Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1: Interview with director David Yates

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

David Yates is the director of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1," starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint. The film, which is the second to last in the Harry Potter series, is being released by Warner Bros. on November 19. 

Helming his third Harry Potter feature, Yates says that Part 1 of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" also breaks tradition by taking the central characters away from the familiar surroundings of Hogwarts. It is actually the first film in the franchise in which the iconic School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is never even seen. "I think that's one of the most intriguing things about Part 1," the director states. "We're away from the magical environment of Hogwarts, which felt very safe even when the characters were in utter jeopardy. Suddenly Harry, Ron and Hermione are trying to survive out in the big, bad world, and it's a dangerous place. They feel isolated and alone and very vulnerable. It makes the adventure much edgier and more grownup, which really appealed to me, and to Dan, Rupert and Emma as well."


A crisis of faith


"It becomes a crisis of faith for Harry," Yates confirms. "What makes it doubly difficult for him is that Dumbledore gave him this mission without a clear plan–or really any idea at all–of how to fulfill it, which is putting his friends in jeopardy. It leads to a real test of their relationship, which is another interesting element of the story."


Yates adds that Radcliffe, Grint and Watson felt a strong sense of responsibility towards the roles they inhabited for almost half their lives. "They knew intuitively how their characters would respond to certain things, often much better than we did. I love that about them. As a director, it was wonderful to engage with them because there were times I wasn't just talking to the actor; I was actually talking to the character."


Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort


Like Harry Potter, Lord Voldemort is also on a mission: to end the life of "the Boy Who Lived." Yates says, "Voldemort is on the cusp of absolute power. He's been hiding in the shadows, biding his time until he could come back and impose his will on the rest of the world. Everything else in his master plan has come together; he just needs to deal with this one tiny detail. Voldemort doesn't understand how this 'child' has become his strongest adversary, but he does know he must be the one to kill Harry Potter. First of all, it was destined and, secondly, there is the sheer satisfaction of it after being thwarted so often. It's beyond personal at this point."


Yates remarks, "Ralph is very scary when he's playing Voldemort. He has the capacity to tune into some very dark places as an actor; you can literally feel the temperature in the room drop as he inhabits the character."


Bill Nighy joins the cast


Yates was equally delighted to welcome Nighy to the cast. "Bill is such a versatile actor, and I've always wanted him to be in this world. When the part of Rufus Scrimgeour came along, I thought, 'That's Bill!' The way Jo describes the character, he's like a rusty old lion of a soldier, and I knew Bill could play that so well."




"Wands are an important part of the story in 'The Deathly Hallows'–wand law and how personal they are to wizards," Yates specifies. "The properties of wands make them almost like characters in their own right. In the very first book, we learned from Ollivander that 'the wand chooses the wizard'; to them, losing a wand can be like losing a part of oneself. So when Voldemort took Lucius Malfoy's wand, it was like taking his manhood, something that was vital to his self worth."


Yates says, "I'm particularly thrilled and proud that I'm the director who gets to bring the climax of her great story to the audience. That's what I'm looking forward to."