Exclusive: A chat with Director David Yates

Posted: April 4, 2011 in Part I

If you haven’t noticed by now, the Harry Potter film series has had four different directors. Chris Colombus directed the first two, Alfonso Cuaron directed the third, Mike Newell directed the fourth, and from then point on, all the rest have been directed by David Yates.

Personally, I don’t have a preference, but that’s not  the deal right now. Recently, I found an interesting article about Yates’ thoughts on the torture scene. Personally, I found the scene slightly scary, with Hermione’s screams sending shivers down my spine. Although I was expecting Hermione to be more hurt and beaten-up (as in the book, Bellatrix repeatedly used the Cruciatus curse on her) than she appeared to be, I was nonetheless near to tears when I saw the derogatory word “Mudblood” carved into her arm (though I’m sure that in reality, it is a combination of makeup and special kind of paint). Despite this important yet terrifying scene, I have to admire Emma Watson and Helena Bonham Carter for this awesome and extremely-convinced-that-this-is-reality acting. (from http://www.fandango.com/movieblog/blog-exclusive-harry-potter-director-david-yates-on-torturing-hermione-648678.html) :

David Yates

Q. What preparation and approach did you use for Hermione’s torture scene?
Yates: Emma wanted to do research. She was really keen to get it right. It seemed like a really bizarre request, but I asked my assistant to find some documentaries where people talk about what it’s like to be tortured. I didn’t shoot it like a scene where you [say] action [and] cut. I kind of let the camera roll for four or five minutes and I let Helena and Emma improvise to a certain extent those moments, so they could build an intensity together.
Q. What was Watson’s reaction?
Yates: The first time we did it, I [did] yell cut. Emma said, ‘You cut too early! You cut too early!’ She was getting to this intense point. And I said, ‘Well, it was getting scary, Ems!’ And she said, ‘No no no no, let me try, let me try.’ There were one or two moments that were really powerful, where Emma was able to just let go a little bit and forget for a moment that she was acting. And the screams were quite horrible to listen to. It was a very odd energy in the room. She was kind of exploring and exorcising demons really, and serving the scene doing that. I felt in that moment, and in that day and in that room, she kind of crossed the line as an actress. She discovered something within herself that will make her a great actor.
Q. In addition to the series’ darkened themes, Deathly Hallows seems to have an emotional rawness to it.
Yates: School has always been a place of safety. And then you put them in a big world. It’s dangerous and you sort of feel for them in a profound way. I think the reason it feels raw sometimes is because they’re making choices and they’re having experiences, which is forcing them to grow up. We’ve all been through experiences that forced us to realize how complicated the world is and how complicated we are. And that’s what some of this story captures.
Q. J.K. Rowling has hinted an eighth book isn’t out of the question. If there were another film after Deathly Hallows, would you be up for it?
Yates: I think it would be healthy probably to pass on the torch. There are so many directors who’d do a fabulous job of revisiting this world. I’ve made four which is quite a lot, but having said that, after a year or two, making other stuff, who knows. It might be wonderful to come back to…but that’s so much conjecture…

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