After the first five films in the franchise cast a combined $4.5 billion spell on the movie-going public, it was inevitable: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," J.K. Rowling's final, 759-page book in the boy-wizard series, was going to be split into two separate movies.
" 'The Deathly Hallows' is so rich, the story so dense and there is so much that is resolved that after discussing it with [Rowling], we came to the conclusion that two parts were needed to do it justice," producer David Heyman said in a statement explaining the move at the time.
The announcement came in March 2008, well before "Half-Blood Prince" added a cool $934 million to that already gargantuan total. Good call, Warner Bros.! Now, part one of "Deathly Hallows" is upon us, and MTV News has got coverage of the flick stretching back to when the one-into-two-movies decision became public. Before you hop on your broomstick and swoop into the multiplex — or, you know, just take a car — check out everything there is to know about "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1."
OK, so we knew the book would be divided into two movies, but the big question was where the first movie would end and the second begin. We put that query to Emma Watson, a.k.a. Hermione Granger, in '08.
"I don't know," she admitted. "I am as intrigued as you are. I am waiting at the moment to receive the script. It's a tough call. I'm sure it will be some cruel cliffhanger."
Right. Later, director David Yates dropped us a hint about the split. "We've had three or four different ideas about where to cut off the seventh film," he said. "Traditionally, the movies have ended with a death or a bereavement, some sort of passage or arrival. This time we think we will end with more a cliffhanger."
For a while, there was a rumor that "Part 1" would indeed end with a cliffhanger: Harry and his friends would be captured and brought to Malfoy Manor, but that didn't turn out to be true. The film, it turned out, would end when Voldemort gains control of the Elder Wand, one of the three Deathly Hallows that allow the holder to conquer death. And that, we learned after a recent screening, is exactly when the credits roll.
As "Avatar" made its record-breaking climb to box-office immortality, Warner Bros. announced that "Deathly Hallows" would be getting a post-production conversion to 3-D.
" 'Harry Potter' is already an epic film, but having that added dimension will make it even more epic, and that seemed like an opportunity that was too hard to pass up," producer Heyman told us in March of this year.
By that point, though, the conversion process still hadn't been started. Would it be finished in time? And would the 3-D be high-quality enough to please fans jaded by substandard three-dimensional fare like "Clash of the Titans"? Apparently not. The studio announced in October that it was canceling 3-D for "Part 1." "We do not want to disappoint fans who have long anticipated the conclusion of this extraordinary journey," Warner Bros. said in a statement.
Staring Into the 'Hallows'
The shoot got started in early '09, and months before production wrapped, we'd already received our first official look at the film. It was rather uninspiring, a simple photo of Hermione, Ron (Rupert Grint), and Harry (Daniel Radcliffe). Eh. Thankfully, subsequent peeks at the flick more than fulfilled expectations.
Look, there's Harry with his trusty wand. There's the first trailer, with a Voldemort vs. Harry throwdown and a peek at footage from 'Part 2.' And a snap of Harry riding shotgun with Hagrid. And a final, high-intensity, super-dark trailer.
As Rufus Scrimgeour says, "These are dark times, this is no denying."
What the Kids Have to Say About 'Potter'
The fun kicked off in London last week during the London red-carpet premiere, the boys looking spiffy in their ties and the girls all glam in their haute couture. MTV News traveled across the pond for some one-on-one time with the cast. Both Watson and Radcliffe had some funny stuff to say about their surprising onscreen smooch.
"It was only the day before that they said, 'Oh, by the way, we hope it's all right, but we want you to be topless, and we're going to cover you in silver paint,' " Watson told us. "It was awkward enough as it was without the silver paint and the strapless bra, but whatever. It works. It looks good for the story."
Said Radcliffe, "I thought it was going to be a kind of a slow, sensual thing, and Emma really went for it."
We flew back to New York for another red-carpet premiere, just days before Friday's (November 19) release.
"It's sad, absolutely," Radcliffe said about the series coming to an end. "[But] we're going out on a high note. To sustain this level of quality for 10 years is a very rare thing in a big franchise. I think it's us and 'Toy Story,' to be honest. I think we've done amazingly. I'm thrilled."
Check out everything we've got on "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1."
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