  I wanted the first one to feel like a European road movie.  It's very slow, very gentle, very intimate.  Someone said to me the other day, "I can't believe you got away with that. It felt like an art house movie, and it was like a blockbuster film. Didn't Warner's give you a hard time? Didn't they watch the first film and say, 'What are you doing? This is Harry Potter, for God's sake!'?"  Ironically, Warner's was so supportive, they absolutely loved that approach, and I wanted the second one to be more of an operatic spectacle and that was always the intention. I didn't want them to feel very similar.
 
 
LMD:  Having directed them in four films since 2006, what changes have you seen in "The Trio," Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint?
 
DY:  They have been very consistent, so consistent, honestly.  Emma's gotten much more interested in her acting, and much deeper and more curious the more we gave her to do.  Rupert's always been very chilled and relaxed and charming.  He's a sweetheart.  And Dan's always been kind of a workaholic.  They haven't really changed that much, honestly, which I think is very charming on one level.  They've always been easy to work with.  They've always wanted to please.  They've always wanted to do good work.  They've always wanted to be pushed.  They've always been aware of the fact that they've been given this golden ticket in a way and they've never taken it for granted.  Whenever people have come to set, they're always brilliant at being diplomats and ambassadors for the world and for their characters.  It's impressive.
 
 
LMD:  What do you think the legacy of this collection of films - as opposed to the books - will be over time?
 
DY:  Do you know the fact that parents read them to their kids, and when those kids grow up, they'll read them to their kids?  The DVDs will be passed like that.  I think it will hang in there for a while.  I think that people love the notion of magic, but more importantly, at the heart are Jo's sensibility and her ideology is the power of love and loyalty; all the values that are important in life.  So, I think the legacy, it will be there for a while.
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