Friday, December 20, 2013
Fans of J.K. Rowling’s book series were given a big boost back in September when it was announced that Rowling had cut a deal with Warner Bros (who produced all eight of the Harry Potter films) to produce a film around Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them, a supplemental book to the seven-novel series about Potter. Fantastic Beasts is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter line of novels and films; instead it begins 70 years prior to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in New York City. Rowling is hoping to turn the film into a series of its own.
Potter fans tend to be an insatiable bunch, so it’s a good thing Fantastic Beasts isn’t the only piece of news I have to tell. Just this morning I read that Rowling is also bringing Harry Potter to the stage. Unlike Fantastic Beasts, the stage play will reportedly be a prequel to Sorcerer’s Stone, and address Potter’s early days as an orphan and misfit.
Writing extensions to a series as beloved and established as Harry Potter is indeed a tricky business. I have to say, choosing a medium other than film was a wise choice on Rowling’s part. Fans grew used to a distinctive style of filmmaking by the time the eighth movie was released, so writing a prequel for the stage gives Rowling a chance to branch out a bit in style without risking as much rejection from die-hard fans of the film.
Moreover, writing the prequel as a stage play has its advantages for the actors – particularly the lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you look at it) young men who will be cast as Harry. On film, audiences would expect and demand a younger version of Daniel Radcliffe. On the stage, audiences will likely give the actors more room to interpret the role.
These two projects will be Rowling’s first attempt at writing both a screenplay and a stage script. With no word on a release date for Fantastic Beasts or an opening night for the stage show, fans will have to get by re-reading the book series and re-watching the film series. We’ll keep you updated if we hear more.