WB readies ‘Harry’ herald

Lead a secret, but Hedwig cast: Ook to star

LONDON — Warner Bros. has told fans to expect an announcement today about its eagerly awaited “Harry Potter” film.

The movie studio is expected to reveal the identity of the young actor chosen to play the coveted title role in the movie based on the hugely successful children’s books by J.K. Rowling.

One 13-year-old has already been named as the filmmaker’s choice by London’s Evening Standard newspaper and on the Internet.

“We are not able to confirm or deny this speculation,” a spokeswoman for the “Harry Potter” production team said Friday. “There will be an announcement Monday.”

Director Chris Columbus is due to begin shooting the film version of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” — the first book in the series — in Britain in September or October.

The studio put out a casting call several months ago saying it was looking for British children between nine and 11 to play the roles of Harry Potter and his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.

There has been much speculation about the cast, with Britain’s Alan Rickman and Irish actor Richard Harris among the names mentioned in the media.

The only confirmed cast member is Ook, the white owl who tours British schools with the Natural History Lecture Service. Ook will play Hedwig, the snowy white owl who delivers mail for Harry.

The four books about Harry’s adventures at Hogwarts school of wizardry and witchcraft have proved one of the biggest successes in modern publishing and have made author J.K. Rowling a multimillionaire.

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