Every Harry Potter fan knows J.K. Rowling’s iconic fantasy coming-of-age series isn’t the easiest to bring to life. The original books are filled with tons of mythical creatures and bizarre magical entities that, 25 years ago, might have seemed unfilmmable. Sure, Rowling is no Frank Herbert, but it’s practically a miracle that the Warner Bros. flicks translate so seamlessly to the silver screen.
But Chris Columbus, the director behind Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets, has a top pick for the most challenging scenes to bring to life for the cinematic adaptation. And if you’re familiar with the iconic sport played by Hogwarts’ witches and wizards, you’ll understand why.
In an interview with Insider, Columbus explained that Quidditch was “the most difficult sequence to plan and execute” because of its unique, fantastical premise. “Obviously, the visual effects in that particular film are challenging in that sequence because none of it exists in reality,” Columbus told Insider.
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After reading Rowling’s original work, Columbus admittedly only understood three-fourths of Quidditch’s rules. The director ended up relying on a notebook with “all the rules that we needed to design the Quidditch pitch,” he told Insider.
That’s in no small part thanks to Rowling, who set the record straight with the Harry Potter director on what Quidditch’s deal is. “We had to basically sit down with Jo Rowling and go through the rules of Quidditch,” Columbus told Insider. “And she walked us through the exact rules.”
The whole Quidditch filming experience involved “basically coming up with a new sport.” Columbus is a sports fan himself, although he wanted to make sure viewers didn’t feel utterly overwhelmed while watching the cinematic equivalent of magical football on the big screen. And to his credit, it seems Columbus succeeded; Quidditch has since become a real sport played offline, minus actual flying broomsticks, of course.
The entire Harry Potter series is available to stream on NBC’s Peacock now.