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Feature: Harry Potter 3

Harry Potter Superstar!

Hurry Harry With two films down and the fifth book due out this summer, what’s next for 'The Boy Who Lived'?

Harry Potter: now there’s a name to conjure with, a screen icon who may in time even eclipse the literary fame of JK Rowling’s massively popular boy wizard. That’s the strength of cinema, as the enduring impression of a handful of movies with Daniel Radcliffe in the role is enough to bring the young actor’s face in the mind of Potter fans whenever they hear their hero’s name.

This obviously has implications for future movies, with Harry having to battle puberty, GCSEs and (ugh!) girls as he continues his studies at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. For 13-year-old Radcliffe too the prospect it potentially life-changing. There is always the risk that this will be the only role he is remembered for – but then who would leave a winning team? Being typecast as a Manchester United player, painful as this may be to admit, is no bar to career satisfaction.

That is to jump ahead though. Of the promised seven books there have only been four novels published so far with another one eagerly awaited later this June. And only two of those have so far been filmed. So it’s a testament to the achievement of producers David Heyman and Mark Radcliffe, director Chris Columbus and the cast and crew that these two movies– Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets –have become fixed so quickly in the popular imagination.

Warner Bros doubtless expected a hit back in August 2000 when Radcliffe and his young co-stars Emma Watson and Rupert Grint were unveiled to an intimidating horde of international press and photographers (besting Voldemort is as nothing compared the fearsome powers of the London paparazzi corps), but even this venerable studio may have been taken aback by the subsequent scale of the films’ success.

At the time JK Rowling pronounced herself delighted with the choices of young actors to play these crucial roles. “Having seen Daniel Radcliffe’s screen test I don’t think Chris Columbus could have found a better Harry,” she announced in a prepared statement. Radcliffe, aged 11 at the time, had appeared as young David Copperfield in a BBCtv version of Dickens’ classic, as well as having a fleeting role in John Boorman’s The Tailor of Panama. Back then he was a somewhat shyer, far more nervous young man than the self-assured media operator he has since become.

by Anwar Brett

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Feature © Visual Imagination 2004. Not for reproduction

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Xposé #78
April 2003
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