Steven Spielberg turned down the first Harry Potter – and he has no regrets

Steven Spielberg turned down the first Harry Potter – and he has no regrets


Famed director Steven Spielberg has spoken out about turning down an opportunity to direct Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and says he doesn’t regret the decision.

On the contrary, the legendary Jurassic Park helmer says he is ‘very happy’ to have parred off one of the biggest franchises, like, ever.

The 76-year-old filmmaker justified what seems like an odd decision, even when, as he revealed in 2012, he knew it was going to be ‘a phenomenon’.

‘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,’ he told Digital Spy over ten years ago. 

But now the Catch Me If You Can director has revealed the real reason he turned down the Potter opportunity in 2001, paving the way for Chris Columbus to direct the first of eight films instead.

Speaking to Reliance Entertainment, the Jaws helmer explained: ‘There were several films I chose not to make. I chose to turn down the first Harry Potter to basically spend the next year and a half with my family, my young kids growing up.’

‘Kate 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.’

He added: ‘So I’d sacrificed a great franchise, which today looking back I’m very happy to have done, to be with my family.’ 

Chris ended up earning three Oscar nominations for his efforts on the first Harry Potter film, and went on to direct the second too before dropping out of the franchise because he was ‘emotionally and physically exhausted’.

What followed was a series of different directors including Great Expectations’ Alfonso Cuarón (3), helmer of Four Weddings and a Funeral Mike Newell (4) and David Yates (5–8) who went on to direct the Fantastic Beasts spin off too.

This comes as Steven is nominated for three Academy Awards for The Fablemans, which he was inspired to make during the pandemic.

The Indiana Jones director told the Daily Star: ‘I was terrified this was an end-of-days, and epic-level event, I mean an extinction-level event, that was happening to the world.’

And so fear culminated into The Fablemans: ‘If I got the chance to make one more movie, it was going to be this story.’ 

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