Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg said he sacrificed contributing a major part to the "Harry Potter" franchise by turning down the chance to direct "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" in London so he could be with family near Los Angeles.
The 76-year-old director told director S.S. Rajamouli about the decision during a chat last Thursday.
"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," he said.
"Kate [Capshaw] and I started raising a family and we started having children. The choice I had to make was 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 a ripping kind of experience," he added.
Spielberg said he chose to not make several films because of the divide it could cause, adding, "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’d sacrificed a great franchise, which today looking back I’m very happy to have done, to be with my family."
The film that launched a wildly successful stream of successors based on the popular children's novels by J.K. Rowling was instead directed by Chris Columbus, known for directing other successful flicks like "The Help," the "Night at the Museum" films and more.
Spielberg, at the time, directed the film "A.I. Artificial Intelligence" near the L.A. area, noting that the film didn't generate conflict since he could stay close to his family.
He has also directed multiple films since, including the 2022 drama "The Fabelmans," for which he's eyeing a possible "Best Director" award at this year's Academy Awards.
Spielberg is up against filmmakers Todd Field, Ruben Östlund, Martin McDonagh, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert for the award.
The film itself is set to face off against the likes of wildly popular summer blockbusters like Tom Cruise's "Top Gun: Maverick" and James Cameron's highly-anticipated sequel to the 2009 hit "Avatar."
Other nominated films include "Everything Everywhere All at Once," "Elvis," "All Quiet on the Western Front," "Triangle of Sadness," and more.