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Monday, 16 October, 2000, 16:07 GMT 17:07 UK
'Pay row' over Potter stars
Daniel Radcliffe
Child actor Daniel Radcliffe signed up for lead role
Child actors making the eagerly awaited film of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone have accused its makers of paying the lowest possible rates, it is reported.


It all got very nasty

Child actor's agent
At least four leading agents are reported to be unhappy with Warner Bros' "heavy handed" treatment of their clients, according to The Independent newspaper.

Two are reported to have already withdrawn children from the 90m film, set to hit British cinemas late next year.

The film giant is said to be exploiting the fact that children are desperate to appear in the adaptation of J K Rowling's best-seller, offering the lowest possible fees for speaking parts and as little as 35 per day for background parts.

According to parents and agents who complained about the rates, Warner Bros said that if they were unhappy there were "5,000 children waiting to do it for nothing".

About 40,000 child actors besieged the Harry Potter website when the film-maker announced a worldwide search for the cast.

'Very distressing'

One agent, whose client was trying for a lead part, said the film-maker refused to consider negotiations on profit share or merchandising.

Another, whose client was also up for a leading role, was told they had to sign the deal before the child would be allowed a screen test.

"It all got very nasty," she told the newspaper. The "horrible" negotiation period had proved "very distressing" for her young hopeful.

Equity, the union for adult actors, says its guidelines suggest child actors should receive half of the adult fee.

But a spokesman said if a child was "an identifiable part of the action" they could receive a leading actor's rate.

Warner Bros have declined to comment on the allegations, saying any contractual agreement is "strictly confidential".

After more than a year of searching 11-year-old Daniel Radcliffe was signed for the lead role in an estimated 200,000 two-film deal. His mother is an experienced casting director.

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