Chris Columbus thought he was going to be fired as 'Harry Potter' director

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson in Harry Potter (Warner Bros)
Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson in Harry Potter (Warner Bros)

Chris Columbus, the director behind the first two instalments of the Harry Potter franchise, has opened up about overseeing the adaptation of JK Rowling’s hugely popular books.

During his recent conversation with Collider, Columbus admitted that the pressure was particularly intense because he knew that there was no way he could “screw up this book.”

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As a result, he was “fraught with anxiety” throughout production on the first film, Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, to the point that in the “first two weeks” of filming he assumed he was going to “get fired every day.”

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Columbus insists that “everything looked good” during this time, but he was just so aware of the size and magnitude of the Harry Potter films that he thought one mistake could result in his termination.

The Home Alone and Mrs Doubtfire director hid his anxiety, though, so that everybody on set felt like they were “part of the family.”

Columbus says that he only knew he hadn’t messed up The Philosopher’s Stone after they screened it in Chicago. Even though it was a rough cut of the film that was two hours and fifty minutes long, the test “audience loved it.”

Cast including British actors Robbie Coltrane (L), Rupert Grint (3rd L), Daniel Radcliffe (4th L), Hermione Grainger (3rd R) and Kenneth Branagh (R), pose with director Chris Columbus (2nd L) and unidentified others at London's Odeon Leicester Square for the world premiere of "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" on November 3, 2002. The film, which is due to go on official release on November 15, 2002,  is the second screen adaptation from the series of Harry Potter books by British author [J K Rowling.]

The huge success of The Philosopher’s Stone at the box office, which saw it become the second highest grossing film ever at the time of its release, meant Columbus had “much more fun on Chamber Of Secrets.”

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Production on the sequel began three days after the original’s release, with Columbus noting how its impressive gross allowed him to “really let loose a little bit and bring a little bit more of [his] particular style to the movie.”