Filmmakers at work on more Potter tales

Friday, November 23, 2001

LONDON -- No sooner had Harry Potter fans caught their first screen glimpse of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry then the cameras were already rolling on the further adventures of the boy wizard and his pals.

And if anybody worried that the filmmakers might lose interest after "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" and "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," rest assured. Screenwriter Steve Kloves has already dug into "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" -- adventure No. 3.

"We are making seven films," producer David Heyman says. "We have the rights to make all of them with Warner's -- we have purchased outright films three and four already."

Storyteller J.K. Rowling, who has promised exactly seven Potter volumes, was reported to have begun writing volume five months ago.

The same team that made "Sorcerer's Stone" is making "Chamber of Secrets," including the three child actors, Daniel Radcliffe, 12; Emma Watson, 11, and Rupert Grint, 13.

Whether the kids can be in all seven movies depends in part on the whims of nature and the speed at which the filmmakers can work.

"We can't very well have Harry Potter with a mustache, can we?" smiled actor Robbie Coltrane, who is playing the giant Hagrid for the second time. Will he be in all seven?

"Nothing's settled on that score," he insists. "I'm doing the next one; we've started."

Director Chris Columbus is trying to be realistic about his wish that the cast remain intact. "I know we're running a marathon because of the kids' ages, so we can't stop for too long or they'll be too old for the roles," he said.

On the plus side is the fact that the kids age a year in each book. On the minus side is the fact that special effects take a long time to film.

"It's probably a fantasy to think I could do all seven books, one a year, and keep the same cast; it would be wonderful," Columbus said.

Besides, Columbus said, he himself may not be able to do all seven.

"I don't think it's possible for me, for a personal situation. I haven't had any time off between the two films," he said.

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