Michael Gambon is to take the part of Professor Dumbledore in the next Harry Potter film.
Gambon was seen recently in The Lost Prince
The British actor takes over the role from Richard Harris, who died last year.
Gary Oldman, Timothy Spall and The Fast Show star Paul Whitehouse will also
join the cast of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which begins filming next week.
Gambon, 62, is one of the UK's most respected character actors and has won a Bafta for the last three years in succession.
The role of Professor Dumbledore is a central and much-loved character in the Harry Potter stories.
Richard Harris played a central character
The replacement for Harris in the hit film series had caused much speculation.
Harris died after losing his fight against cancer, aged 74.
He had just finished work on the second Harry Potter movie, Chamber of Secrets, when he became ill.
Gambon will take up the Harry Potter story with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
In this episode, Harry comes across the sinister wizard Sirius Black, who escapes from the high security wizard prison of Azkaban and then tries to kill the 13-year-old boy.
The film will be directed by Mexican Alfonso Cuaron, who made the critically acclaimed Y Tu Mama Tambien.
Gambon's role in the Harry Potter series could potentially see the actor signed up for five movies in the proposed series of seven, matching the number of books written by JK Rowling.
The work comes as part of a highly successful acting career for Gambon in film, TV and theatre.
His recent movie credits include Gosford Park and Charlotte Gray.
On TV, he recently starred in the BBC drama The Lost Prince.
But on the small screen, Gambon is best known for his role in Dennis Potter's menacing and imaginative TV series The Singing Detective.
Gambon played the lead role, a man crippled with psoriasis.