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Director Chris Columbus speaks on the stars of ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Percy Jackson’

By Whitney Milam Chris Columbus knows his wizards and Greek gods. After directing the first two “Harry Potter” movies, he brought the film adaptation of Rick Riordan’s “Percy Jackson” series to the big screen, and as he tells the Coventry Telegraph, the two aren’t as unlike as you might think.

“All fantasy films are connected in some way, whether it’s Spider-Man or The Lord Of The Rings or Percy Jackson or Potter, they’re connected at their heart by a hero who is sometimes severely flawed, looking to fill this emptiness inside by going on a quest.” Although, he clarifies, “Potter is more about wizardry whereas this is Greek mythology.”

Columbus, who was originally responsible for casting Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint as children for Harry, Hermione, and Ron respectively, says of the child actor casting process, “Once you set a standard and you say no enough times, the right kid will appear–it’s a matter of never compromising…When I did Potter I realised that you really have to cast the family as well, and look at their parents, and those Potter kids have turned out pretty well.”

With “Percy Jackson”, Columbus explains that he was working with older “actors that were a little more seasoned than the first Potter film, where the kids had never acted before,” and is full of praise for “Jackson”‘s star, Logan Lerman. “His performance was so strong and mature and I felt I had the perfect Percy and I feel he is going on to have a great career as an actor like a Matt Damon or Robert DeNiro and I have never said that before about anyone–but he is that good. He is not concerned about fame–he wants to make great movies.”

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