Last summer, after reading the final sentences of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, David Barron, one of Harry Potter's producers, immediately e-mailed fellow producer David Heyman.
Barron: ''My God, this is a big film.''
Heyman: ''The biggest.''
Barron: ''Maybe even two.''
There's no maybe about it now. Hallows will be split into a two-part cinematic event. Part 1 will be released in 2010, part 2 in 2011. ''I ultimately realized: What do you cut?'' Heyman says. He knows there's a perception that the choice was made ''to supply Warner Bros. with two opportunities for revenue...but I promiseyoupromiseyoupromiseyou, it was all about making the best possible version of that book.''
Screenwriter Steve Kloves, who has written all but the fifth film, recently submitted the first draft of Hallows part 1 and has just begun part 2. His previous choices, he says, have created some complications. Hallows makes crucial use of Ron's brother Bill, for instance a character the movies haven't introduced. The biggest question for fans, of course, is at which point the narrative will be split. Where does part 1 end and part 2 begin? That's top secret for now, but Kloves offers one clue: ''It's not where I originally anticipated.''
Perhaps the only person not relishing the two films' full, faithful adaptation is Rupert Grint, who plays Ron. (And maybe Emma Watson, who plays Hermione.) ''The whole kiss between Ron and Hermione will be quite uncomfortable,'' Grint says. ''Emma's like a sister to me. It's going to be, like, really, really weird.'' Don't worry, Rupe: It'll be over soon.