Daniel Radcliffe Once Felt It Was a Good Thing ‘Harry Potter’ Lost Its Original Director

Daniel Radcliffe initially worked with filmmaker Chris Columbus in the first couple of Harry Potter films. The wizard franchise would soon be entrusted in the hands of other directors, which Radcliffe believed was for the best.

Daniel Radcliffe was initially terrified of losing his original ‘Harry Potter’ director

Daniel Radcliffe smiling at the Los Angeles Premiere of 'The Lost City'.
Daniel Radcliffe | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

The Harry Potter franchise has recruited several directors to tell its story. Filmmaker Chris Columbus was the first to translate J.K Rowling’s book series to the big screen. After Columbus directed Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets, he left the series for Alfonso Cuaron to continue. Harry Potter would change hands again with Mike Newell directing Goblet of Fire. David Yates directed the last four Harry Potter projects.

When Radcliffe first heard about Columbus’ imminent departure, he didn’t take the news well.

“Yeah, I think it was great to be honest with you, because I remember when Chris told me he was leaving on number two, I was very upset and I thought, ‘Oh no, that’s a terrible thing,’” Radcliffe once told JoBlo.

After seeing what other directors brought to the table, however, Radcliffe realized Harry Potter might’ve benefited from new directors.

“But actually, it proved the best thing for the series because it opened it up to different creative ideas and different people came on board, and it made the series…and also I think the fact that Alfonso came along to the film was not just for him, but really, really smart from our producers, particularly David Haymen, who was very instrumental in that, because it gave…he’d just directed Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN and it gives you a bit of…for such a mainstream movie franchise, it gives you a bit of weight with the critics, to have somebody who’s had such an indie, you know…suddenly working on the film,” Radcliffe added.

Daniel Radcliffe felt Chris Columbus had the greatest influence on his career

Radcliffe continued to work with some of Hollywood’s best directors after Columbus parted ways with Harry Potter. But out of all the filmmakers he’s worked with, Radcliffe maintained that very few had the impact Columbus had on his career.

“I don’t think anyone could have started the series in the way that Chris did. I don’t think anyone else could have wrangled 30 kids and kept us all focused and happy in the way that he did,” Radcliffe said in an interview with GQ.

According to casting director Janet Hirshenson, Columbus was sold on Radcliffe from the beginning. Even before Radcliffe was officially cast, the director had his eye on him when another young actor was vying for Harry Potter’s lead role.

“When we sat down to look at the tests, there was another guy that we kind of liked, too. There were two. Chris right away liked Daniel, but there were a couple of people who went, ‘Hmm. That other kid’s interesting.’ So we thought, ‘Let’s all go to sleep on it. We’ll come back and look at this again,” Hirshenson once told HuffPost.

It seemed that Columbus’ instincts were right, as Radcliffe managed to edge out his competition to win the role.

Why Chris Columbus left ‘Harry Potter’

In a 2021 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Columbus confided that he had very personal reasons for leaving Harry Potter. The director simply wanted to spend more time with his family, which Harry Potter was getting in the way of.

“I wasn’t seeing my kids, who were young at the time, growing up. I was missing dinners with them. I thought, ‘I can’t do another six, seven, eight years of this. My kids will grow up and I’ll never get to know them,’” Columbus said.

Apart from that, Columbus also shared he was experiencing almost overwhelming fatigue from shooting the films. This would further push the director out of the franchise.

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