Steven Spielberg Is ‘Very Happy’ He Didn’t Direct Harry Potter

It’s no secret that Steven Spielberg cares a lot about family. Many of his films — including his 2022 semi-autobiographical drama “The Fablemans” — have been heavily inspired by his own family experiences growing up. So perhaps it’s not too surprising that once the director had kids, they became his top priority. As he told Boston Parent, “Everything from that moment on had to do with my kids’ wellbeing, and my career suddenly became second.”

Ultimately, Spielberg’s commitment to his kids is what made the “Harry Potter” deal fall through. He told S.S. Rajamouli that signing onto the first movie would’ve taken him away from his family for the next year and a half. That being said, there would’ve been another drawback to the project, too: Spielberg had previously admitted that he had apprehensions about making a movie whose main cast only featured children.

Regardless of the rationale, I (selfishly) can’t help but feel slightly disappointed when I think about the lost possibility of Spielberg directing “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.” I realize that the Wizarding World isn’t as firmly grounded in our own world as something like “E.T.” or “Jurassic Park,” but I really do believe that, much like his other fantastical films, Spielberg’s “Harry Potter” would’ve felt like a vivid extension of reality.

At the same time, I also have a lot of respect for anyone who’s willing to forgo surefire success in favor of spending time with their family. At the end of the day, work is work and even the world’s best (or most magical) movie is still just a movie. While I don’t mean to be dismissive of either one, memories with loved ones are priceless.

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