New 'Potter' movie sneaks in spoilers for upcoming books
By Claudia Puig, USA TODAY
It is almost as eerie as one of the plots from her beloved best-selling books.
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling says that Alfonso Cuaron, who directed The Prisoner of Azkaban, which opens next Friday, inadvertently foreshadowed events that will happen in books six and seven, which she has yet to complete.
The last book published was the fifth book in the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The first two movies based on the Potter books were blockbusters.
"I really got goose bumps when I saw a couple of those things, and I thought, people are going to look back on the film and think that those were put in deliberately as clues," Rowling says in an interview released by Warner Bros., which is distributing the movie.
Cuaron, for his part, says "in a way, it was intuition, but everything is so emotionally eloquent, the book gives you all the hints."
Rowling cites Cuaron's "good intuition about what would and wouldn't work" in his film version, which is a less by-the-book take on her novel than the previous two films. It's also shorter.
She particularly was impressed by his vision of the otherworldly prison guards, the dementors.
"They are just as frightening as I imagined, just superb," she says. "One of the biggest themes in the book is Harry's conquering the dementors. And the dementors for me were about depression, and not just sadness. I think Alfonso's really done a great job on that, in showing what that can feel like and the circumstance in which you become vulnerable to that."
Rowling said the process of creating the third book was "the best writing experience I ever had. Of the five books that are published, writing Azkaban was the easiest, and in some ways I think it shows. I was in a very comfortable place when I wrote (number) three: Immediate financial worries were over, and press attention wasn't yet by any means excessive."
Rowling said she was immediately intrigued by the idea of Cuaron directing the third movie. She had "really, really loved (Cuaron's most recent film) Y Tu Mamá También. Alfonso just obviously understands teenage boys, and you know my characters are 13 now. ... This is the book where Harry literally learns how to take care of himself. He finds his father, as it were, and he finds two father substitutes, but the one who actually saves his life is himself."
Rowling says she was drawn by Cuaron's ability to make a film out of classic children's novels. "I'd seen A Little Princess, which I thought was an excellent adaptation, not a very literal adaptation, but very faithful to the emotional truth of the story."
Similarly, she sees the movie as "Alfonso's version of my world. It's his baby. For the very obvious reason that books and films are such different media, to do a very literal adaptation maybe wouldn't serve the material best, and I think he's done exactly what I hoped he would do. He's put a lot of humor in there, and I think it's fantastic. I'd be very, very surprised if most people didn't find their favorite parts of the book in that film."