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Busy Times At Hogwarts'

The new headmaster?

Finally, the spell of petrification has been lifted from J.K. Rowling's editor, and the powers that be at Scholastic Press can breathe a sight of relief.

Reports have come in that Rowling has completed the fifth book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Due for publication on June 21st, the book is said to be a third again as long as Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which makes it well over a thousand pages.

Can Harry's fans wade through that much? Probably so, and with smiles on their faces. At this rate, book six, Harry Potter and the Compleat Encyclopedia, will be the longest work of fiction ever published.

As for the third film, ...and the Prisoner of Azkaban, a lot of casting rumors have cropped up over the last couple of weeks, and we'd be remiss if we didn't report them.

Aint It Cool News reports that Timothy Spall has officially joined the cast as Peter Pettigrew, a character whose presence in the novel I can't remember at all. Time to dust off the book. A long-time character actor in England, Spall has a small but crucial role in the recent Nicholas Nickleby.

But it's the rumors that most people are concerned about.

Though Warner Brothers claims that nothing is official, it looks like Michael Gambon will be taking over the role of Albus Dumbledore from the late Richard Harris. You know his face even if you don't know his name, as he has done memorable turns in Sleepy Hollow and as Robin Williams' military uncle in Toys. Look for an official announcement soon.

A Gary Oldman fansite also claims that tremendous actor has taken a role. Internet speculation focuses on Sirius Black, the titular Prisoner of Azkaban, but nobody seems to be talking. Yet. With production tentatively set for late March under director Alfonso Cuaron, somebody had better start confirming soon.


Derek McCaw

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