'Potter' director Yates working on 'Doctor Who' film
November 15th, 2011
05:50 PM ET

'Potter' director Yates working on 'Doctor Who' film

As "Doctor Who" enjoys a revival on the small screen, "Harry Potter" director David Yates is working to bring the classic BBC series to the movies, reports Variety.

Yates has announced that he's developing the project with the BBC, which aired the sci-fi show from 1963 to 1989. In 2005, "Doctor Who" returned, and currently stars Matt Smith.

BBC America, which airs "Doctor Who" Stateside, tweeted Monday, "A Doctor Who feature film remains in development w/ BBC Worldwide Productions in LA. As of yet no script, cast or production crew in place."

Yates is currently on the hunt for writers. The idea is not to spin a story off from the current reincarnation but to take a new approach to the story of the alien in human form who, along with his human companions, travels across time while fighting off the bad guys.

Regardless of the flexibility of the tale, Yates is still keen on keeping its British roots, even if he ends up with an American writing the script.

"We want a British sensibility, but having said that, Steve Kloves wrote the 'Potter' films and captured that sensibility perfectly, so we are looking at American writers too," Yates told Variety.

Yates also promises to take his time with execution.

"We're going to spend two to three years to get it right," the director said. "It needs quite a radical transformation to take into the bigger arena."

Filed under: movies • television

soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. LoopsFroot

    I don't know if I should be excited about this or not 🙁

    December 5, 2011 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
  2. Alex

    While a lot of people – myself included – have been criticizing the plan to reimagine the show (hopefully Yates and the powers that be realize how unpopular that decision is and have time to change their minds), Doctor Who Magazine's Twitter feed is reporting that this is nothing more than rumor and no different from the rest of the "we're planning to do a movie" speculation dating back more than 20 years; at one point Spielberg was going to be directing a film too. And Leonard Nimoy. I do have to correct a comment above, however: the Peter Cushing film was only made because the TV series was not available in America in the 1960s, so no one cared about whether it had anything to do with the TV show. The McGann film was a direct continuation of the TV series – he was the Eighth Doctor – so it was not a reimagining or anything (and the novels and comic books long ago rationalied out the whole "half human" business that arose in that film). Doing a movie is a great idea, but it needs to tie in with the TV series; even JJ Abrams knew better than to abandon the Star Trek canon when he was tasked with reinventing Trek and came up with the whole alternate timeline idea. All it takes is one single line of dialogue establishing something similar in Doctor Who and it'll work. Otherwise, the film will have an uphill battle appealing to the mainstream who don't have a clue what Doctor Who is, while also appealing to the gigantic (Trek-sized) fanbase that will be extremely critical of a reimagining. I personally don't think the film will be made, at the end of the day.

    November 16, 2011 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  3. Matthew Black

    The problem with this project is not that it will be bad – it might or might not be – but that it is completely and utterly superfluous and NOT NEEDED. The TV series is chugging along just fine, thank you, heading inevitably towards the Doctor's 50th Anniversary in 2013. Unless it is tied into the TV show Anniversary in some clever way, with a good twist; then it is I repeat NOT NEEDED!! Myself and others might accept a movie if it dealt with the show's prequel: The Time War – the final showdown between the Time Lords and the Daleks – talked about in the show over the last six years but NOT seen or detailed. If this were done, showing the transition from McGann to Chris Eccleston and the tragic downfall of the Doctor and the Time Lords, then this prequel would lead into the TV series, which started in 2005 and dealt with The Doctor's redemption and Rise. Then, if this film were successful, in 2015 the TV show could end, leading into a Movie Franchise that transitioned from Matt Smith to a new actor portraying The Doctor's 12th and FINAL incarnation. This would give real jeopardy to the character of The Doctor – his life is so dangerous he could really, truly die at the end of the final motion picture in 2020 or WHENEVER. But then, nobody ever, REALLY dies in fantasy, do they? (wink). THIS is how I would do a Doctor Who movie series, NOT some knock-off, parallel and cynical franchise like 'Star Trek' is in real danger of becoming...

    November 16, 2011 at 5:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mike Bentley

    I think everyone is on edge because they expect a slew of "I'm half-human" moments, jaw-dropping stupid additions to the Doctor Who canon.

    November 16, 2011 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
  5. Persy

    At least he's going to take his time. They did make some movies like this back then (Paul McGann, Peter Cushing) that were actually pretty good, so let's not stone Yates just yet.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Al

    Doctor Who should stay on the small screen. Unless they tell the timewar story, it should not be mangled by hollywood.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Matthew

    I don't like the sound of this. Yates isn't talking like he's got much respect for the established continuity. A comic on the subject: http://www.cinemabums.com/?p=174

    November 15, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Emily

    Why mess with a good thing?

    November 15, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jaocb

    You have no idea what fury you just unleashed upon yourself CNN, its Doctor, not Dr.

    November 15, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ana

    It's "Doctor Who", not "Dr. Who". Please spell it correctly. *Adjusts thick rimmed glasses*

    November 15, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sam Buckner

    I wonder if Yates knows how many people hate him now..

    November 15, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |

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