Alfonso Cuaron is the accomplished director of films like Gravity and Childrenof Men, but Potterheads remember him best as the helmer of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. As it turns out, Cuaron almost didn't take the gig, and it was director Guillermo del Toro who practically shamed him into taking on the project.
Talking to Vanity Fair, Cuaron reveals:
I talked with Guillermo, as I always do, and he says, "What's happening? Any projects going on?" And I said, "I'm going for Harry Potter, can you believe it? And I even made fun of it. I hadn't read the books or seen the films. And then he looks upset with me. He called me flaco, that means skinny [in English]. He says, "F***in' skinny, have you read the books?" I said, "No, I haven't read the books." He says, "F***in' skinny, you're such a f***in' arrogant bastard. You are going right now to the f***in' bookshop and get the books and you're going to read them and you call me right away." When he talks to you like that, well, you have to go to the bookshop. At that time, the fourth book had just come out. And I read the first two, and I was halfway through the third, [and] that was the one they had offered me. And I called him and said, "Well the material's really great." He says, "Well, you see you f***in' ..." I mean, it's just untranslatable from the Spanish.... As a filmmaker, it was almost like a lesson of humility, of saying how am I going to do it my own, but at the same time, respecting what has been beloved in those couple of movies?"
Interestingly enough, del Toro himself was offered the chance to direct a Potter movie, but he turned the chance down—a decision which he still regrets.
When it comes down to it, Azkaban was the Potter film that started the franchise on a different, more experimental path. The first two installments had the same feel and look, but after Azkaban, the Potter movies significantly got darker—yet more playful.
Though Harry's story has ended, J.K. Rowling has managed to push her Wizarding World forward (?) with the prequel film series Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The first film was a moderate success, and we should be able to catch the sequel Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald when it hits theaters Nov. 16.