J.K. Rowling initially sold Warner Bros. the film rights to the ”Harry Potter” books on the stipulation that the movies cast actors only from the British Isles, and on the sets of the three movies shot so far, seemingly everyone has been as English as steak-and-kidney pie, except for the director. That could change with the fourth movie, ”Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” According to the Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. and Mike Newell, the British director best known for ”Four Weddings and a Funeral,” are keen to work together on ”Goblet.”
Although Newell hasn’t seen a screenplay or started formal talks with the studio, he’s reportedly eager to follow American Chris Columbus (who directed the first two movies) and Mexican Alfonso Cuarón, who’s in production on ”Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.” (Let’s hope Warner’s interest in Newell isn’t an early vote of no-confidence in the job Cuarón’s doing on ”Azkaban.”)
If he gets the job, Newell will certainly have his work cut out for him; ”Goblet” is roughly twice as long as the first three books and could turn into a movie lengthy enough to test the patience of even the most devoted younger fans, unless the studio decides to ”Kill Bill” the movie into two parts. As for Newell, his next movie, ”Mona Lisa Smile,” with Julia Roberts and Kirsten Dunst, comes out at Christmas.