Harry Potter, Cast at Last
A young actor gets ready to enroll in Hogwarts
This article was posted on January 20, 2000.
The suspense is over. After months of speculation and rumor—and thousands of auditions—moviemakers have found their Harry Potter.
As promised, the boy who will be Harry is a Brit, and until now few would recognize his face. Eleven-year-old actor Daniel Radcliffe has won the magical part in Warner Brothers' film production of Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone.
An Impressive Debut
At the age of 10, Radcliffe made his acting debut in the adaptation of another British classic novel that featured fairy-tale twists and a stormy childhood—he played the young lead in a BBC version of Charles Dickens's David Copperfield. Radcliffe was the one unknown in the all-star cast. Director Simon Curtis said it was "weird at times to be directing some of the greatest actors in the world with the newest actor in the world."
As the young David Copperfield, Radcliffe won praise for what the Boston Herald called "a heart-wrenching performance." He was also well regarded by his fellow actors. "He was great," said Copperfield castmate Trevor Eve. "He's really bright and he's absolutely terrific." Director Curtis called Radcliffe "a perfectly delightful boy."
Radcliffe enjoys Pokémon and The Simpsons, and has said that he would like one day to play cinematic spy James Bond. Like Harry, Radcliffe is an only child who wears glasses.
``I think I'm a tiny bit like Harry because I'd like to have an owl,'' says Radcliffe.
A Full House at Hogwarts
Ten-year-old Emma Watson will play brainy Hermione Granger, and eleven-year-old Rupert Grint will play loyal Ron Weasley. It will be the first screen appearance for both actors. Each of the young Brits has performed only in school plays.
Like Ron, Grint is one of seven children and has a red-headed sister. "I think I'm scarily like my character," he says of playing Ron.
Although Watson says that she, like Hermione, enjoys her studies, she is absolutely not a ``top form goody-two shoes," like the teacher's pet of the books.
"I couldn't be happier to work with such talented, inspiring young actors," says director Chris Columbus.
Meanwhile, the award-winning British actress Dame Maggie Smith has agreed to play the esteemed professor Minerva McGonagall. British television star Robbie Coltrane is expected to play the part of Hagrid, the gruff gamekeeper with a soft spot for unusual animals.
Rowling Rests Easy
Fans will be glad to hear that Harry's creator is pleased with the choice of actor.
"Having seen Dan Radcliffe screen test, I don't think Chris Columbus could have found a better Harry," says author J. K. Rowling. "I wish Dan, Emma, and Rupert the very best of luck and hope they have as much fun acting the first year at Hogwarts as I had writing it."
Production has already begun on the movie, which is due to premiere Thanksgiving 2001. Says producer David Heyman, "We have always been, and continue to be, devoted to remaining true and faithful to the book."