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One of the longest running issues fans have had with the Harry Potter films is how they’ve been adapted from J.K. Rowling’s books.

In this fascinating bit from Rowling and Dan Radcliffe’s one-on-one conversation found on the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 DVD/Blu-ray, the pair discuss adaptation and why it would never be perfect. Rowling also reveals a couple of times she put her foot down when she read a script, including a conversation with producer David Heyman about Harry’s green eyes.

Radcliffe: What was lovely for us, and I think I speak for everyone on set. You were around a lot at the beginning and early on. And as you kind of saw that we weren’t going massively off script you backed off. Was that hard?

Rowling: It was easy and a relief. I was around a lot early on. I wanted the Great Hall to look right, I wanted Diagon Alley to look right. There were details that I saw so clearly in my mind. I knew I could help. I knew I could genuinely help and make it right for the readers. I felt a huge protectiveness and loyalty to the readership. Once I knew it was running, it was fine.

I have to say, inevitably you have to depart from the strict storyline of the books. The books are simply too long to make into very faithful films. I could think of many places it works just beautifully.

It didn’t have to be a word for word transcription.

Radcliffe: I do sometimes think, if we did make a 6 hour Harry Potter film there would be an audience.

Rowling: And they’d still be complaining that things were wrong. And they’d still want the directors cut. So let’s not even go down that route.

Radcliffe: Is there anything – talking about things being cut out – is there anything we’ve cut that you were upset about? And is there anything we put in that weren’t in the book that you thought were great? Because I remember with Alfonso and the Dementors..

Rowling: No, I remember exactly what it was with Alfonso. First of all, on the Dementor point I thought he did those beautifully. I loved the fact that they created the visceral dislike for the Dementors. I love what he did for the Dementors. What it was, there was something in the script. Alfonso really wanted to get music into the film. He put the choir in, which I loved. But at one point he had this bizarre scene where Flitwick was conducting and there were miniature people in an orchestra inside something. And I just, you see, this is my geekiness, I said to him, “But why?” I know it’s visually exciting, but part of what fans enjoyed about the literary world is there was a logic that underpinned it. There was always logic to the magic no matter however strange it became. I know it’s intriguing to go through the mouth of whatever it was and see these little people, but why? Why have they done it? For you to film it! That’s just what it feels like. You know, normally with the magic there’s a point. So we had a bit of a discussion about that.

Sometimes I’d dig my heels in about the funniest things. I’d say, “Yeah change the costume. Yeah it can happen in that city instead of that city. And all of a sudden, I’d say, ‘But they wouldn’t do that spell. Why would they do that there? So I think sometimes I confused people. But I also remember, right back at the beginning when you were cast I remember David Heyman calling me up and saying, “We’ve tried green contact lenses. We can digitally alter his eye color in post production. How important is it that his eyes are green?”

Radcliffe: That I will thank you for.

Rowling: And I said, um, “The only really important thing is that his eyes look like his mother’s eyes. So if you’re casting Lily, there needs to be a resemblance, but they don’t absolutely have to be green.” “Oh thank Christ,” he said. Were the lenses that awful?

Radcliffe: There is a very small percentage of people apparently who have a very extreme reaction to contact lenses. And I was one of them.

Rowling: You poor thing. I feel really bad.

Radcliffe: No, don’t worry! It was 10 years ago. It was really fine.

Yesterday we shared a part of the conversation where Rowling thought Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson were too attractive for the roles.

  • http://twitter.com/mellafe natalia h

    I love these tidbits we’ve been getting from that conversation.

    What buffles me is how, in the end, they didn’t even listen to her. The girl they cast as Lily has brown eyes, not even Blue as Daniel’s. It will forever bother me.

  • http://www.jacobaaron.net DotPdf

    “There was always logic to the magic no matter however strange it became.” and this is why we love her. <3

    • KayJayGee

      My heart swelled when she said that. It shows that she was a genius writer who stuck to her own rules as much as possible, and also, it shows that she knows perfectly well why her fans love the book. And she made sure that she didn’t disappoint us. 
      I so agree, that is why we love her :D 

  • Laura Jones

    “The only really important thing is that his eyes look like his mother’s
    eyes. So if you’re casting Lily, there needs to be a resemblance, but
    they don’t absolutely have to be green.”

    funny thing is…the Lily they cast had brown eyes…

    • Writtenbyarose

      no the adult lily they cast actually did have blue eyes, its just the stupid friggin child lily they cast with randomly completely different eyes!! >-(

      • Finally

        Probably one of the bigger mistakes. You know they could have altered them in a day, but they simply didn’t notice.

      • pixelpies

        She actually had green contacts in, but her brown eyes showed through on the camera from the lighting.

        • pixelpies

          Whoops, I mean blue contacts. Sorry!

        • http://twitter.com/taylie27 taylore thompson

          That’s actually really interesting but you’d think they still would be able to alter them

    • http://twitter.com/SlySound Brett H

      They don’t have to be the same color. They just have to look similar in shape. 

      • Alyssa

        100% disagree. The color is the important part.

        • Rkott

          Hi Alyssa, do you live in Ottawa?

      • http://www.rebellionradiopodcast.com Hurley

        Similar in shape? That’s the most distinguishing characteristic of an eye, really?

      • PotionWillow207

        Not true. It was about having the same color eyes. Read the books.

      • readingrandomshit

        everybody says i have my dad’s eyes when his are bright blue and mine are brown so u kinda got a point

    • Bernardotriana

      That is the biggest mistake they made!!! just after Snape dies and says you have your mothers eyes, young lily appears with BIG BROWN EYES -.-’

    • Anonymous

      That really bugged me! Was it so hard to cast a kid with eyes similar to Radcliffe’s, and for such a small part! The kid didn’t even have to be a great actress… That one I really can’t understand…

  • http://twitter.com/sahina91 sahina khatun

    i think they should have got the girl who played Lily Luna to play the young lily Evans because of the eye colour. then there wouldn’t have been such a fuss over it.

    • Alyssa

      That’s actually a pretty good idea. They could have swapped the two really easily.

  • Anonymous

    you know why HP fans are so freakin cool, we even know the colour of Harry’s kid mother’s eyes! <3

  • 1919a6

    I will forever harp on this, but…..why couldn’t they just digitally alter Daniel’s eye color?  Granted, I don’t know much about the post production process, but if coloring his eyes is as easy as it is on Photoshop, you would think that would be nothing compared to, say, editing in a dragon. 

    • BarkingSpiders

      They probably could have, but I can’t imagine a bigger pain for them! They would have to go freeze-frame by freeze-frame; it would probably take them HOURS to adjust Harry’s eyes just to do one little scene. 

    • GoodFinder

      It would have been far more simple to just change kid Lily’s eyes….

    • PotionWillow207

      True, it’s fairly easy in Photoshop, but we’re talking about going through a 2+ hour movie frame by frame and changing it. It’s like Photoshopping the eyes on a million photos.

      Plus, as Jo said it wasn’t important that they be green in particular. Just that they be the same color as Lily’s…which they weren’t in the end.

  • http://twitter.com/Marco0Lorenzo Marco Lorenzo

    I thought the funniest part was her mentioning that not even a 6-hour version of the movies would satisfy some fans.

    “And they’d still be complaining that things were wrong.”

    It’s so true. She knows us so well.

  • BarkingSpiders

    “And they’d still be complaining that things were wrong.” Too true, Jo.

    I was fine with Harry and Lily having blue eyes, instead of green. However, in Deathly Hallows Part 2,  the kid that played young Lily had brown eyes, not blue. It was the very first thing I noticed watching the Prince’s Tale, and it still irritates me to no end! How did that escape anyone’s notice? They seriously should’ve fixed that!

  • rdh014

    yeah i never really cared if they were green. as long as they looked like his mothers. but yeah… young lily in DH2…? ummm no.

  • Alohomora

    I spent a lot of unnecessary time complaining about the whole green-eyes thing, before telling myself what a pain it would have been to edit it afterwards. I never know which side won.

    So, Harry’s eyes have to look like Lily’s? Fine, because that’s one of the main points about Harry’s appearance. He looks like his father but he has his mother’s eyes. Um, so what happened?

  • http://postpottercritics.tumblr.com Melissa-Kristine Allingham

    I wonder what happened to Dan when he put the contact lenses in…

  • http://twitter.com/SlySound Brett H

    Rowling: And they’d still be complaining that things were wrong. And they’d still want the directors cut. So let’s not even go down that route.
    ^^^I like the biting tone in this quote. 

  • Anon8

    Goodness I love her. The “point” behind magic = top 4 reasons I love these books. It’s so great to have such a wonderful connection to books, and then to think you were having the very reaction the author had/wanted the readers to have.

  • http://twitter.com/Andrew_ww Andrew W

    I don’t see why they just can’t give us the directors cut. A 3 hour OotP instead of that rushed version they showed the world.

  • Courtney

    I really want to know what this says! but i am trying as hard as i can not to read anything that is posted on here from the DVD so i can watch it first hand when i get the DVD Friday. It’s torture! 

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  • Jozefd1

    you know know a website to download or watch this part of the special features? and many of the others as well?

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