5:55 pm EDT, September 18, 2013

J.K. Rowling has complete control over ‘Fantastic Beasts’ script, deal a year in the making

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A few additional details about the making of J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter spinoff series deal have surfaced in a new report looking at the studio’s new CEO.

The Hollywood Reporter’s in-depth look at Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara reveals that the deal with Rowling to produce a new series based on the Fantastic Beasts book was a year in development. Moreover, Tsujihara himself flew to England on numerous occasions this year to meet with Rowling face-to-face to work out the plan.

Rowling’s Los Angeles attorney was asked about the deal for the article, and he spoke highly of Tsujihara’s dealings. “Kevin handled himself really well. He was a great listener, and he conveyed sincerity and concern,” he said.

Perhaps most interestingly, the report reveals that Rowling has total control of the script, which she is writing herself. Warner Bros. is not allowed to hire someone else to rewrite her script unless Rowling signs off on the decision. This affords the author the opportunity to have her work appear on screen exactly the way she wants it to. As part of her deal, she also has complete control over scripts for future films in the series.

The decision was surely risky for Warner Bros., in part because Rowling has never written a movie before. On the other hand, we know she’s a powerful writer.

Lastly, THR reveals that the studio is currently in talks with Harry Potter producer David Heyman to return for the new series. Hypable spoke to Heyman earlier this week, and while he couldn’t confirm he would be producing, he did appear very excited about the script and “assured” us the movie will be “very good.”

Is it good or bad news that Rowling has the final say on the Fantastic Beasts script? Will she ask for assistance, given she’s not an experienced screenwriter?

Thanks, THR.

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