Steven Spielberg Has No Regrets Turning Down ‘Harry Potter’ Franchise to Raise His Kids

"I sacrificed a great franchise — which today looking back I'm very happy to have done — to be with my family."
Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Mike Marsland/WireImage/Getty

Steven Spielberg was more focused on raising his family than helming children’s films in the early 2000s.

The Oscar winner revealed that he turned down directing the “Harry Potter” franchise to be with his own kids.

“There were several films I chose not to make,” Spielberg said while in conversation with “RRR” director S.S. Rajamouli in India (via Insider). “They offered me ‘Harry Potter’ and 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.”

The “Fabelmans” writer-director continued, “So, I sacrificed a great franchise — which today looking back I’m very happy to have done — to be with my family. The choice I had to make in taking a job that would move me to another country for four of five months where I wouldn’t see my family every day.”

“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” was eventually directed by Chris Columbus of “Home Alone” fame; Columbus also helmed the 2002 sequel, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.”

Spielberg recalled in 2012 that his own kids thought he was “crazy” to turn down “Harry Potter,” especially since the “E.T.” director knew the film franchise would be a hit.

“I developed it for about five or six months with [‘Harry Potter’ screenwriter] Steve Kloves, and then I dropped out,” Spielberg told “BBC Breakfast” (via Digital Spy). “I just felt that I wasn’t ready to make an all-kids movie and my kids thought I was crazy. And the books were by that time popular, so when I dropped out, I knew it was going to be a phenomenon.”

He added, “But, you know I don’t make movies because they’re gonna to be phenomenons. I make movies because they have to touch me in a way that really commits me to a year, two years, three years of work.”

Instead, Spielberg has recently mused that he wished he helmed Emmy-winning HBO limited series “Mare of Easttown,” if only he had Harry’s magic wand.

“I mean, if someone would have brought me ‘Mare of Easttown,’ I would have done that. That was a beautifully directed story,” Spielberg said. “I do have an appetite for long-form, and someday, I will direct a long-form series.”

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