Studio wizards find actor to play Harry Potter

— The big screen has found its Harry Potter: 11-year-old British actor Daniel Radcliffe.

Daniel will play the boy wizard in the movie adaptation of "Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone," due in theaters next year.

Daniel portrayed young David in a recent BBC adaptation of "David Copperfield." He also appears in the upcoming John Boorman movie "The Tailor of Panama."

Director Chris Columbus and producer David Heyman said Monday they also have cast two British newcomers to play Harry's best friends at Hogwarts school. Ten-year-old Emma Watson will play Hermione Granger and 11-year-old Rupert Grint will play Ron Weasley. Both have acted in school plays.

The casting call for Harry and other characters from J.K. Rowling's best-selling books had children from Britain and elsewhere sending in audition tapes to Warner Bros.

"We saw so many enormously talented kids in the search for Harry," Columbus said in an announcement on Warner's Harry Potter Web site. "The process was intense and there were times when we felt we would never find an individual who embodied the complex spirit and depth of Harry Potter. Then, Dan walked into the room and we all knew we had found Harry."

The Potter books follow the exploits of an 11-year-old boy who discovers he inherited magical powers from his parents, a pair of wizards killed by a powerful enemy.

The fourth installment of Harry's adventures, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," led to long lines of fans at bookstores when it was published last month.


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