Original “Harry Potter” director Chris Columbus has been making the press rounds in celebration of the 20th anniversary of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” but it wasn’t until an interview with The Wrap this week that he called on distributor Warner Bros. to release his original three-hour cut of the movie. The theatrical cut of “Sorcerer’s Stone” ran two hours and 32 minutes. The film’s “Ultimate Edition” only runs seven minutes longer. A full three-hour cut of “Sorcerer’s Stone” was test screened and, according to Columbus, was a smash hit with kids.
“We knew that the film worked because we did a couple of previews,” Columbus said. “Particularly a Chicago preview where our first cut was a three-hour cut. Parents afterwards said it was too long, the kids said it was too short. I thought, well, the kids presumably have a shorter attention span so this is a good thing.”
Nearly half an hour of footage was removed for the “Sorcerer’s Stone” theatrical cut, including an appearance by the character Peeves. The fan-favorite supporting character is a poltergeist who haunts Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Actor Rik Mayall shot scenes as the character, but they were removed to keep the runtime down. Even with the cuts, “Sorcerer’s Stone” remains one of the more faithful “Harry Potter” film adaptations.
“I would too,” Columbus said when The Wrap reporter said he’d like to see Warner Bros. release the three-hour version. “We have to put Peeves back in the movie, who was cut from the movie!”
Elsewhere on his press tour, Columbus revealed to Variety that he is interested in returning to the film franchise to direct an adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s stage play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” The filmmaker added, “It’s a great play and the kids are actually the right age to play those roles. It’s a small fantasy of mine.” The kids would be the original “Harry Potter” trio: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint.
“A version of ‘Cursed Child’ with Dan, Rupert and Emma at the right age, it’s cinematic bliss,” Columbus added to The Hollywood Reporter. “If you’re a film nerd or cinephile, it’s kind of like what J.J. [Abrams] did with ‘Star Wars.’ ‘Star Wars’ really started to be great again when J.J. made the film and we had all the original cast back. There’s no question if you’re a ‘Star Wars’ fan, you were moved just seeing them on screen, seeing Harrison Ford as Han Solo again — and Chewy. It was very moving. I think that would be the same situation for ‘Harry Potter’ fans. To able to actually see these adult actors now back in these roles? Oh, yeah. It would be amazingly fun to make that film — or two films.”
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