Alfonso Cuarón on Directing “Prisoner of Azkaban”: “It Was… a Lesson [in] Humility”

While the rest of us were heading back to Hogwarts, Alfonso Cuarón, the director of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, sat down with Vanity Fair to discuss his newest movie, Roma, and his experience with Harry Potter.

Cuarón began his career in Mexico working on film and television, doing a variety of different jobs. He told Vanity Fair that “being in Hollywood was very unexpected. It was an accident of the journey that I took.”

Vanity Fair brought up Cuarón’s reluctance to direct Prisoner of Azkaban and asked him about a conversation he had with the Oscar-winning director and writer Guillermo del Toro. Cuarón explained how del Toro changed his mind.

I talked with Guillermo, as I always do, and he says, ‘What’s happening? Any projects going on?’ And I said, ‘I’m going for Harry Potter, can you believe it?’ And I even made fun of it. I hadn’t read the books or seen the films. And then he looks upset with me.

Del Toro asked Cuarón if he’d read the books, and Cuarón said he hadn’t. Del Toro told Cuarón, “You are going right now to the… bookshop and get the books and you’re going to read them and you call me right away.” Cuarón couldn’t refuse.

When he talks to you like that, well, you have to go to the bookshop. At that time, the fourth book had just come out. And I read the first two, and I was halfway through the third, [and] that was the one they had offered me. And I called him and said, ‘Well, the material’s really great.’

On the experience of creating a film in a series, Cuaron said, “As a filmmaker, it was almost like a lesson [in] humility, of saying how am I going to do it my own, but at the same time, respecting what has been beloved in those couple of movies?”

Roma is scheduled to be released in theaters and on Netflix on December 14, 2018. Check out the full interview on Vanity Fair and be sure to watch Roma when it is released!