Monday, July 18, 2011

Kloves on Hermione
Mike Sragow (of The Baltimore Sun) recently had a small interview with screenwriter Steve Kloves. In it, it shows his fondness for the character Hermione, as well as his realization of her importance to the audience. Read below to check it out!
Steve Kloves, who wrote seven of the eight Potter films, shot me an email while finishing up his opening-week interviews in New York. I had mentioned that my piece was focusing on the series' simultaneous appeal to boys and girls -- and Kloves warmed to the subject, especially because I had zeroed in on Hermione as a key to the books' and movies' critical and popular success. (Above is Paul Byrne's interview with the movies' Hermione, Emma Watson, at the time of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.")

"There are so many great things about Hermione," Kloves wrote. "You and I could have drinks, dinner, dessert and start all over again and not exhaust the conversation. Point is, I was aware that I was shepherding three very special characters and that their appeal was broad and potent.

"And I was intent upon underscoring Hermione's importance. They really are a trio, you know. They're equals. One just happens to be a girl. That's why I wrote that line for 'Part I.' After landing in the burrow, Harry is intent upon leaving in the dark of night but Ron catches him. When Harry attempts to convince Ron to join him, Ron's response is instantaneous: 'And leave Hermione? We wouldn't last a day without her.' It always got a laugh. But a knowing one; the audience knew Ron spoke the truth. And it wasn't just girls laughing.

"I don't believe that boys find the action appealing and girls enjoy the characters. I think both boys and girls just enjoy Jo's writing. As you know, I have two children and both grew up with Harry Potter in many ways. When you have children, when you're a new parent, you read LOADS of children's fiction. Most of it is, shall we say, lacking. It feels written down to some perceived lower level of understanding. It's the literary equivalent of Gerber creamed carrots. Except possessing no literary nourishment. Soft. Gooey. Jo's books were never that. In fact, they never felt like children's books. Consequently children--boys and girls--embraced them eagerly. The books felt like proper books."

Kloves takes special pride in a scene that I think is as thrillingly ambitious -- and superbly executed -- as any in movies this year. "I believe the King's Cross scene with Dumbledore and Harry can hold its own with anything .... And remember. It's a scene constructed of the following elements: White space. Dan Radcliffe. Michael Gambon. Words. If people listen--and the two audiences I've seen the film with did listen; you could hear a pin drop--they might be surprised just what it is that Potter has on its mind."

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