Can 'Harry Potter' Stars Avoid Child Actor Doom?

Young wizards look to avoid future typecasting.

So many young stars have grown up to become tabloid fodder that the very

phrase "child actor" has become a cliché — one that brings to mind

robbery, drug busts, and celebrity boxing. So with the imminent release of

"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" kicking junior wizard-mania back

into high gear, are the kids of the "Harry Potter" series doomed to suffer

the same fate as many of their predecessors?

"I think it's going to develop into years of therapy," Daniel Radcliffe joked

about growing up in front of the world, playing Harry Potter over the course

of the first film and its inevitable sequels. "But I think it's great because

it's never really been seen before, when somebody kinda grows up [on screen]." (Click to see photos from the film.)

"My voice has changed a lot, it's gotten lower," said Rupert Grint, who

portrays Harry's buddy Ron Weasley. "I've gotten a bit taller. I've changed

quite a lot since the first one."

"Who knows how many films I will do, but still to see somebody grow up over a

period of two years is kind of rare," Radcliffe observed. "But I think it's

unique and that's what I like about playing it."

"Luckily, in the books they grow as well and so we've basically grown with

the books," Grint said. "So it hasn't really been a problem."

The "Harry Potter" kids admitted that they may yet become serial killers or

drug addicts — but only in the movies. Though they've all signed on for

2004's "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," based on author JK

Rowling's third novel in the series, they're all itching to grow beyond their

kid wizard roles.

"I'm gonna go straight out and be a villain or something," co-star Emma

Watson said half-jokingly, before adding more seriously, "I [do] want to do

something completely different. I kinda want to do everything. I think I've

had it with the goody-two-shoes look. I want to get into theater or do

something completely different."

"I saw a film last night called 'Punch Drunk Love' with Adam Sandler,"

Radcliffe said, beaming. "I'd like to do something like Adam Sandler's

character. I think it's just a great character to play — somebody with

a serious rage problem."

For his part, Grint doesn't seem too concerned with artsy-fartsy Paul Thomas

Anderson films. Well, at least not the "artsy" part.

"In between 'Harry Potter' one and 'Harry Potter' two I did another film in

England called 'Thunderpants,' about this boy who farts," he said. "I played

this guy who was a complete dork who invented these pants, so that was a

different character from Ron. I want to carry on doing films because I really

enjoy them."

When all three kids and the rest of the "Potter" regulars reunite to begin

work on "Prisoner," it will be minus one important adult presence —

director Christopher Columbus is handing over the reigns to Alfonso


"It's really simple," Columbus explained. "I want to see my own kids for

dinner. In two and a half years I haven't had dinner with my kids [during]

the week.

"I am acting as producer," he promised. "I'm going to try to smooth things

over [with] the transition. So these kids — Rupert, Dan and Emma,

primarily — and the other kids come on to the set and they have the

same kind of experience. You know, you don't want Oliver Stone directing a

'Harry Potter' movie, [coming] in [and] screaming at the kids."

"It's going to be OK because it's not like Chris is going forever," Watson

said. "He's going to hang around and kind of bring (Cuarón) into it. And

he'll still be there, just not as much."

"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" hits theaters November 15.

— Ryan J. Downey, with additional reporting by Iann Robinson