Eye on the Oscars: The Producer

One of the biggest challenges David Heyman faced when producing “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” was creating a magical place to matriculate little witches and wizards.

No, not Hogwarts but an actual school on the set in England for the hundreds of children cast in the film.

“The number of teachers we had to employ varied,” says Heyman. “When we had 400 kids on set, there were 40 teachers.”

In addition to the faculty, Heyman also oversaw a crew of 1,500 in an imaginary world ultimately made even more enchanting by 700 visual effects.

“We had to source and define the world that is Hogwarts and build it from scratch,” he says.

Well, not all of it. Heyman was able to take advantage of several historic locations on the other side of the pond, such as Alnwick Castle, and Gloster and Durham cathedrals.

“Those are found places that we didn’t have to re-create,” he explains. “We just incorporated the sites into our world.”

Another trick from Heyman and director Chris Columbus was conjuring up some inventive shooting schedules.

“We only have them (the children) for 9½ hours a day,” explains Heyman. “Three hours are given to education and an hour for lunch leaves only 5½ hours for filming.”

In the case of Harry Potter, that was just the right combination.

“Dan (Radcliffe, who plays the title character), has had the best exams of his life,” Heyman says. “So we feel like what we are doing on set is working.”

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