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More Potter magic

RIGHT now he's probably one of the most famous kids in the world.

Harry Potter fever has returned with the release of the second film in the series, Harry Potter and the Chamber Of Secrets, on Friday, November 15. There is little doubt that the young wizard is likely to work his magic on millions of cinema-goers all over again. Eileen Condon meets the undoubted stars of the films.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets premiere - Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) and Emma Watson (Hermione Granger)_380 (copy)

RIGHT now he's probably one of the most famous kids in the world. But even though Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe is enjoying magical success, his feet are very firmly on the ground.

The 13-year-old whose wizard role in last year's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone helped the movie become one of the most successful of all time, insists he's still just a normal schoolboy.

'My life has changed surprisingly little. I'm recognised sometimes when people come up to me on the street, but that's really fun and it's really cool because they just talk about the f ilm and it's really great to hear what they have to say,' he beams.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets premiere - Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter)_250 (copy)

'But I do normal kids' stuff all the time. I have pizza parties all the time which is when I get some friends round to eat pizza and just be lazy boys, which is fun,' he adds, chuckling.

The same applies to his famous but very down to earth young co-stars Emma Watson, who plays Hermione Granger and Rupert Grint, who appears as Ron Weasley.

'I now have an action figure of myself in the shops, but apart from that I'm just trying to keep my life as normal as possible,' laughs 12-year old Emma.

'I get recognised too sometimes,' chips in 14-year-old Rupert. 'I've tried different disguises and stuff but it doesn't work, apart from that not much has really changed for me either.'

But despite taking their new-found fame in their stride, all three youngsters can't disguise the fact they're thrilled to bits to be back on the big screen.

The trio reprise their roles for the latest Harry Potter instalment, Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, which also features a galaxy of stars including Kenneth Branagh, John Cleese, Robbie Coltrane, Maggie Smith and the late Richard Harris.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets premiere - Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) _250 (copy)

This time, the three young wizards face new challenges in their second year at Hogwarts when another dark and dastardly force starts to terrorise the school. It all makes for some pretty eyepopping stunts and it's clear the youngsters couldn't wait to get back in the thick of the action.

'The action scenes were so much fun,' enthuses Daniel. 'There's one when I'm hanging out of a car window, and that was actually me. I was hanging out like 25 or 30 feet up in the air and it was re-ally cool, like being on a fun fair ride, especially when one of the tree branches shot straight through the window between Rupert and I. It was amazing. I don't think we ever stopped laughing. I do as many of the stunts as possible and it's a lot of fun.'

The three young stars could also barely contain their excitement at the chance to appear alongside British actor Branagh, who makes his first appearance in the Harry Potter series as vain Professor Gilderoy Lockhart.

'It's quite intimidating when you're about to meet him,' says Daniel of the award-winning star.

'He's this unbelievable Shakespearean actor, but then you actually meet him and he's like one of the nicest guys I've ever met, so it's just an honour to work with him.'

'He is really down-to-earth,' agrees Emma. 'He's a really, really nice guy and I think he's portrayed that character of Gilderoy Lockhart perfectly. Really cheesy, just really funny. My favourite scene is the one where I'm with him and lots of my friends, it was a really good scene.'

As well as feeling at home with their famous co-stars, all three youngsters admit they're not a million miles removed from their on-screen characters.

'I think me and Harry are very alike,' confesses Daniel. 'As I keep on reading the books I think I keep discovering more stuff about Harry that I have in common with him. I think we're both very curious - sometimes too much so - and that kind of maybe gets us into trouble sometimes,' he admits sheepishly.

In fact, the trio are so comfortable with their characters, they say they'll carry on playing them indefinitely.

'I'd love to do more of the films,' enthuses Rupert. 'I have a really good time doing them because they're such good fun.'

Daniel agrees: 'Every film takes 10 to 11 months to do so I'm just concentrating on the third one now, def initely,' he explains.

Whatever future Harry Potter instalments might bring them, all three youngsters say they've thoroughly enjoyed their past year in the limelight and, so far haven't experienced any downsides to fame.

'I wouldn't have swapped this experience for anything,' says Daniel 'It's been amazing and I know I've developed as a person. In fact, I think everyone who has worked on these f ilms has grown - even the adults! And the bonds I've formed, particularly with Emma and Rupert, will never be broken.'

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets premiere - Emma Watson (Hermione Granger)_250 (copy)

Emma, displaying a wisdom beyond her years, adds: 'When you take away all the premiers and all the press stuff and all the special effects and take all the frilly stuff off, you kind of just come down to the fact that it's just acting. And that's def initely the best thing for me.

'I'd never done any professional acting before the f irst f ilm and I was extremely nervous and didn't know anyone,' she continues. 'Now I know the people and my surroundings and I know what I'm doing so I feel a lot more relaxed and can have a really good time. I've definitely improved as an actress and feel happier with what I'm doing on screen.'

Rumour has it the rapidly maturing Emma has a romantic liaison in the third Harry Potter movie. Daniel too is now regarded as something of a heart-throb among his own generation. So what about their lovelives off-screen? Not surprisingly, the normally chatty trio suddenly seem a little lost for words.

'I don't know what to say really,' says Rupert turning the colour of his famous mop of red hair. 'I'm f lattered by the fan letters I get - it's really amazing but I don't have like a girlfriend or anything.'

'Me too, yeah,' blushes Daniel. 'Mmm yeah, count me in on that,' stutters Emma.

Which must be music to the ears of their rapidly-growing young fan base.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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