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Monday, July 23, 2007

Rowling reveals the tears shed over Harry Potter

Potter film breaks record in US

Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe

Actor Daniel Radcliffe denied he was too old to play Harry Potter
The new Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, has taken a record-breaking $12m (£6m) at midnight screenings in the US.

The figure is the most made at the box office for a Wednesday opening midnight run, according to Daily Variety.

The previous record-holder was The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which returned around $8m (£3.9m) in midnight ticket sales in 2003.

Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix opens in the UK on Thursday.

Its early takings were double that of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the previous film in the series, which took $6m (£2.9m) at US midnight screenings in 2005.

'Unique challenges'

Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe told US TV show Larry King Live that acting in the new movie was "some of the hardest stuff I've had to do to date".

"Each film presents its own very unique challenges so it's sort of like playing a different part every time you come back and do it," he said.

Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone

Daniel Radcliffe was chosen to play Harry Potter in The Philosopher’s Stone when he was just 10 years old.
Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

By the time the Chamber of Secrets was released, Radcliffe, 13, had grown used to the limelight.
Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Radcliffe was 15 when The Prisoner of Azkaban came out. Questions were asked about whether he was too old.
Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Following the Goblet of Fire, Radcliffe, then 16, signed up to play Potter in the remaining three films.
Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Radcliffe, who next appears in The Order of the Phoenix, is now 17 and has branched out into theatre.

He added he still had a "long way to go and to develop" as an actor and said: "Hopefully you'll see more of that over the next two films."

The actor said it was not until the third Harry Potter film, the Prisoner of Azkaban, that he knew that acting was something he would "love to do in the long term".

"Before that I was just a kid having fun on a film set, having the time of my life, but not really taking it as seriously as I do now, obviously."

The actor turns 18 on July 23 but he denied he is now too old to play Harry.

"Actors play younger and older than their age all the time so I don't think it should make too much of a difference," he said.

Asked about Harry's first kiss in the new movie, he said: "It's a really sweet, tender moment in the film but it wasn't as big a deal as perhaps everybody thought it might be."

He praised Harry Potter author JK Rowling's writing as "just great, purely fantastic story telling".

"I think the reason the films have been so successful is that we're fortunate to have some of the best source material around," he said.

"What Jo's done with these books is quite incredible, I think," added Radcliffe.

Rowling reveals the tears shed over Potter

Fri Jul 6, 8:56 AM ET

LONDON (Reuters) - Best-selling author J.K. Rowling revealed how she broke down in tears during the completion of her final book in the Harry Potter series.

She also tells interviewer Jonathan Ross how she changed the last word in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" at the eleventh hour.

"When I finished one chapter near the end I absolutely howled," she told the BBC television presenter.
She finished the book alone in a hotel room.

"I was sobbing my heart out -- I downed half a bottle of champagne from the mini bar in one and went home with mascara all over my face. That was really tough."

The Deathly Hallows is the seventh and final book about the schoolboy wizard Harry Potter and his Hogwarts friends.

The plots have taken a darker turn and Rowling has in the past revealed that she would kill off at least two of the main characters.

When asked by the chat show host whether the word "scar" was still the last word in the book, as had been reported, she said: "Scar? It was for ages, and now it's not.

"Scar is quite near the end, but it's not the last word."

Harry Potter has a lightning bolt scar on his forehead as a result of a failed curse by the wicked wizard Lord Voldemort.

Rowling also revealed that the character Harry Potter was "totally imaginary" and not based on anyone.

His red-haired pal Ron Weasley was a lot like her oldest friend Sean though, she confessed.

More than 325 million copies of the first six books have been sold worldwide, helping to turn Rowling into the first dollar-billionaire author.

An all-British cast seemed to be a point of pride for her as she admitted it had been a "hell of an achievement."

Stars who have appeared in the five films, including the latest "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," include Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, Julie Walters, Richard Harris, Imelda Staunton, Alan Rickman and Ralph Fiennes.

The film had its premiere in London this week.

The Deathly Hallows appears on the bookshelves on July 21, but 1.6 million copies have been pre-ordered online.

Rowling joins stars of Harry Potter film

Tue Jul 3, 5:00 PM ET

LONDON (Reuters) - Bestselling author J.K. Rowling joined the young stars of the Harry Potter movies on Tuesday at the London premiere of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," the fifth in the seven-part franchise.

Organizers recreated the atmosphere of the Ministry of Magic, where much of the action in the latest film takes place.

Hundreds of Potter fans, many of them young girls, assembled in Leicester Square in torrential rain and thunder and chanted "Harry, Harry, Harry" to see the teenaged stars on their way into the Odeon Cinema. Some had camped out overnight.

Daniel Radcliffe, who plays the boy wizard, clearly enjoyed the female attention.

"I can't complain. It's rather wonderful, really," he said.

Radcliffe, Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) lead the cast, along with Imelda Staunton, who steals the scenes she appears in as the sinister control freak Dolores Umbridge.

Rowling said she shared the view of many critics that "Phoenix" is the darkest of the Potter films so far.

"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" follows Harry as he gathers a band of fellow magicians at Hogwarts and prepares them for the battle that he knows lies ahead.

It has been described by critics as darker than previous Potter movies, focusing more on the students' inner journeys. Reviews have been mixed, with some critics confessing confusion over the plot.

The London premiere came five days after a red-carpet premiere in Tokyo but is likely to be the biggest of the film's regional launches, with most of the main cast due to attend along with a host of British celebrities.

It kicked off a month-long outbreak of Pottermania, with the release of the seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series set for July 21.

Fans are speculating which characters will die at the end of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" after Rowling said she would kill off at least two of them.

Rowling indicated that the final book would indeed be the last Harry Potter, and, when asked if she had been tempted to change her mind, she said: "No, it is really what it was always planned to be."

More than 325 million copies of the first six books have been sold worldwide, helping to turn Rowling into the first dollar-billionaire author. Online pre-orders for the final installment have already broken records.

Rowling wouldn't kill Harry Potter, would she?

NEW YORK (AP) -- Brace yourselves, Harry Potter fans. No matter how desperate you are for Harry to live, some experts in classic literature and mythology say that finishing off the young wizard would make sense -- in a literary kind of way.

What will happen to Harry at the end of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows"? Only J.K. Rowling knows.

J.K. Rowling has never shied from darkness in her phenomenally successful series -- it started with the murder of Harry's parents, continued through his discovery that an evil wizard was trying to destroy him, and has included pain and torture and the deaths of major characters.

She's already promised two deaths in the seventh and final book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," coming out July 21, and has refused to commit to Harry surviving. But she couldn't kill Harry off, could she? She wouldn't do that, would she?

"If you look at the tradition of the epic hero ... there is this sort of pattern that the hero delivers people to the promised land but does not see it himself," said Lana Whited, professor of English at Ferrum College in Ferrum, Virginia, pointing out examples from King Arthur to Moses to Frodo.

Greek mythology has plenty of examples, like Hercules, who was killed at the height of his strength, said Mary Lefkowitz, a retired classics professor who taught at Wellesley College in Massachusetts.

"There's no long promise of happiness," she said. "You may have brief moments of glory and then the darkness comes."

And don't be fooled into thinking a happy ending is automatic just because the main characters are young, said Anne Collins Smith, assistant professor of philosophy and classical studies at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas.

"Just because it's children's literature doesn't mean it can't have very dark events in it," she said.

Others aren't convinced, saying that Rowling's story about Harry and his adventures is less influenced by classical mythology than it is by other storytelling traditions.

Philip Ray, an associate professor of English at Connecticut College, said Rowling was part of a tradition of British writers like Edith Nesbit, writing stories where children are the focus and have grand adventures.

Since Harry is about to finish his years at Hogwarts, Ray said, "I think it would be very unusual for a book like this to kill off the main character at a time when he's about to graduate from school."

The books are about Harry's development into a young man, Ray said.

"For Rowling to have put Harry Potter through all seven volumes just to kill him off, the point of all development would be wasted," Ray said. "Death strikes me as being the strangest ending of all."

And even though the series has a dark aspect to it, Rowling hasn't set it up in such a way that Harry paying the ultimate price would make sense, said Tim Morris, who teaches English at the University of Texas at Arlington.

"I don't get the sense that J.K. Rowling has set us up for that kind of sacrifice," he said. "The first six books haven't given a sense of that tragedy to me. It's generally hopeful."

Whited acknowledges that reader outrage would be high if Harry died, and that it might seem cruel to younger readers, who aren't familiar with classic literary story arcs.

"I'm sure J.K. Rowling would get some howlers if Harry Potter did not survive," she said.

But even if he lives, don't be surprised if it's a hard-fought victory, she said. Another aspect of the classic hero myth is that even if he wins, it's not without some loss.

"There are always sacrifices, compromises along the way," she said. "If Harry doesn't die, one of his friends will." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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