Steven Spielberg Put His Family First and Refused to Direct ‘Harry Potter’

Steven Spielberg could have been in charge of the first Harry Potter film, but he refused to direct it because he didn't want to travel from Los Angeles to England and leave his family behind.

Isabel Cara

Steven Spielberg Put His Family First and Refused to Direct ‘Harry Potter’

Can you imagine what Harry Potter would have been like if, instead of Chris Columbus, who took the direction of the first two films, Steven Spielberg made them? It could have been a reality, although the filmmaker himself assures that he let go of the opportunity for a greater cause.

Steven Spielberg refused to direct Harry Potter

For Spielberg, there is nothing more important than his family, and proof of this was the refusal he made to Warner Bros. to become the director of the beginning of one of the most important fantasy sagas in all history. According to Variety, he declared he did not want to divide his time between raising his children and filming.

“The personal meaning about (how the conflict between) art and family will tear you in half happened to me later, after I had already established myself as a filmmaker, as a working director,” Spielberg said in an interview he gave to the director of the film RRR, SS Rajamouli.

35hl7z4bpjhm5iwrddyuiycqnm - steven spielberg put his family first and refused to direct ‘harry potter’

“Kate (Capshaw, his wife) and I started raising a family, and we started having children. The choice I had to make was taking a job that would move me to another country for four or five months where I wouldn’t see my family every day… That was a ripping kind of experience.”

Spielberg, who was going to have to leave his home in Los Angeles to travel to England for the filming, did not say he regretted his decision since it was not the only film he refused to make, although he did not give details about other projects. However, he did acknowledge that it would have been an important milestone in his career as a filmmaker, but he hinted that there are things in life that are even more important than work.

“There were several films I chose not to make. I chose to turn down the first ‘Harry Potter’ to basically spend the next year and a half with my family, my young kids growing up. So I’d sacrificed a great franchise, which today looking back I’m very happy to have done, to be with my family,” he added.

Cgerjperdfbhvkfrb4pfwra56y - steven spielberg put his family first and refused to direct ‘harry potter’

From A.I. Artificial Intelligence to The Fabelmans: the Next Big Hits for Spielberg

Even though he turned his back on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which ended up in the hands of Chris Columbus and achieved unprecedented success for a film saga of this style, it does not mean that Spielberg put aside his work as a filmmaker.

In fact, the media points out that in 2000, the same year that the first installment of Harry Potter was recorded, the filmmaker was in charge of filming A.I. Artificial Intelligence, which was released a year later and was mostly worked on in Los Angeles studios, which allowed the director to spend time with his family and not stray so far from home.

Since then, he has directed another 15 feature films, including The Terminal (2004), War of the Worlds (2005), Munich (2005), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), Lincoln (2012), Ready Player One (2018), West Side Story (2021) and The Fabelmans (2002), which is currently competing for seven Oscar Awards, including Best Film, although not Best Director.

Story originally published in Spanish in Cultura Colectiva