Daniel Radcliffe doesn't need a crystal ball to see that Harry Potter and his magical ways soon will make him the world's most famous 11-year-old.
The English boy with bookish spectacles and tousled hair beat thousands of hopefuls for the coveted movie role as the young wizard whose adventures, in four books by J.K. Rowling, have taken schoolchildren by storm.
Warner Bros. Pictures is stumping up a reported $126-million (U.S.) to bring Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone to the big screen, so Daniel is already is getting a taste of media glare. But he has a terrible confession to make.
"A lot of other boys in the class know that I've only read the first one or two and these boys are total fanatics," he said Wednesday. "They're angry because I have read the least Harry Potter in my class."
Flanked by Emma Watson, 10, and Rupert Grint, 11 - who will play Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, Harry's best friends at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry - Daniel was a bit tongue-tied at times but the grin never left his face.
"I cried and was really excited," he said of the moment he landed the part. "I think I'm a bit like Harry because I'd like to have an owl."
Producer David Heyman and director Chris Columbus said the film could be the first of a series but declined to reveal the budget.
The film is due for release in November, 2001, Warner Bros. said Monday. Most of the shooting will be done in the London area.
Maggie Smith will play Harry's art teacher Professor McGonagall and heavyweight Scottish actor Robbie Coltrane will take the part of Hagrid, the school's groundskeeper who befriends the young wizard.
Daniel played David Copperfield in a BBC production of the Charles Dickens masterwork last year and will be seen later this year in the John Boorman film based on the best-selling novel by John Le Carre.
But he had only one word to describe the prospect of becoming truly famous as the lovable young wizard - "Cool."
Rowling's first three books have sold more than 30 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 31 languages.
The fourth tome published - Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire - had 640 pages, an initial print run of 5.3 million copies and has disappeared from bookstore shelves in record numbers.
Heyman said he knew Daniel's father but came across the young star by chance at the theatre one evening.
There was no question in my mind he was Harry Potter," he said. "I watched the play but I could not take my eyes off Dan."