While they premiered new footage from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II at CinemaCon this week, producers David Heyman and David Barron confirmed that the final installment of the series would be the SHORTEST length-wise of the eight films, at just over two hours (Order of the Phoenix holds the record of shortest Harry Potter film, at 138 minutes).
Heyman: Well part of it was what was ready, quite frankly. Because we’re still very much editing and also still very much doing the visual effects. So a lot of the visual effects being shown here will be very rough, and the footage is still rough. But we just showed some exciting bits and some really good dramatic scenes.
When you guys first presented Harry Potter, I believe it was last year but maybe 2 years ago, but you guys actually showed a scene from Harry facing Voldemort for the final time. And it was in the very beginning of the footage you showed, and for me, I gasped, because I couldn’t believe you were showing this.
Barron: (laughs) Just teasing.
Heyman: You had to wait a little while before you actually saw it in the film.
Are you showing anymore of that scene today?
Barron: There’s one shot of each, I think.
Heyman: Yeah there’s a couple of shots, but we’re not showing cut footage.
You guys decided not to do the 3D conversion for Part 1, but you said 3D for Part 2. Is Part 2 still being released in 3D?
Heyman: Yes it is. The reason we didn’t do it on the first part was because we didn’t feel that we could do it justice. And actually the 3D would actually compromise the film, so we didn’t have the time.
Barron: We were diving into 3D for the first time, it was a new world for us, and so we didn’t get off to a fine start. There wasn’t time to do it properly, and so Warners very very kindly supported us. I’m sure they were wishing it was not the case, but they were hugely supportive to not put out something that we weren’t happy with.
You mentioned that you guys were eventually gonna release Part 1 in 3D whether it be on Blu-ray or a re-release theatrically.
Heyman: We’re doing Blu-ray.
Barron: It’s going really well.
Heyman: We’re in the process of doing it right now and we’re really excited about the quality, we feel it adds something to the film and is really immersive as opposed to taking out, which I think a lot of 3D can do. And it’s been great for us going through that process to lead into the theatrical because I think we’ve learned an awful lot.
Barron: We have learned a lot.
Heyman: David Yates is approaching 3D from a character point of view.
Barron: It’s a storytelling aid. Rather than being a special effect gimmick where it’s like “Oh that’s cool.” We’re using it to help tell the story better.
Heyman: It’s probably gonna be more subtle than on some films, we’re not gonna have tons of stuff flying out the screen, we’ll have some but not much. The depth will not necessarily be as great as some films. But it will make the film feel larger, be more immersive, and I think it will add to the stories as opposed to take away.
Do you guys ever envision a 3D conversion of the earlier films and also the theatrical re-release of them in 3D?
Heyman: We haven’t talked about it but I won’t be surprised if that happens. I don’t know about theatrical but I suspect in 3D that will go on.
What’s the running time of the final film?
Barron: It will be one of the shortest films.
Heyman: It will be the shortest film.
So what does that mean?
Heyman: We don’t know yet, because we’re still editing.
Barron: It’s not a short film, but it will be shorter than the others.
When I spoke to you guys last time, you mentioned that the last film was much more of an action film. Is that still the case?
Heyman: It’s not non-stop action, but it’s a lot of action. But, one the the things that makes Harry Potter so special is it’s not just action, not just magic, it’s characters, humanity and truth.
Barron: And a strong emotional core.
Heyman: And that’s what this film has: a real strong emotional center. So yeah there’s a lot of action, and it’s a really thrilling ride, and it ends with the final confrontation with Voldemort with Harry, but most importantly it’s a film that moves you and it makes you really involved and invested in the characters.
Heyman and Barron also picked up the CinemaCon Hall of Fame award for the Harry Potter films; photos of the pair with their trophies can be seen in our galleries.
Additionally, several movie sites got to see the four-minute Deathly Hallows: Part II preview (which will not be released publicly) and revealed a few tidbits, including:
• Battle of Hogwarts scenes shown, extended clip of Harry walking into the forest with Voldemort.
• Gringotts sequence shown, as well as the dragon breaking through the roof of the bank.
• A brief teaser of what was presumed to be the King’s Cross chapter between Harry and Dumbledore (going by the reporters’ ‘dream’ description) was shown as well.
UPDATE: Details of the 4-minute scene can be read here:
Inside Hogwarts, Harry confronts Snape for daring to stand in Dumbledore’s place after his involvement in the former headmaster’s murder, then we see Snape doing battle with Maggie Smith’s Minerva McGonagall, who then casts a spell to bring a number of armed knight statues to life to help protect the school. The tagline for the extended trailer was “It Ends Where It Started” and we see a scene of the wizards on both sides of the battle racing towards each other in the Forbidden Forest for the final battle, as well as lots of footage of Hogwarts’ destruction and a bridge the group are crossing also being destroyed.
We see the scene of Harry and Voldemort facing off with magical energy streaming between them, and another one where Harry tells Voldemort “Let’s end this together,” before pulling them both over the side of a high cliff, and Voldemort’s voice-over tells Harry, “Only one can live forever.”
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II will be released on July 15, 2011.