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Last Updated: Monday, 24 May, 2004, 00:44 GMT 01:44 UK
Potter star mobbed at US premiere
Fans of Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry Potter, scream at the premiere of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in New York
Not so much wands and capes as expressions of undying love
Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe was mobbed by a legion of screaming teenage girls as he arrived for the New York premiere of his latest adventure.

"It's astonishing - it's really, really, really scary but it's brilliant," the 14-year-old enthused.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third film in the blockbuster children's series.

Author JK Rowling has amassed a reported $777m (435m) from Potter books, films and merchandise.

'Gratifying'

The Sunday Times Rich List says that Radcliffe himself has overtaken singer Charlotte Church to become Britain's second richest teenager behind Prince Harry.

Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe

But on Sunday night he was more concerned with the hundreds of fans greeting him and his co-stars on the red carpet at the Radio City Music Hall.

"We have worked on the film for 11 months and it's really gratifying that everyone came out to support it. It's amazing," he said.

"And they should support it because it's a really great film," he added.

Even pop singer Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty - himself no stranger to female fans - was impressed by the attention.

"When Harry Potter got out I think you could actually see his hair blow back from the screams," he said.

"They're very excited."

Radcliffe said the boy wizard he plays is older in the latest movie.

Daniel Radcliffe in 2001 and 2004
The boy's growing up - and he says Harry Potter is growing with him
"I'm the same age as Harry Potter so we kind of grow up together," he said.

But although he is rich and famous, he is still not old enough to get out of exams.

He has to concentrate at school before getting stuck into the fourth movie in July, he said.

Films mature

The Potter films have grown up too, said some of the other stars.

In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry and his friends return for their third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

It's evolved to a different level, it's a bit darker
Emma Watson
They are forced to confront a murderous wizard who has escaped from jail.

"It's evolved to a different level. It's a bit darker," said Emma Watson, who plays Hermione Granger.

The other stars on show in New York included Rupert Grint, who plays Ron Weasley, Robbie Coltrane (Rubeus Hagrid) and Alan Rickman (Severus Snape).

The film opens in the UK on 31 May, and around the world on 4 June.

Hints

Meanwhile, author Rowling's newly-launched personal website has received 17 million visitors in its first week.

The site gives fans access to her life and work and has links to pages of news, family snaps and hints about the plot of the sixth Potter book.

On the site, Rowling says: "This is where I can tell the truth about rumours or news stories, where I can share extra information I have not put in the books, where I can give hints and clues about what is going to happen to Harry Potter."

She confirms that work on the sixth book is under way and that the website will contain clues about the plot.

She reveals that she recently dropped into a Potter internet chat room under a false name and gave hints about future plot developments - and was ignored.

Rowling also warns fans against buying copies of her books with forged signatures.




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