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I am a big defender of 'Harry Potter,' and I think any book that gets kids to read are books that we should cherish, we should be thankful for them.
I have an editor in my head, that's why I can't read Harry Potter, because Rowling is such a lousy writer.
Most modern science fiction went to school on 'Dune.' Even 'Harry Potter' with its 'boy protagonist who has not yet grown into his destiny' shares a common theme. When I read it for the first time, I felt like I had learned another language, mastered a new culture, adopted a new religion.
I got very carried away with my 'Harry Potter' life and we did have school but I didn't study. I just had fun.
Sometimes I'm stressed and I'm sick of things and I need to forget about them for a while, so in Harry Potter you're taken to this wonderful imaginary world where everything is so different.
I remember him reading 'Sleeping Beauty,' and he would play the score by Tchaikovsky as he read it. We'd also read 'Winnie the Pooh,' and, you know, those probably that he most often read me were 'Beatrix Potter' books, 'The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck' and 'The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle.' I still have at least 15 of them.
I did 'Deathly Hallows' so my kids could get on the 'Harry Potter' set. They met Daniel Radcliffe, who was a darling and couldn't have been nicer to them so I'm a hero right now.
Anything that activates the joy center in the brain makes you happy, and therefore protects you. Oddly enough, that's what they do in 'Harry Potter': The nurse gives the kids chocolates when they've been near the Dementors!
Whenever I start a 'Potter' film, I get these dreams. The last dream I had, I was in a war and the sky was blotted with broomsticks and I couldn't find my wand. It was so intense. I always have mental, intense, war wizard dreams when I'm doing the films.
I live in Leeds, which is about 200 miles north of London, and I get to go and do all the 'Harry Potter' stuff and make great films and be part of this wonderful thing all around the world, and then I get to go home and chill out with my friends in Leeds and go watch the football and go to the pub.
My kids love it. I thought I was the coolest dad in the world when I got to be in a Bond film, but 'Harry Potter', too? Well, I think I qualify for a medal for exceptional parenting or something, don't you?
I dream of working with iconic directors such as Tim Burton, Baz Luhrmann, Terry Gilliam and Wes Anderson - so I'm setting my sights pretty high! My perfect role would be in a fairy-tale period piece, and I'm quite upset all the Harry Potter movies have been made as I'd love to have been in those.
But things such as 'Harry Potter', all I can do is shape my character, seek the director's approval on that, and basically take it from there. Professor Flitwick in 'Harry Potter', I kind of defined how I saw him from reading the book, and luckily that matched up with the director's vision.
I think readers are always patient. Look at the 'Harry Potter' series. Some have given up on this generation of kids as game and TV addicts, but lots of people spend lots of time patiently reading through hundreds of pages of dense prose. I think reading a comic by comparison is a lot more immediate.
Because actually it's really hard to get things made. It takes years. To fight the fights you inevitably have to fight, even when you've produced Harry Potter, you'd better have the commitment and the passion to knock down walls, not take no for an answer.
London 'Harry Potter' premieres are very special events: There is this sense of love and ownership and pride, and it's just palpable. It's a very different feel from an L.A. premiere. It's nice to be a part of something that's so positive.
My parents sent me from Venezuela to the Convent of Our Lady, a boarding school in Hastings, which was horrible - like Harry Potter without the magic. Sometimes we went into town, and if we were caught chewing gum in our uniform, members of the public would take down our names and report us to the school.
One week I was in school and the next I'm at Leavesden Studios in Dumbledore's office reading scenes with Daniel Radcliffe. Weird. And terrifying for such a huge 'Harry Potter' fan.
It was fun playing a horrible, snotty kid in 'Harry Potter', and then playing Prince Charming where I was also singing and playing guitar, and then playing a completely different character.
I started to write as a child as soon as I could read, or even before, when my mother read me Beatrix Potter at bedtime. Writing seemed to me to be the only sensible way to live and be happy.
But I like all the books. You've got to read them all to get the complete Harry Potter experience.
I was in the bath at the time, and my dad came running in and said, 'Guess who they want to play Harry Potter!?' and I started to cry. It was probably the best moment of my life.
I've always thought that as long as directors and casting directors don't see me as just Harry Potter, I'll be OK. People have shown a lot of faith in me, and I owe them a huge debt. They're letting me prove that I'm serious about this.
And of course I've got kids of my own now, and they love me being in the Harry Potter films. I'm now part of a phenomenon. You become incredibly cool to your kids, and you get a young fan base. So you became the cool dad at school. You're suddenly hip.
So Harry Potter came in and it is nice that I have kids of the right age. I took them to London and they walked around the set and met Harry Potter and that is thrilling.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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