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Why Did Director Chris Columbus Leave the Harry Potter Movie?

Potterheads were moved to tears by HBO Max‘s Harry Potter: Return to Hogwarts special, which premiered on New Year’s Day 2022. It instantly transported us back to November 2001, when Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was first released.

But all of this nostalgia has us wondering why things changed so drastically between the first and eighth films.

The amazing adventures of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, and the other kids at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry were undoubtedly shaped by the franchise’s incredible first director, Chris Columbus, who helmed the first two installments (Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets) before stepping away from the series, but why did he leave?

Why Did Chris Columbus Leave the Harry Potter Films?

After leaving the Harry Potter series as director after Chamber of Secrets, Columbus worked as an executive producer on the third film, Prisoner of Azkaban, before departing from the wizarding world entirely.

Columbus stepped down because he was “emotionally and physically exhausted,” according to a November 2011 interview with The Hollywood Reporter.”It took 160 days to shoot Sorcerer’s Stone, which is ridiculously long,” Columbus said. “

Why Did Chris Columbus Leave the Harry Potter Films?

Then, immediately after we stopped filming, we began filming Chamber of Secrets, which took another 160 days. That’s 320 days of back-to-back shooting, not including the second unit.”

He went on to say that he “could hardly speak” and was “emotionally and physically exhausted.” Taking care of one’s mental health is a perfectly valid reason to quit a job! It’s a good thing he recognized his limitations and knew when to back off.

Columbus also desired to spend more time with his four children. “I wasn’t seeing my children, who were still young at the time, grow up. I was missing our dinners together. ‘I can’t do another six, seven, eight years of this,’ I thought. My children will grow up and I will never know them.'”

His four children (Eleanor, 32, Brendan, 30, Violet, 28, and Isabella, 26), whom he shares with his wife, Monica Devereux, have all reached adulthood.

Chris Columbus Was Emotionally and Physically Exhausted

Columbus opened up about his experience making the films in a 2021 interview with The Hollywood Reporter to commemorate the 20th anniversary of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” including his reasoning for leaving after the second film.

Columbus explained that he had every intention of directing all seven films at the start of the journey (it had not yet been decided that “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” would be split into two films). “I was naive,” the director admitted. ‘Oh, I have enough energy to do all seven of these movies,’ I thought. That, however, was not the case.”

The most difficult aspect, according to Columbus, was the shooting schedule: each film took 160 days to shoot, which is already on the long side for a film, and the two films were shot back-to-back. As a result, after finishing “Chamber of Secrets,” Columbus described himself as emotionally and physically exhausted.

“I wasn’t seeing my kids, who were young at the time, grow up,”

Columbus added. I was missing our dinners together. ‘I can’t do another six, seven, eight years of this,’ I thought. My children will grow up and I will never know them.

Fortunately, Columbus was able to return for the third film, this time as a producer, which he explained allowed for much more flexibility at work and, as a result, more time with his family.

Who Directed the Harry Potter Movies After Chris Columbus Left?

Alfonso Cuarón was hired to direct Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Columbus remained on as a producer to remain involved with the project while spending time with his children.

“I don’t have to be there all the time as a producer,” he told THR. “I can work on set for a few hours a day. I can attend certain visual effects meetings, but it means I can get home in time for dinner and see my kids off to school in the morning.”

Rupert Grint (holding ‘Scabbers’ the rat), Emma Watson, and Daniel Radcliffe in HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN, Warner Brothers/courtesy Everett Collection, 2004.

 

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When filming wrapped, Columbus stated that his family was ready to return to the United States. “They missed their friends, so it seemed like the right time to say goodbye.”

David Yates directed Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, and the two-part Deathly Hallows, while Mike Newell directed Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

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Final Words

Why did director Chris Columbus leave Harry Potter? and Who Directed the Harry Potter Movies After Chris Columbus Left are discussed in this article.

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