David Barron is an English film producer who was involved with the production of six out of the eight Harry Potter films. Barron had many different roles in the film industry such as location manager, assistant director, production manager, and production supervisor before becoming a producer. He began his career with commercials before moving on to producing television and film in the early 1980’s. He is attached to many notable films such as The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981), Legend (1985), The Princess Bride (1987), Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein (1994), Franco Zeffirelli’s Hamlet (1996), and Sahara (2005).
In 1991, Barron was appointed by George Lucas to be the executive producer of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. The next year he was the line producer in the popular holiday film, The Muppet Christmas Carol. He also produced Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014), as well as many of Kenneth Branagh’s adaptations including A Midwinter’s Tale (1995), Love’s Labour’s Lost (2000), and Cinderella (2015). This is not the first time that Barron has worked with Branagh. Barron joined Branagh’s production team in 1993 as an associate producer and unit production manager. They also both worked on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, with Barron producing and Branagh portraying Professor Gilderoy Lockhart.
Barron keeps his Potter connections strong by not only continually working with Branagh but also with director David Yates on Tarzan (2016), actor Domhnall Gleeson on Frank (2014), actors Ralph Fiennes, Bill Nighy, and Michael Gambon and producer David Heyman in Page Eight (2011), and again with Fiennes and Nighy joining actress Helena Bonham Carter on TV movie series Turks & Caicos and Salting the Battlefield (2014).
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David Barron began working with the Harry Potter series as a part of the crew when he served as executive producer of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005). Barron then became the producer for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2010), and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011).
Being a producer, Barron was involved in a lot of the bigger decisions. He was involved in making decisions of what storylines to cut.
We were saved, always, by Jo [Rowling], because what would happen… We developed the scripts, and when we were happy with them, when we thought we got to a good place, but while there was still time to make changes if she wanted them, or to polish the scripts, we’d send each script to her. And she’d often have a conversation with Steve Kloves at the beginning, and when there was a new director she’d have a conversation with the director at the beginning….But generally speaking she was an incredible collaborator and she’d just leave us to make the translation from book to film.
One storyline they tried to cut was Kreacher’s in Order of the Phoenix.
We didn’t really have time to tell that whole Kreacher story, and so we found another way of getting Sirius to the Ministry of Magic. We sent her the script, she said, ‘Oh, I see you’ve taken Kreacher out.’ ‘Well, yeah…’ She said, ‘Hmm… You might want to reconsider that. He has a part to play in the future.’ So then we had to find away of just putting enough Kreacher in to allow people to know who he was, so that he was there for the final segment.
A couple storylines that were cut that Barron says he would’ve loved to see include S.P.E.W. and Dumbledore’s funeral. In the case of S.P.E.W., they decided to only focus on Harry’s story so many of the side plots had to be cut. With the funeral, it was just one more ending to the story that seemed to get in the way of Harry’s main story. Another major decision he was a part of was where to split the Deathly Hallows movies. Interestingly, Barron has said that his favorite scene in the entire series is when all of the Hogwarts letters arrive at the Dursley house in the first movie. This was one of only two of the Potter movies he was not a part of, the other being Prisoner of Azkaban.
Another aspect of decision making in the series was casting choices. Not being on board during Sorcerer’s Stone or Prisoner of Azkaban, Barron was mostly involved with casting during the later part of the series. He played a part in casting characters such as Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch), Lavender Brown (Jessie Cave), Professor Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent), Nymphadora Tonks (Natalia Tena), Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), and Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter).
On December 12th, 2009, Barron and Daniel Radcliffe held a special commentary BD-Live event for people who owned the blu-ray of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Fans could watch their blu-ray while listening to Barron and Radcliffe discuss it live. Barron was actually a substitute for David Yates (the director of the film) who had become ill and could not join the conversation.
Both Barron and David Heyman appear as portraits in Hogwarts along the staircases.