Harry Potter stars face future as films draw to close
The first of two movies that wrap up the hugely successful Harry Potter adventures has its world premiere in London on Thursday, leaving its young stars eyeing an uncertain future.
Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, who have played boy wizard Harry and his friends Hermione and Ron for the past decade, admit that making the two parts of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" has been emotional.
Part One premieres Thursday and Part Two is out next July, bringing down the curtain on the film versions of J. K. Rowling's hit children's books which have propelled the three child stars to global fame and fortune.
Plucked from obscurity while still at primary school, Radcliffe, Watson and Grint spent their formative years on set.
Their characters became second skin and the actors admit it is a tough job to leave them behind, even with the help of the millions of pounds they earned from the films, which have so far taken 5.4 billion dollars at the box office.
"It's been a massive part of my life, I'm going to miss kind of everything," Grint, 22, told journalists ahead of the premiere.
Asked what he might do when he no longer has to live and breathe Ron, he joked: "A tattoo sounds quite cool, maybe of Dan's face."
Radcliffe, 21, seems firmly set on acting with a hope of taking up directing at a later date, while Watson is studying a liberal arts degree in the United States and has already forged a path for herself as a fashion model.
But they both admit the future is uncertain, with Watson, 20, saying: "I'm entering a new phase of my life, I feel excited to see what comes next."
Over the past six films, fans have watched Harry and his friends learn their magic at Hogwarts school and battle the growing forces of the evil Lord Voldemort, who killed Harry's parents and seems intent on destroying him too.
In the Deathly Hallows: Part One, the trio leave behind the safety of school and their families to seek out horcruxes, items in which Voldemort has hidden pieces of his soul, so they can destroy them and ultimately bring him down.
Set against the backdrop of a wizarding world increasingly under Voldemort's evil influence, the film focuses on the close friendship between the main characters and builds on the budding romance between Hermione and Ron.
It is the first of two films based on the seventh and final book in Rowlings' series, which have sold more than 400 million copies worldwide, and director David Yates admitted the decision to split the book was controversial.
But he said "it was totally the right thing to do", adding that the decision was creative and not driven by film studio Warner Brothers' desire to make money.
The first part of the book moves relatively slowly and charts the three friends' emotional journey, while the second half involes a huge battle -- an epic struggle between good and evil that will have to wait until Part Two.
Yates said that despite the failure to release a 3D version of Part One in time, he hopes this problem will be resolved for the second part.
"I'd love the last one to be in 3D -- the second one is a big spectacle, it's operatic, it's battles, it's spiders, it's giants, it's dragons. I think it could work," he said.
Rowling has made a fortune out of the books which she wrote as a penniless single mother in the 1990s, and has described finishing the Potter series as "like a bereavement" -- although she had not ruled out taking up her pen again.
However, Watson and Radcliffe show little interest in taking up their roles once again -- although the latter said he might be tempted if ever asked to take on the role of the headmaster of Hogwarts.
"Ten years is enough with one character, but if they offer me Dumbledore's part, I'd think about it," Radcliffe quipped.
© 2010 AFP