J.K. Rowling Opens Up About “Cursed Child” in New Interview

As Harry Potter and the Cursed Child begins its move to New York City, a renewed excitement has grown around the play. The creative minds behind the work of art, including J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne, were interviewed on CBS Sunday Morning today, and they gave more detailed information about how Cursed Child came to be than we have heard before.

As she’s said before, Rowling admitted she had to be persuaded to allow Harry on stage. But it was the prospect of working with the creative team – Tiffany, Thorne, and producers Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender – that nudged her in that direction. Even when asked directly if the play was about the money, she admitted she has enough:

Life is too short. I only want to do things that I enjoy, or that I think are good or worth doing.

Throughout the entire extended interview, which you can read here, Rowling, Thorne, and Tiffany covered the creative process, themes, expectations (both of themselves and from the fans), and the future of Potter and Rowling’s writing. You can watch the broadcast piece below or take a look at our recap of the main points of the extended interview in the toggles.

 

On the Creative Process

All three writers admitted they found absolute delight in the creative process that led to Cursed Child.  “[I]t so happens that three of us worked very, very well together, and I think we produced something we’re all very proud of,” Rowling commented. At the beginning, Thorne explained, the three of them put together what they thought the story should be. Rowling had full veto power – but she found that she “just knew” when an idea was right. She described it:

I know it’s right when I have a sensation of, “Oh yeah, of course, that happened.” And that when the three of us were kicking that around, one of these guys would say, “Well, how about–” and I’d have that feeling, “Oh yeah, of course, that’s what happened.” I just knew… It felt like excavation, which is how I know that I’m on the right track, when I feel that I am actually uncovering a story that’s already there.

However, Tiffany had one rule, one that Rowling fully supported. He would not include Quidditch in the story, mostly for practical reasons!

All three also spoke about their joy and excitement in watching people experience the show, some of them attending a live theater performance for the very first time. And even though the show has been wildly successful in London, there is still some trepidation in moving the show to Broadway. Will audiences react the same way?

On Criticism and Fan Expectations

Rowling knows Potter has hordes of fans. “With that comes very high expectations, and sometimes people don’t like what you’re going to do,” she said. But, she continued, “I cannot tell you how much I loved doing this. I loved it from start to finish.”

When asked whether she cares about the readers’ opinions or not, Rowling answered in two parts:

[Y]es, I do. Of course I do… the fact that people love the books, and the movies as well, and that those stories meant so much to so many people, that is everything to me. No writer is going to tell you differently. I have phenomenal love and respect for those people… they gave me a sense of belonging, actually, and purpose that I’m not sure I had had before.

On the “no, I don’t” side, I think as a writer or any kind of creative person, you actually do have to hold tight to your vision. And ultimately you have to be able to look in the mirror and say, “Did I do that for the right reasons? Did I do it to the best of my ability? Am I happy with the result?”

And don’t think she doesn’t see your unhappy tweets to her:

This is the age of social media. You think I don’t get told in no uncertain terms that I’ve done the thing they didn’t want to happen to a character, or why on Earth am I taking it into theatre? No, believe you, in the age of social media, one is never deluded about the fact that some people aren’t happy.

On the Future of Potter

Rowling has also seen your tweets begging her for some other wizarding world story. What exactly that is, she won’t say “[b]ecause my Twitter feed will be a place of hell for three months if I say it.” The reason, she said quite simply, is “It has to excite me, and it doesn’t excite me.”

They also discuss the lasting and future legacy of Potter. From the children who grew up with Harry who are now adults bringing their own children to the story, to those who discovered the series only after it was finished, all three writers said the lasting impact of the series was a sight to behold.

But, as she’s said before, this is the last Rowling will commit to writing about Harry:

This is it. “Cursed Child” is it. I couldn’t feel happier about it. We couldn’t duplicate this. Nothing could ever match up. If no one else loves it after this, we loved it, didn’t we? … I’m done. I needed to be persuaded …and I’m really glad I was persuaded, because I’m so proud of this play. But no, we’re not going to see Albus’ son go to Hogwarts. Well, not on my watch… In 100 years time, I’ll come and haunt the person who does it.

The future does, however, hold more Strike books, Fantastic Beasts screenplays, another children’s story, and more. Safe to say, whatever the future holds for Harry’s family, Rowling still has plenty of stories to tell.