This weekend in theaters David Yates‘ film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 hits theaters. We had a chance to speak to Yates over the phone to talk to him about finishing the last two Potter films, where he’s at in post-production with the second part of Deathly Hallows, having his own voice in the franchise and he talks about why Part 1 is his favorite Potter film!

Find out what insights Yates had for us below…

What is it like coming to the conclusion of such a massive project?

David Yates: Combination of feelings I would guess. For me personally it’s quote sad. I’ve been with it for about five and half years but there’s also a tremendous sense of relief because it’s been quite all consuming on every single level. It’s just lovely to get to that point where you can finally let go a little bit. For David Heyman, my producer who has been with it for ten years and the young cast, Daniel, Emma, Rupert and some of the others, it’s quite a huge deal. This is their childhood that they’re letting go of in a way. It’s full of mixed emotions for everybody and it’s kind of a combination of almost… we’re kind of near the end of all that work that everyone has been sustaining for so long, that still keeps to be reaching and sustaining audiences and they’re still responding. They’re still coming in such numbers in fact it seems to be building… and sadness as well that it’s finishing

Part 2 work? You’re still working away on that one, no?

DY: Yes, very much so! I’m editing at the moment. So just before the UK premiere I was working with my editor Mark Day back in London and we haven’t quite got to the point yet of a director’s cut, which is the first cut before I show it to anybody including the producers or the studio. So I don’t present anything to anybody until February of next year or something. So it’s still go a couple months of editing and then through March, April, May. June it’s all the level of work that comes which is fine tuning the visual effects and the music and all that kind of thing.

So there’s a lot more to do?

DY: Yeah, it’s pretty full on up until next summer.

Who does this film belong to? How much do you consider this your film?

DY: There is something about Harry Potter, which it’s hard for anyone to territorialize it. I think it’s because it’s so big and so popular and so loved. I would first and foremost go back to J.K Rowling who created these absolutely wonderful books. And then beyond that I think, myself included, and the previous directors and all of us, kind of pour everything we’ve got into these films. In a way we’re kind of curators of this national treasure that everyone has such affection for. As a director, I don’t feel particularly territorial about it at. Especially since Christopher Columbus kicked off the world and then Mike Newman and Alfonso came in and we’ve contributed, it’s like one big, great mosaic. That everyone has got up and put their own work into it. We’ve all kind of dived in to represent and capture some of those things which have really the attention and affection of a worldwide audience.

So do you consider yourself just part of the Potter group?

DY: I’m really cool about being part of that wonderful group of people who have all put their best efforts in. It’s really weird when you get to this stage and the film’s coming out, it’s so much more than one person’s film of a group of people’s film. I have a group of wonderful collaborators – my production designer, editor, composer, cameraman — it’s even bigger than the wonderful cast that we have even though they’re the focal point, quite quite rightly, for so many of the fans because they’re wonderful and gifted and adorable. It’s so much bigger than any of us. It’s this extraordinary thing that’s just kind of grabbed everyone’s imagination.

How do you get your own voice to come through?

DY: I make a thousand decisions a week creatively, I can tell you that ultimately this has been the most creative, fulfilling job I’ve ever had in many ways. There’s not a frame of the film that goes out that has not been through my hands as it were, that I have no approved or spent hours sweating over. So it’s still that but equally, I’m totally cool about stepping aside from it and saying well it’s Harry Potter- I’m totally at peace with that and have been form the outset. I just felt like – there’s something more going on here and I have the rest of my career ahead of me. I was busy before and I’ll be busy after. I’m proud of the work, I think it’s good work but I don’t crave glory from it, it’s just my contribution and I’m very happy about that.

Why do you think there is such a desire for franchises now?

DY: I think that notion of a rolling narratives, where you’re inviting an audience back is a part of big, modern cinema in the 21st century. I think these big franchise movies all have an element of that and I think that audiences who have a huge fondness for the characters you want to continue the story with them.

Which of the two films coming up are you most excited about?

DY: I am very, very fond of Part 1, it’s much more melancholic and haunted and intense than Part 2, which is more of an action film. There’s much more spectacle and battled and dragons and things. I’m still working on Part 2. I’m excited about both of them for different reasons. I like the intimacy of Part 1, the character detail and the quieter moments in Part 1, but I’m very excited about just getting to the end of the story and the big action stuff which is quite fun for an audience.

What are some of the main differences between UK and US audiences?

DY: I adore American audiences. They’re much more enthusiastic, they’re much more ready to show their vocal appreciation for certain things.

They’re louder basically?

DY: Yes, they’re louder! Which is great if you’ve spent so much time making a movie. If you want them to clap and cheer they do so. In England the intense feeling is there but they’re much more polite. It’s cliche but it’s absolutely true. What always strikes me is how many people from all over the world that tell me how massive the films are in India, Argentina, Costa Rica and what staggers me is that when you know that in Brazil there’s this massive audience. That’s what I find really intriguing and amazing and wonderful.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I opens in theaters on November 19th and Part II opens on July 15, 2011. Both films are directed by David Yates.

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