It appears that rumors of Alfonso Cuaron’s return to the Harry Potter universe were greatly exaggerated, unfortunately. Last week, it was reported that the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban director was “deep in talks” to take the helm of Warner Bros.’ upcoming spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The notion wasn’t entirely out of the realm of possibility, as Fantastic Beasts is removed enough from the Harry Potter series to feel like its own entity (new characters, new setting) and author J.K. Rowling herself penned the screenplay for the film. However, Cuaron has now confirmed that he will not be directing the pic, citing a desire to do something with minimal visual effects as his next project. Hit the jump to read on.
While speaking with Spanish news agency EFE (via Digital Spy), Cuaron stated that he will not be directing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them:
“[Directing Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban] was a very beautiful experience for me. I have a lot of love for that universe and I tremendously admire JK Rowling, but today, for the present, projects based around lots of visual effects don’t attract me. I’m coming out of a five-year process of doing visual effects and now I sort of want to clean my palate of that a little bit.”
Cuaron went on to add that he has no plans “of any kind” for his next movie right now, reiterating what he was saying during Oscar season about wanting to spend some time with his family. Though it’s disappointing to hear that we won’t get another Cuaron-led film within the Harry Potter universe, his reasoning for not wanting to direct Fantastic Beasts is entirely understandable. The filmmaker just spent five years making one of the most visual effects-heavy films ever made, Gravity, and the process was not an easy one. Though he came away with a Best Director Oscar for the effort, it’s reasonable to think that he’d want to do something completely different for his follow-up. If this means we’ll get another Y Tu Mamá También-esque film, I certainly won’t be complaining.
With a November 18, 2016 release date set for Fantastic Beasts, we should hear solid word regarding a director for the project sooner rather than later. In addition to Rowling penning the screenplay, the pic also has David Heyman (the producer of the Harry Potter franchise) onboard to produce, so Warner Bros. should have no trouble enlisting an exciting and talented director to take the helm.