'Fantastic Beasts': Why Alfonso Cuaron is the perfect choice to direct
Any film buff knows Alfonso Cuarón is a talented, visionary director.
After a career of highlights, he’s riding particularly high after the recent Oscar haul for Gravity. He’ll have his pick of future projects — which is why it’s so exciting there are now rumors the director is in “deep talks” to direct the upcoming Harry Potter spin-off, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. For what it’s worth, reps for Cuarón told EW they know nothing about the rumors that have been floating around the Internet for the past 24 hours, so this might all be a case of collective wishful thinking.
If Cuarón were interested, any fan who holds out hope this film might be good should be jumping for joy. Obviously, any director of Cuarón’s caliber is cause for celebration from people excited about the J.K. Rowling-penned movie, which is due to be released November 18, 2016. But, of course, there’s one past project that makes muggles particularly thrilled about the Cuarón choice: A decade ago, he memorably directed Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which many consider the best film in the Harry Potter franchise.
Cuarón was responsible for adding style to Hogwarts, taking Harry and Co. out of their classes (and robes) and hitting some of the biggest emotional beats of the entire tale. Particularly exciting now, Cuarón showed he knew his way around magical beasts, getting us to care about them as characters (Buckbeak’s escape), as well as using them to hit on themes and move the story.
If you weren’t a fan of Cuarón’s installment in the Harry Potter franchise, it’s likely because he was the director who moved away from a marriage to source material, and cut scenes (like the Marauders’ backstory) that were many readers’ favorite parts of the tale. This time around, with “source material” that is a 42-page encyclopedia, as opposed to a novel with every detail memorized by readers, viewers can just look forward to the finished project — let Cuarón do his thing and enjoy the result.
I could go on and on about why Cuarón is a great choice to merge the imagination-intensive magical ideas of Rowling’s work with the likely special effects-heavy narrative of Newt Scamander. But it’s quicker to just point to the evidence. This four-minute Azkaban scene — which shows Harry’s introduction to the Hippogriff creature Buckbeak as well as the subsequent ride around Hogwarts — is both gorgeously shot and emotionally fulfilling, and sums up why we should all drink a little Felix Felicis and hope Cuarón works out a deal to bring Scamander’s adventure to the big screen: