Steven Spielberg recently explained why he turned down the offer to direct the first Harry Potter movie.
During a conversation with “RRR” director S.S. Rajamouli that was hosted by Reliance Entertainment to commemorate the theatrical release of Spielberg’s most recent movie, “The Fabelmans,” in India. The veteran director said that the first “Harry Potter” film was just one of many projects he declined for the sake of his family.
“The personal meaning about [how the conflict between] art and family will tear you in half happened to me later, after I had already established myself as a filmmaker, as a working director,” Spielberg said. “Kate [Capshaw] and I started raising a family and we started having children. The choice I had to make was taking a job that would move me to another country for four or five months where I wouldn’t see my family every day…That was a ripping kind of experience.”
“There were several films I chose not to make,” Spielberg continued. “I chose to turn down the first ‘Harry Potter’ to basically spend that next year and a half with my family, my young kids growing up. So I’d sacrificed a great franchise, which today looking back I’m very happy to have done, to be with my family.”
Spielberg recalled in 2012 that his own kids thought he was “crazy” to turn down “Harry Potter,” especially since the “E.T.” director knew the film franchise would be a hit.
“I developed it for about five or six months with [‘Harry Potter’ screenwriter] Steve Kloves, and then I dropped out,” Spielberg told “BBC Breakfast” (via Digital Spy). “I just felt that I wasn’t ready to make an all-kids movie and my kids thought I was crazy. And the books were by that time popular, so when I dropped out, I knew it was going to be a phenomenon.”
Chris Columbus, known for “Home Alone,” ended up directing “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” Columbus also helmed the 2002 follow-up, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.”
Spielberg has seven children, including one stepchild. He shares his oldest son Max, 37, with ex-wife Amy Irving, and has two daughters and a son with his current spouse Kate Capshaw: Sasha, 32, Sawyer, 30, and Destry, 26.
Spielberg and Capshaw are also adoptive parents to son Theo, 34, and daughter Mikaela, 26, and the actor is stepfather to Capshaw’s daughter from a previous relationship, Jessica, 46.