Pottermore Provides a Look Back at the Start of “Cursed Child”

Today marks the official opening of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, but Pottermore is taking Harry Potter fans back to February, when the cast and creative team met for the first time.

The Pottermore Correspondent reflects on the environment in the rehearsal space, providing a vivid picture of the emotions behind the scenes:

We were standing in a cavernous rehearsal space scattered with props and framed on either side by a half-constructed set. Noma Dumezweni (Hermione) whispered jokes to Paul Thornley (Ron). Jamie Parker (Harry) stood quietly in his Ugg boots, and there was just something indelibly Harry Potter about his stance. The crew chattered, and the child actors sat nonchalantly as though their lives weren’t about to change forever.

Going on to describe how J.K. Rowling introduced herself by saying, “I’m Jo… Well, you know what I did,” the Pottermore Correspondent says,

There was a long, sweet, earnest pause as we all stopped to think about exactly what she has done and why we were all here. Excitement unfurled across the party.

The Pottermore Correspondent also gives credit to producers Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender for doing “the unimaginable”:

They helped J.K. Rowling to bring her characters back and released them on stage, in a two-part play directed by the brilliant John Tiffany. Together they assembled this group of gifted creatives – starting with writer Jack Thorne.

In a recent interview with Deadline, Colin Callender discussed the casting process for Cursed Child. Saying that John Tiffany had some “very specific ideas” about who the actors should be, Callender shared,

But [John] knew when he found them who he wanted. He was very clever about it, because on a couple of occasions he’d show us some auditions and stage manage the whole thing so we got to the place where he knew he wanted us to be.

Casting the play, however, was “a challenge”:

The whole endeavor was a challenge because these actors had to establish themselves in their own right, knowing the audience was coming in having seen Emma Watson and Dan Radcliffe. Those guys have been brilliant, but our guys had to somehow get the audience from A to Z, from the books and the movies to the stage.

Callender expressed no concern that fans would be thinking of the actors from the films, saying,

I really do think that, in their own way, each one of them has made these characters their own. Within minutes I don’t think you’re thinking about other actors. They are those characters. It’s a great tribute to those actors. And it’s also helpful that they’re older. You never really spent any time with those three central characters as adults, in either the books or the films.

He also revealed something that actor Jamie Parker had said about his role:

When Jamie Parker, who plays Harry, was asked about this, he said, ‘Well, I’ve played Hamlet, and many talented actors came before me in that role, but I had to make it my own and not be daunted by those other actors.’

Additionally, Callender described the challenge of not being able to compare Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to anything else in existence:

But interestingly, I think at every step of the way we’ve looked at this play and said, ‘What can we compare this to?’ Because it’s not a musical, and most stage adaptations of movies or books tend to be musicals. It’s not an adaptation of the existing books; it’s a new story. It’s not a single play; it’s in two parts. And it’s living in the wake of books and films. The combination of all that is unusual. It’s difficult to think of any other project like this. We were constantly coming up against decisions that had to be made where we didn’t have any reference points.

The canon, he says, remained of the utmost importance:

This extraordinary worldwide fan base is very protective of the canon, and we were very respectful of it and wanted to do right by it.

Are you looking forward to the release of the script book for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child? Are you excited to see the Harry Potter series continue? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!