Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2 went out with a blinding magical explosion. But why did director David Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves choose to make so many changes from J.K. Rowling's book? And how did these changes make the story different?
We talked to Yates and Kloves, and found out about the film's deleted scenes — plus scenes from the book that were never filmed. Plus the new scenes they added!
We caught up to Yates and Kloves at the Potter junket, and they told us about the changes they made to the film.
First up, what was on the Potter cutting room floor?
David Yates: We've got a whole bunch of DVD [deleted] scenes that we took out of the movie. We never, ever say oh it's going to be three hours, of three and a half hours, or 90 minutes. It's whatever feels right when watch the film alone in the dark. Ultimately that's what determines the length of the film. And this film felt the right weight, and the right shape and the right rhythm, at two hours. But we saved all the bits that we cut out, and we're going to put that on the DVD extras.
There's a version of Aberforth and Harry — a longer version of it that we got. There's an extended scene on the beach with Ron disguised (before he gets to the bank, there's a lovely little interchange with him and Bellatrix Lestrange.) There are a number of things that we have for the DVD.
Why did you change the Great Hall Battle?
David Yates: In the book, they circle each other in The Great Hall in front of lots of students. I wanted to extend it across the school, I thought it was a great visual opportunity to see those two figures fighting amongst the rubble, through different parts of the school. And I was sitting in my garden trying to think of a way to give it a bit of extra meaning. Because two guys fighting all the time kind of gets exhausting after awhile. I came up with this notion of Harry just looking at Voldemort while they're on this precipice, and pulling him over. That was my eureka moment in the garden while I was having a cup of tea. And I thought that could be really beautiful, these two figures just tumbling into the abyss and then conjoining in this weird way. If would be quite haunting and expressive.
There was actually more battle between the two of them. There's a moment, which you probably saw in early trailers, where Voldemort is looking at Harry in the eye and he says, "Why do you live?" And then Harry says, "Because I have something, to live for." It was a really cool moment. I actually asked Steve to write it. I said Steve we've waited eight movies, I want Voldemort to say something and Dan [Radcliffe] to respond. And of course when I put it in the movie, and the reason that Steve didn't write it in the first place was because, Voldemort would just kill Harry. They wouldn't stop and have a conversation. It was in the movie and you had this slightly longer sequence of them fighting. When you pull it out of the trailer it looks quite cool, but in context it felt slightly belabored and a little self conscious. So we kind of lost it.
Why did you choose to add in the scene in The Great Hall with Snape?
Steve Kloves: It's not the way the original script was. It evolved. And that happens in these sometimes. It become about compression, and a feeling, and how can we reveal the emotion of it most succinctly? That's what always ruled the day.
I liked particularly in The Great Hall one moment… [Harry] seeing Snape standing where Dumbledore would stand, and saying, "How dare you stand there, where he stood?" That's really what the emotion of it was for Harry. That he [Snape] would defile this place by killing the head master. That was the best way to express that visual. That's a good example. To me that's a good move, for us. Because it's a visual and a literary stroke. And that's what we tried to do in Potter, rather than always be in lockstep with the book, although emotionally we're absolutely in lockstep with the books. Which was always our guide.