In keeping with the trend that has seen the big screen versions of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter franchise growing steadily darker and more adult, if not better acted, Warner Bros. Studios announced over the weekend that Paul Verhoeven, the legendary director/pervert behind Basic Instinct, Showgirls and Invisible Man will be directing the next instalment. As has become customary, the rabid legions of pre-pubescents and chunky, aging, single librarians who comprise Rowling’s fan base have expressed concerns over the choice, just as they did when Alfonso Cuaron (whose Y Tu Mama Tambien opened with a youth’s experiments with his ‘magic wand’ resulting in his jizzing in a swimming pool) was chosen to helm a previous chapter in the series. In response, the studio has decided to reassure the fans that Verhoeven does not mean to bend the franchise over, make it grasp its ankles and think of England by releasing a snippet of the screenplay onto the internet. For your edification, Sterne presents a copy below; in all honesty, it’s a pretty straightforward, pedestrian adaptation, and may in fact be too faithful to Rowling’s text to hold audience interest – but I’ll leave you to decide that for yourselves.
Act 2, Scene 5.
Midnight. All is shadowy, ill-lit by the occasional smoky candle. Harry and Ron are scampering back down the Hogwarts corridors after the merry jape involving Farmer Emerich’s wytch-cows. They are chuckling and nudging each other, as bosom pals are wont to.
Ron: I bet Malfoy wets himself when he sees wha…
Harry comes to a sudden halt by an ominous wooden door.
Ron: What is it, Harry?
Harry: Shhh, listen!
Ron’s eyes goggle as he listens.
Ron: What? There’s nuffin’ there.
Harry: Didn’t you hear it? It sounded like a dark, slimy beast forcing its way out into this world from some hideous nether region. And what’s that weird, sulphourous smell? We’ve got to investigate!
Ron (eyes goggling): I d-d-don’t know about this H-Harry.
A terrible moaning is heard from behind the ominous door. Ron’s eyes goggle still further (NB: if this proves physically impossible for actor, insert CG graphic here).
Ron: Eeep! (Ron scarpers).
Harry: Ron, wait!
Harry steels himself visibly, then placing his hands upon its portentous carvings, he pushes on the ominous door, which opens with an ill-omened creak. The camera pans into the room beyond, following Harry’s line of sight, and we observe Dumbledore and Snape within, engaged in an arcane ritual.
Dumbledore: Harry! What are you doing here! Back to your dorm at once! This magic is too powerful for you!
Snape: Go Potter, before I turn you into a maggot and feed you to a toad. And then step on the toad.
Harry: No! I came here to Hogwarts to learn to defend myself against evil wizards and their black arts, and to master the hidden secrets of the universe. Power and magic are my birthrights, and whatever is going on here, I deserve to be part of it. I’m ready!
Dumbledore (brow furrowed in consternation): Very well, Harry. I believe you are. Come.
Dumbledore lifts up the sheets under which he and Snape are lying, shifts over, and pats the mattress invitingly.
Dumbledore: Snape, do you have the laxatives and the Glad-wrap? Good. Harry my boy, you are about to be inducted into the Ancient and Secret Order of the Cleveland Steamer…
Scene ends with the look of fascinated horror/curiosity on Harry's face.