The 'Harry Potter' books were a staple of many people's childhoods, so it would make sense to enlist a man renowned for capturing the wonderment of youth on film to direct the film adaptation.

In the past, Steven Spielberg has admitted that he was initially interested in directing the first 'Harry Potter' film - potentially as his first animated feature film, as the rumour goes - but Chris Columbus would ultimately go on to direct 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone', which was released in 2001.

Although his name was reportedly in the hat alongside the likes of Rob Reiner and Jonathan Demme, Spielberg has now revealed the reason that he turned down the offer from Warner Bros.

"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 during a conversation with 'RRR' director SS Rajamouli.

"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 that 'Harry Potter' was one of "several films I chose not to make", but had no regrets about it.

"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," he said. "So I’d sacrificed a great franchise, which today, looking back, I’m very happy to have done, to be with my family."

Spielberg would eventually go on to direct 'A.I.' next, and he's done fairly okay for himself ever since.

His latest film 'The Fabelmans' is nominated for six awards at next month's Oscars.