(4 of 5)
While writing the screenplay, Kloves kept in touch with the author via e-mail. At one point he sought her advice on truncating the book's lengthy, entertaining but tangential chapter on Hagrid's pet dragon, Norbert. "I said, 'This chapter is killing me,'" recalls Kloves. "She e-mailed back, 'I'm glad to hear it, because it killed me too.' It's the one part of the book that she felt easily could be changed." Audiences will see Norbert hatch from his bowling ball-size egg and ignite Hagrid's beard with fire from his nostrils. But the book's subsequent sequence, in which a grownup Norbert is crated and carted away on broomsticks, alas, was never shot. Similarly, the Dursleys--Harry's awful Muggle relatives (Muggles are nonmagic folk)--get far less screen time than they did page space.
Kloves also sought advice from Rowling on Quidditch, the broomstick sport at which Harry excels. "She gave me a little bit of a clue in saying that she likes American basketball," says Kloves, "so I understood some of what she was doing with hoops and things." But whereas Quidditch is played in a traditional stadium in the books, the movie's Quidditch games are played on an open field circled by towers, which accommodate the spectators and give the moviegoer a sense of height and speed as the players zip around them on brooms.
Costume designer Judianna Makovsky (The Legend of Bagger Vance) initially based her Quidditch uniforms on the cover illustration for Scholastic Inc.'s American edition of Sorcerer's Stone: Harry in a modern-day rugby shirt, jeans and red cape. "It looked a mess," she says. "It wasn't very elegant." So she went on to outfit the Quidditch players in preppie sweaters and ties, 19th century fencing breeches and arm guards under their wizard robes. "There's no real period," she says of the film's costumes, which range from Elizabethan ruffs to tartan plaids to Dickensian frocks.
Reasoning that Hogwarts would date back to the medieval era, production designer Stuart Craig (The English Patient) fashioned Hogwarts' Great Hall after England's greatest cathedrals. Like all the other sets, it was built at Leavesden Studios, a former airfield outside London. "The architecture is real," says Craig, "but pushed as much as we can, expanded as illogically huge as we can possibly make it." To save money, the producers initially asked Craig to find an existing old English street to double for Diagon Alley, where wands, owls, cauldrons, broomsticks and other magical paraphernalia are sold. This was a tall order, since the row of shops would be Harry's--and the audience's--first glimpse of the world of wizards. (Upon seeing it, wrote Rowling, "Harry wished he had about eight more eyes.") Craig ended up building his own awe-inspiring version--a long, highly stylized cobblestone street of Tudor, Georgian and Queen Anne architecture. "The buildings are leaning to the point where they would actually fall over," says Craig, "and you would never get that many styles jammed together."