Dec 20 2013 11:30am

Pre-Hogwarts Harry Potter Play in the Works, Rowling Producing

Harry Potter, Philosopher's Sorceror's Stone, dursleys, zoo

Got to admit... of all the Harry Potter news I was expecting to see over the next few years, this was never in the cards.

It looks as though J.K. Rowling is going to co-produce and collaborate on a play about Harry Potter’s life before he got his fab invitation to a wizarding school. The project was conceived by producers of The Book of Mormon. (Does that mean that the show will be a musical? Please say yes.)

This is what Rowling has to say about the play, which is beginning development in 2014:

“Over the years I have received countless approaches about turning Harry Potter into a theatrical production, but Sonia and Colin’s vision was the only one that really made sense to me, and which had the sensitivity, intensity and intimacy I thought appropriate for bringing Harry’s story to the stage. After a year in gestation it is exciting to see this project moving on to the next phase.”

It’s an interesting choice, isn’t it? Rowling’s involvement makes whatever the show does canonical, but because it’s a play, the kid who plays Harry will have a lot to do with how the story is perceived. And that boy is going to be pretty darn young too; even if it’s only set a year before Philosopher’s Stone, that only makes Harry ten years. In addition, this story won’t really have magic in it—or at least, not much—because Harry doesn’t yet know about his heritage.

With that in mind, maybe it’ll read more like a Roald Dahl story. A secretly special kid who’s abused by his relatives has to handle bullying, and ocassionally finds that oddly magical things happen around him? Does that sound like the sort of play everyone’s into seeing? Will they have to release the script immediately in print so fans don’t go nuts for the fact that there’s a part of Potter canon they haven’t witnessed?

What do you guys think? Does this sound like fun to you, or does it seem like a weird move? I honestly can’t decide....

Emily Asher-Perrin would like to play a table lamp at the Dursleys, please. You can bug her on Twitter and read more of her work here and elsewhere.

Jenny Thrash
1. Sihaya
It sounds like we'd watch ten years of suffering without any relief or explanation. In other words, it sounds like an existentialist masterpiece.
Daniel Castellanos
2. TheEightChandrian
Weird move really... I guess the bully stuff will be touched and is part of Rowling's, err I don't know, obesession of discussing social issues. Maybe that's why she said "it made sense" but you know it doesn't to me.
From all possible prequels this is one I haven't though of either and it doesn't excite me. There's probably no magic at all in it, unless you bring other characters that remain in the background and Harry never finds out who they are or what they do for the sake of canon continuity.

First the Creatures movie and now this... I feel like Rowling's starting to milk the series a bit.
3. Jake3295
But we already have the definitive Harry Potter theatrical production in the form of A Very Potter Musical and it's sequels.
Dan Rice
4. driceman
I like this idea better than the Newt Scamander movie idea. There just doesn't seem to be enough substance to that idea to make anything worthwhile out of it, although I suppose if Rowling really has a great idea in mind maybe it could work out.

This play, meanwhile, sounds fun. I agree, it sounds like it'll come out to be very Roald Dahl-ish, and learning more about the lead-up to Sorcerer's Stone is good in my book. Assuming I ever get a chance to see this or find out about the plot, that is...
5. Bad Wolf
@4: I'll bet you a Butter Beer that it'll be a film within three years as Warner won't be ale to resist turning it into one. And only that long because it takes that long to make a film.
Dan Rice
6. driceman
@5: Valid point! The biggest problem with adapting this play into a movie, to me, is that they'd have to find a completely new cast playing characters we've already seen. I feel like a seven-year-old trying to imitate Dan Radcliffe would not turn out well...

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