Director Chris Columbus calls for the release of three-hour “Philosopher’s Stone” cut

You may have missed this amongst all the 20th anniversary chatter but, in a recent interview, director Chris Columbus said he would love to see the original three-hour cut released.

The longer version hasn’t been seen since Warner Bros. tested the movie way back in 2001. Speaking with The Wrap this week, Columbus said:

“We knew that the film worked because we did a couple of previews. Particularly a Chicago preview where our first cut was a three-hour cut. Parents afterwards said it was too long, the kids said it was too short. I thought, well, the kids presumably have a shorter attention span so this is a good thing.”

Columbus’ original edit was eight minutes short of three hours which means 20 minutes was cut to make the theatrical release of the film we all love at two hours and 32 minutes.

So, what have we missed? I bet you know..

It turns out that one scene-stealing character from the books, the mischievious Poltergeist Peeves, had all his scenes cut. There is even an ‘Ultimate Edition’ on DVD and Blu-ray with an extra seven minutes added but still no Peeves!

We’d all love to see the Peeves scenes, right?

“I would too.” said Columbus in his interview with The Wrap. “We have to put Peeves back in the movie.”

The late Rik Mayall, famous for his role as Bottom, his appearances in ‘Blackadder’ and as Rick in ‘The Young Ones’ was cast to play the character but all his scenes were cut from the first film in the franchise, an ommission frequently sited by fans as one of the most disappointing differences between the book and the movie.

In an interview, Rik Mayall himself talked about his short-lived role as Peeves:

“I played the part of – hang on, it’s coming to me – Peeves was his name. I went home and I got the money…significant. Then…I was in the film for three weeks and then they cut me out. I got the oodle and I wasn’t in it.”

A release of the longer version of “The Philosopher’s Stone” could be easily done. We all know the fanbase is strong and the hashtag #releasethepeevescut is already trending.

Quite frankly, we don’t really understand why it hasn’t already been done nor why it’s screening isn’t part of the program of events to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the film’s release. Maybe it is in the works and we just haven’t heard about it….

Although the anniversary date for the release of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” is widely being promoted as 16th November 2001, that was actually the date for the general release in the UK and the US after the premieres in London on 4th November and New York and LA on 11th and 14th November respectively. The film didn’t open in Australia until 29th November. Spare a thought for Potterheads in India, the last country where the film was released on 12th April 2002.



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