Producer David Heyman on how the “Potter” movies changed his life and what they taught him
We recently reported that Gravity, David Heyman’s latest a movie, alongside Alfonso Cuarón, has been nominated for several BAFTA awards and is expected to collect many more nominations. In an interview with The London Evening Standard, the producer, who is responsible for all eight of the Harry Potter movies, has spoken out about how producing the movies changed his life.
Heyman says that he was “incredibly fortunate” to find and take on the Harry Potter series. He took on the Potter films after returning to the UK to search for a new project for Warner Bros. When he was handed Harry Potter to read, he loved it and thought that it “might make a modestly budgeted British film.” He goes on to state that he “was in the right place at the right time.”
Of course, the Potter movies took off in a way that he didn’t expect, and they ultimately changed his life and career. Yet, this didn’t happen right away, and he says that “until the end of the third Potter movie I was living at my sister’s, in a 6ft x 8ft room.” Since those early days, Heyman has found himself chaperoning Emma Watson to the movie premieres and developing a relationship with J.K. Rowling, which
was based on trust and mutual support: when he asked her for more detail on Sirius Black’s background for the third film in the series, she faxed back an entire family tree half an hour later.
Based on this relationship, Heyman is set to produce the upcoming Fantastic Beasts.
Heyman goes on to describe how his life has been changed over the course of the last ten years:
It has changed my life in lots of ways, but one thing it has done is bought me time. I can work on things I really care about. I still struggle to make the films I want to make. People still turn me down. But I have access. People will listen because they don’t want to miss out on the next Potter. Although I’ll never find the next Potter because Potter is a once-in-a-lifetime thing.
Through producing the Potter movies, he says that he learned many valuable lessons, particularly “how to produce films of scale that are technically complex and how to work with a wide variety of top, brilliant filmmakers.”
Yet, the article goes on to say that
The greatest gift it brought him, though, was relationships. As he points out, most movie crews are like a family that breaks up after an intense year together. But over 11 years of Potter production he witnessed ‘children starting out at nine and ending up at university; births, marriages, deaths, the whole cycle of life.’
Through Potter, Heyman also started a good working relationship with director Alfonso Cuarón, which began when Cuarón directed the third movie, Prisoner of Azkaban. Cuarón is now godfather to Heyman’s son, and Heyman says that the director is “someone I could turn to if I [were] in trouble.”
In the interview, Heyman discusses growing up and his family’s relationship with film. His career, he admits, never had a plan, and he says that he is “probably not qualified to do anything else now.” He says, however, that he doesn’t know where the future of film and cinema lies: “We need to cultivate British stories that have a humanity that can travel, that are not parochial.”
Heyman also has some advice for aspiring producers:
Be passionate. Follow your heart because you’re gonna be rejected day in, day out. I face rejection on a daily basis; it’s inevitable. Whether you’re a producer or frankly an actor or director or anybody in the business you are turned down again and again because something isn’t right for somebody. You just got to be tenacious, got to be passionate, got to believe in what you are doing.
The article concludes with the thought that all of Heyman’s movies have the same simple but powerful message: “Live now.”
To read the full interview visit the original article here.