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The BBC's Mike London
"They were all bowled over by being asked to act in the film"
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Wednesday, 23 August, 2000, 18:49 GMT 19:49 UK
Shy Harry meets the press
Chris Columbus with Daniel Radcliffe
Meet the star: Chris Columbus with Daniel Radcliffe
The boy who will play wizard Harry Potter in the film of JK Rowling's novels has met the world's press - and admitted he has read only two of the books.

Daniel Radcliffe, 11, said he still had two of Rowling's novels left to read - to the horror of his jealous classmates, who are all avid Harry Potter readers.

Daniel Radcliffe
Shy: Daniel has some catching-up to do
Asked how big a fan of the books he was, the shy youngster said: "Oh dear, a long time ago, I read the first two books, and since then I've forgotten everything about them."

He admitted at the London press conference that he was now reading the other two books to catch up on events.

"A lot of the other boys in my class know I've read the first one or two books, and they've read all of them and they're a bit angry because I have read the least Harry Potter books," he said.

Daniel appeared alongside his Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone co-stars Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, who play his schoolfriends Hermione and Ron.

UK title

The film will stay true to the title of the original title of the book in the UK, but in the US it will be known as Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone, which is the book's American title.

Daniel was the most nervous of the three, and said he cried when he found out he got the part - but added he was excited about the part, and that being famous would be "cool"

Emma Watson
Emma, 10, was the most confident of the threesome
"I went on the broomstick yesterday and flew around a big room, and that was really fun," he said.

"I think I'm a tiny bit like Harry because I'd like to have an owl."

Emma Watson, 10, acted as if she was an old hand with the press - despite having acted only in school plays before.

"Normally, every night my daddy reads two chapters - at the moment we're on the fourth book but we haven't yet completed it," she said.

Mystic Meg

Red-headed Rupert Grint, 11, said he was halfway through the fourth book - and was well suited to playing Ron.

"I think I'm scarily like my character," he said.

Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe
Preparing for stardom: Emma, Rupert and Daniel
"I live in a family of seven and have a red-headed sister."

Asked about his previous roles, he said his most memorable part was as a British astrologer.

"I've dressed up as Mystic Meg, and I've done a lot of raps."

The film's producer, David Heyman, read a message from JK Rowling which said she was delighted to have a "screen Ron and Hermione who can bicker as if they've been doing it all their lives".

He said the production team was staying in "constant contact" with the Edinburgh-based author.

Home Alone experience

Director Chris Columbus said his experiences with Macaulay Culkin when he made Home Alone in 1989 made him determined to look after his child stars - and appealed to the media to "let them get on with their lives".

Culkin, now 20, found himself at the centre of family problems which led to him "divorcing" from his parents.

"When I got involved with the first Home Alone I didn't know what I was letting myself in for with child actors," Colombus explained.

Rupert Grint
Mystic Meg fan: Rupert Grint plays Ron
"I learned a big lesson and I was concerned that when we dealt with the children, we should make certain the parents were wonderful because I felt the need to protect these kids against the onslaught of publicity."

Columbus said he was persuaded to take up the Potter job by his daughter, who cajoled him into reading the books.

"Upon the second book I was obsessed. I had to audition for the job - it was like being an actor," he smiled.

The three children will join a cast including Dame Maggie Smith as Professor Minerva McGonagall, Robbie Coltrane as friendly giant Hagrid, and Richard Griffiths as Harry's uncle Vernon Dursley.

Filming will mostly take place in London, and the movie is due for a US release in November 2001.

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See also:

21 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Young Daniel gets Potter part
06 Jul 00 | Entertainment
The Potter phenomenon
21 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Potter star unfazed by stardom
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