Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

J.K. Rowling's Potter World Roars Back to Life This Fall

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

J.K. Rowling's Potter World Roars Back to Life This Fall

Article excerpt

NEW YORK - The pop culture juggernaut of J.K. Rowling's Potter- mania appeared to be breathing its last gasp when the eighth film in the series, part two of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, made its premiere amid teeming throngs of bittersweet Potter fans in London's Leicester Square in 2011. Wands went into their cases. Hogwarts scarves were hung up.

"When Potter' finished, I thought that was it, producer David Heyman said, who oversaw the movie adaptations from the start and has since produced "Gravity, "Paddington and other films. Director David Yates, who helmed the final four Potter movies, staggered away for a much-needed holiday.

"I wouldn't have imagined that I'd come back so quickly, Yates said. "But it was the script that pulled me back in.

The script was "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and it, unlike all the Potter films, was penned by Rowling herself. Based on Rowling's 2001 book, which was framed as Harry's Hogwarts textbook, "Fantastic Beasts is set in Rowling's familiar, magical world, but takes place 60 years earlier, in a more adult 1926 New York where wizards and Muggles (called "No-Majs, as in "no magic, in America) live in disharmony.

This fall, Rowling's $7.8 billion film franchise will roar back into life, resurrecting one of the most potent and lucrative big- screen sensations. It's a two-pronged attack. While "Fantastic Beasts is reaching back into the past of Rowling's Potter world, the two-part West End play "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (only co- written by Rowling) is going into the future. It moves the tale 19 years ahead of where the books left off.

Authorship, timelines and casts may be extending in new directions, but the old obsession is still goblet-of-fire hot. The script of "Cursed Child sold two million copies in two days.

Big expectations naturally also surround "Fantastic Beasts (Nov. 18). For Warner Bros., which has endured sometimes rocky times in the intervening non-Potter years, it's a happy reunion. In today's constantly rebooting, ever-sequalizing Hollywood, did you really think Rowling's world was finished?

"This isn't Harry Potter. There aren't Harry Potter characters in this, Heyman said. …

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