Thursday, July 23, 2009

Emma Watson’s wish: that old college try

Giving cinematic life to the “Harry Potter” book series has consumed most of the last 10 years for the young British actors who’ve grown up at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry. As they near adulthood, most have their sights set on continuing in film . . . save for Emma Watson.
The 19-year-old beauty, who’s matured from spunky sprite to blossoming babe as Hermione Granger, has declared she’s taking time off to attend college – and right here in the good old U.S. of A. But where?
Watson’s still not confirming, or at least not to a room of inquisitive journalists that includes correspondent Stan Urankar. (Internet rumors suggest Watson’s settled upon an Ivy League choice, with Brown, Yale and Columbia mentioned as leading candidates.)
The prospect of living with a complete stranger admittedly has Watson uneasy. “I am a little bit nervous at the idea,” she says, “but I figure if I’m going to do this experience, then I want to be treated like everyone else.”
Even if she’s sharing quarters with a “Potter”-phile of the highest order?
Watson winces slightly while managing a smile, but it’s Harry himself, Daniel Radcliffe, who breaks the ice. “I really hope you end up with the most massive Harry Potter fans,” Radcliffe declares, drawing a roar of laughter. “I hope that when you walk in, the first thing you see is your face on a doorway!”

Of course, Radcliffe, Watson, et al, are making time for the series finale, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” now in production. For the few not in the know, they’re fashioning two films from J.K. Rowling’s seventh book.
“That wasn’t our original intention,” producer David Heyman admits, “but keep in mind that the direction that (screenwriter) Steve Kloves has taken really is to tell the story from Harry’s point of view, rather than simply translating the books. The seventh book is long in itself, but, more importantly, almost everything in it involves Harry.”
Heyman says it was at the suggestion of Kloves and, with agreement from director David Yates and Warner Bros., that the adventure wrap in two installments.
No word from Heyman, Yates nor Kloves on where the dividing point will be. “We have an idea,” Heyman acknowledges, “but I really don’t want to say what and then have it be something different.”
He does share that Kloves called back not long after the decision to do two films.
“Steve said, ‘You know, I’ve been looking at this again, and I really think we could do three.’ ” Heyman smiles, then adds, “And he was only half-joking.”
Even with young Mr. Potter still conjuring up satchels filled with box office receipts, there are some other magical films newly noted this week. Two of the season's best are "(500) Days of Summer" and "The Hurt Locker." Find my reviews and more at Sun News.

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