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Monday, 10 February, 2003, 18:52 GMT
Stars out for Potter première
Harry Potter stars (from left) Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson
Stars (from left) Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson
The magic of Harry Potter came to London on Sunday when thousands of fans converged on Leicester Square for the world premiere of the second Potter movie.

Scores of young fans dressed in wizard hats and witches' robes cheered wildly as the stars of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets arrived at the Odeon cinema in Leicester Square.

Harry Potter fans Jack King, six (left) and brother Andrew, 10
Jack King, six (left) and brother Andrew, 10, dressed as Hogwarts pupils
Some devotees had queued for hours in the hope of meeting Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry Potter, and his co-stars.

''It is really strange, but very exciting,'' said 13-year-old Radcliffe when asked about the chanting of ''Daniel, Daniel, Daniel,'' by teenage girls.

Among the others to walk down the red carpet were Kenneth Branagh, who joined the cast for the second film, Robbie Coltrane, who plays Hagrid, and author JK Rowling.

Competition winners from across Europe sat in a specially constructed grandstand, which was decked out in the colours of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Many stars took the time to sign autographs and chat to fans.

Harry Potter author JK Rowling
Author JK Rowling praised the young stars
There were loud cheers for Rupert Grint, who plays Harry's friend Ron Weasley, Emma Watson, who stars as Hermione Granger, and Tom Felton, who play's Harry's adversary Draco Malfoy.

Watson admitted that the screening made her nervous, while Grint described the film as ''scary, but cool scary''.

Director Chris Columbus revealed that he had advised the film's three teenage stars to consider giving up their roles after the third film.

He told them: "This is fun, enjoy it and then go back home to your friends and family," he said.

When asked about his future in the role, Radcliffe said: ''I am definitely doing the third film and after that I don't know."

[Richard Harris] liked a good party. We did some very emotional scenes together. It is very hard

Daniel Radcliffe
Radcliffe paid tribute to the afternoon's main absentee - Richard Harris, who played Professor Albus Dumbledore.

Harris died last month of Hodgkin's Disease, aged 72.

''He would have liked to have been here tonight,'' Radcliffe said.

''He liked a good party. We did some very emotional scenes together. It is very hard.''

Tom Felton, who plays Draco Malfoy
Tom Felton, who plays Draco Malfoy, was one of the crowd favourites
Harris' granddaughter Ella was at the première "to celebrate the magic he brought to the screen".

She said: "It's been really hard for us all but everybody has been really nice, and no-one will ever be able to replace him."

The new movie, based on Rowling's second novel, sees Harry confronting a sinister force terrorising Hogwarts.

When she arrived at the screening, Rowling said: "I'm a bit wet, a bit amazed - I didn't think it would be this mad again.''

Rowling said Columbus had "done a fantastic job" of recreating the second book on film, but that the movie was more scary than the first.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
The film opens on 15 November
She also praised the young actors, especially Radcliffe.

''I thought we were going to find a child whose life we were going to ruin, but he's coped amazingly," she said.

Other stars including Alan Rickman, Julie Walters, Miriam Margolyes and Dame Maggie Smith turned out for the screening.

Most fans will have to wait for the film's general release on 15 November.

Tickets were put on sale seven weeks before the opening date.

The first Harry Potter movie has become the second most successful film of all time behind Titanic, taking $961m (£618m) at box offices.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's David Sillito
"Once again the movie closely follows the plot of the novel"
Actress Miriam Margolyes, who plays Prof Sprout
"I have a wonderful time with the special effects"

Daniel RadcliffeHarris tribute
Kind words for legend at the Potter premiere

Swarms of screaming fans took over Leicester Square for Sunday's première of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Under Harry's spell

See also:

03 Nov 02 | Entertainment
03 Nov 02 | Entertainment
03 Nov 02 | Entertainment
27 Sep 02 | Entertainment
12 Sep 02 | Entertainment
25 Oct 02 | Entertainment
10 Feb 03 | Entertainment
11 Dec 01 | Harry Potter
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