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Hollywood director Steven Spielberg has no regrets about rejecting first 'Harry Potter' film for family

By Melanie Uson Published Feb 15, 2023 1:40 pm

Steven Spielberg could’ve directed the first-ever Harry Potter movie, but decided to turn down it to be with his family. 

Spielberg has been known to be the “commercially successful director of all time” with his proven skills as seen in his films like Jaws, E.T., and Jurassic Park, to name a few. However, this success had an inevitable conflict in his personal life. 

In his interview with director S.S. Rajamouli, Spielberg shared his experience of having personal and work-life conflicts in his career. 

The award-winning director revealed that similar to the "art and family" conflict in his latest film, The Fabelmans, he also found himself turning down projects to be with his family later on in life.

“The personal meaning about [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, sharing that it was also the time when he and his wife Kate Capshaw are starting to build their family. 

 “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 the art and family that was a rending, ripping kind of experience,” he furthered. 

He continued to share that one of the projects he had to turn down to be with his family is the first Harry Potter film. “I chose to turn down the first Harry Potter to basically spend that 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.” 

The first Harry Potter film titled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was directed by Chris Columbus and launched by Warner Bros. It was filmed in London while Spielberg’s family is living in Los Angeles, United States.  

Following his decision, Spielberg decided to direct the sci-fi drama film A.I. Artificial Intelligence released in 2001 and was filmed in Los Angeles. 

Currently, Spielberg is on his way to having his third Best Director award in this year's Academy Awards for his film, The Fabelmans. The movie is also nominated for seven categories, including best picture and best original screenplay.