CHRIS COLUMBUS (2)
Was it easier to do the film second-time round?
It was a lot easier. On the second film we really just had more fun. It was intense, because I wanted to make a film that was better than the first time. I felt slightly more confident, I know the young actors felt more confident - you can see it in their performances. We were able to improvise, which we were never able to do on the first film.
Did you take in any reaction to "Philosopher's Stone" in the course of doing "Chamber of Secrets"?
Not really. We really didn't have time to even think about the reaction, which was probably good for the kids [the actors] as well as those of us making the film. "Philosopher's Stone" opened on the Friday and we were back filming "Chamber of Secrets" on the Monday.
We always knew "Chamber of Secrets" would be stylistically a little different from "Philosopher's Stone" - it was a darker picture, edgier, with a bit more of an action-adventure/suspense slant. The first movie had 45 minutes of introduction. We immediately get into the story this time, which I think makes a huge difference.
How did you squeeze the novel down into the script?
I think the biggest omission was not to keep the Death Day party in the movie, which was one of our favourite scenes from the book. I think the film would have lost some of its intense pacing by putting that sequence in.
We knew with "Chamber of Secrets" that we had two opportunities for action sequences, and that's really what attracted me to the story. I always ask the kids on set, "What's your favourite "Harry Potter" book?" The "Chamber of Secrets" is rarely mentioned. And it's a great book because it's got one of the strongest and simplest stories to translate to screen. It also enables you to take sequences - the basilisk sequence, the spider sequence - and turn them into full-fledged action sequences, which to me as a filmmaker was just so exciting. I was like an eight-year-old kid again, I couldn't wait to get to the set the days we were shooting those scenes.
Can the child actors play their characters in all seven movies?
Logically it's going to take us longer to do the third than it has the first two films, which we've basically shot back-to-back. In the books, as you well know, the kids get progressively older, so they could presumably play the roles for all seven films. It's really up to them, and how much excitement and stamina and energy they have.
Did the sheer scale of working with so many special effects ever compromise your ability to work with the actors?
Not really. The one thing I learned on the first film, and the one thing I wanted to improve upon on the second film, were the visual effects, I felt we could have done better. We had three months on the first film; we shot all of the visual effects scenes first for "Chamber of Secrets", giving us eight to nine months. I think the effects are much better on this film.
I realised after doing the first film that with technology these days, you can do basically whatever you want, so it opens you up as a filmmaker. You can add a character wherever you like, so your imagination is freer and more open. It's been an incredible experience, and it hasn't hurt the actors at all, they love it.
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