Radcliffe takes leave of 'Potter' for 'December'

SYDNEY — Daniel Radcliffe is breaking Hogwarts’ spell with a star turn in “December Boys,” his first project since embarking on Warner Bros.’ “Harry Potter” behemoth five years ago.

Coming-of-age drama, set to lense on the South Australian coast in November, is adapted from Michael Noonan’s novel of the same name.

Radcliffe will play the oldest of four orphans competing for the affections of a childless couple keen to adopt a son. Late ’60s-set drama unfolds at an isolated beach resort, where Radcliffe’s 16-year-old character also has his first love affair.

Eighteen-year-old Teresa Palmer has also been cast.

TV helmer Rod Hardy has shepherded the project through development, which began in 1992 when producer Richard Becker optioned the book.

Marc Rosenberg’s script was ready in 2002, but financing didn’t come together until March 2004 through Australia’s Film Finance Corp., the South Australian Finance Corp. and Germany’s MB 2 Film & Media.

Becker Entertainment’s local distribution guarantee was backed by Becker’s $5.9 million Filmed Entertainment Fund. Becker Films Intl. will sell foreign rights.

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