Steven Spielberg has no shortage of classic films in his catalog as a director. However, there’s one franchise that the legend actually turned down in order to spend more time with his family.
Speaking to fellow director S.S. Rajamouli — who directed the 2022 hit film RRR — Spielberg spoke about just how important spending time with his family is. He likened the pull of art and family to his latest film, The Fabelmans, and described that once he started having children, it was harder to justify leaving everyone to make movies.
“The personal meaning about [how the conflict between] art and family will tear you in half happened to me later, after I had already established myself as a filmmaker, as a working director,” said Spielberg. “Kate [Capshaw] and I started raising a family and we started having children, we have seven kids now. But the choice I had to make in taking a job that would move me to another country for four or five months where I wouldn’t see my family every day, that was the art and the family that was really a rending…a ripping kind of experience. ”
In a surprising twist, Spielberg also revealed that he even turned down the chance to direct the first Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in order to be with his children more.
“And there were several films I chose not to make,” Spielberg said. “They offered me Harry Potter. I chose to turn down the first Harry Potter to basically spend that next year and a half with my family, my young kids growing up. So I sacrificed a great franchise, which today looking back I’m very happy to have done, to be with my family. Other times, my family stayed in Los Angeles, and I went abroad to tell a story.”
Despite not having the backing of someone like Spielberg, the Harry Potter film franchise went on to do enormously well, grossing more than $7.7 billion in its seven-film history, and becoming the fourth-highest-grossing film series of all time.