Co-producer of “Potter” play describes it as an “intimate personal drama”

Colin Callender, one of the producers of the previously announced play based on Harry’s early life with the Dursleys, recently spoke with Deadline about a number of his past and future works. He shed some light on the focus of the Harry Potter stage production and how he convinced J.K. Rowling to bring the Potter franchise to the stage.

The play is to be co-produced between Callender, Sonia Friedman, and J.K. Rowling herself, and it will be developed for the UK theater. Callender describes it as “a new story from J.K. Rowling that hasn’t been told before, and it will sort of explore the emotional life of Harry in a way that it’ll be different from what was in fact in the books or in the films.”

When asked how he convinced Rowling to bring the Harry Potter franchise to the stage, Callender explains how this idea was different from the “big event shows and musicals” with which Jo had been approached in the past.

When Sonia and I approached her it seemed as though it was the first time someone had really talked to her about how one could be an intimate drama on the stage that would explore a side of Harry that hadn’t been seen before. And I think she responded to the possibilities of what could be done on stage and she has embraced it fully and is working with us. It’s very exciting.

He says Rowling is “centrally involved” in the process of bringing the story to life, although they are still at the beginning of the process, with no writer or director attached, yet.

As for a potential screen adaptation, Callender isn’t thinking about that now.

[The intent] is to create a play that uniquely takes advantage of the intimacy and the immediacy of what you can do with a play with a live audience. So it’s not going to be a big special effects play. It’s an intimate personal drama about the boy who lived under the stairs.

What do you think of these new comments from the Potter play co-producer? Are you encouraged that the story can be told properly, or do you think it’s too depressing a story to be told at all?

Catherine Lai

I have been a fan of Harry since 2000, a fan of MuggleNet since 2005, and a MuggleNet team member since 2013. I believe in the power of stories to bring people together, and nothing does that quite like Harry Potter. I’m an annoyingly proud Canadian and live in Toronto.