Even for non Harry Potter fans, J.K. Rowling’s name should be pretty familiar, having written one of the most successful and influential book series of all time. So to have such a long and arduous process be shoved into hour and a half long films must have been a daunting ordeal for the dedicated writer. However, it was a mousy, red haired American that would alleviate her worries, and become one of her dearest friends. Below, J.K. Rowling describes her meeting with Steve Kloves, the screen writer of the Harry Potter films.
I was kept informed about the people who were in the running to adapt the script, but it wasn’t my call. I heard that Warners was interested in having Steve Kloves do something for them and had been looking for a project that appealed to him. I believe he was shown a few things. He told me that Potter was the only one that interested him; I don’t think he was just being nice.
I knew he’d written and directed The Fabulous Baker Boys, which was a big plus because I loved that film and everything about it. Nevertheless, I was incredibly wary before I met him. He was going to butcher my baby. He was an established screenwriter, which was just plain intimidating. He was also American, and we were meeting shortly after a review of the first Potter book in (I think) the New Yorker, which had stated that it was unlikely the British idiom would translate to an American audience. You have to remember that my first Warner Bros. Meeting did not take place against a backdrop of massive American success for the novels. Although the books were already very popular in the U.K., it was still early days in the U.S., and I therefore had no real means of backing up my opinion that American fans of the book would rather not have Hagrid “translated” for the big screen, for instance.
Steve and I were introduced, in L.A., by David Heyman, the producer, and we almost immediately went into a lunchtime meeting with a big studio executive. Three things happened within a couple of hours that caused every qualm to vanish and made me adore Steve, an attitude from which I haven’t deviated in 13-odd years.
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