(March 28, 2000 – Burbank, CA) - Warner Bros. Pictures has enlisted Chris Columbus, director of some of the decade’s most successful family films including “Home Alone” and “Mrs. Doubtfire,” to helm its first adaptation of the best-selling Harry Potter series of books, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” The announcement was made today by Lorenzo di Bonaventura, President of Worldwide Production for Warner Bros. Pictures. Harry Potter is the central character in a series of books for children and adults alike that has swept the world. Written by British author J.K. Rowling, the books follow the exploits of a boy who learns on his eleventh birthday that he is the orphaned son of two powerful wizards and possesses unique magical powers of his own. He is summoned from his life as an unwanted foster child to become a student at Hogwarts, an English boarding school for wizards. There, Harry meets several friends who become his closest allies and help him discover the truth about his parents’ mysterious deaths at the hands of a powerful adversary. “Harry Potter is the kind of timeless literary achievement that comes around once in a lifetime,” di Bonaventura said. “Since the books have generated such a passionate following across the world, it was important to us to find a director that has an affinity for both children and magic. I can’t think of anyone more ideally suited for this job than Chris.” “From the first time I read Harry Potter with my children I fell in love with these wonderful characters and this world,” Columbus said. “I’m thrilled and honored to bring J.K. Rowling’s classic story to the screen.” Warner Bros. Pictures, through British producer David Heyman, acquired the rights to the first four books in the series, which is projected to include seven books. Said Heyman: “Chris has been pursuing Harry Potter for nigh on two years. His passion and enthusiasm are overwhelming. I know he will make a great film.” The studio and Mr. Heyman engaged Steve Kloves (“The Fabulous Baker Boys”) to adapt the first book for the screen. Filming is expected to begin in England this summer. Columbus gained prominence in Hollywood with a trio of original scripts, "Gremlins," “Goonies" and "Young Sherlock Holmes." He went on to a tremendously successful directing career, helming such films as "Home Alone," one of the highest-grossing comedies of all time, and its smash hit follow-up, "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York"; “Bicentennial Man,” starring Robin Williams; “Stepmom,” with Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon, and “Mrs. Doubtfire,” also starring Williams. He also wrote, produced and directed "Nine Months," starring Julianne Moore and Hugh Grant.
# # #