Harry Potter’s going to start making magic again next week, and this time he’s fighting bureaucracy as well as evil wizards.
“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” the fifth installment of the films based on J.K. Rowling’s books, will start principal photography Monday at England’s Leavesden Film Studios.
In the film, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) has trouble getting the magical world to believe that evil Lord Voldemort has come back (which is where the fourth film, “Goblet of Fire,” left off). Only Harry’s close friends and a few supporters (including Hogwarts headmaster Professor Dumbledore) take the news seriously, but with the Ministry of Magic officially disavowing the boy wizard’s claims, it’s up to Dumbledore’s newly re-formed anti-evil-wizard league, the Order of the Phoenix, to take matters into its own hands. In the same spirit, Harry forms Dumbeldore’s Army, an underground Defense Against the Dark Arts class.
Imelda Staunton (“Vera Drake”) will play Harry’s nemesis Dolores Umbridge, a Ministry-planted teacher who purposely makes the real defense class as useless as possible by abandoning practical lessons, punishing Harry for speaking the truth, and forbidding students from forming any non-Ministry-approved groups or clubs.
Natalia Tena (“About a Boy”) and George Harris will play Order of the Phoenix members Nymphadora Tonks and Kingsley Shackebolt, who help Dumbledore, the Weasleys, Sirius Black and others figure out what Voldemort’s Death Eaters are plotting. Helen McCrory (“Casanova”) will play one of those Death Eaters, and Sirius’ cousin, Bellatrix Lestrange. Kathryn Hunter will play Dursley neighbor Mrs. Figg (who isn’t exactly a Muggle), and 14-year-old newcomer Evanna Lynch will play a strange Potter ally, the moony Luna Lovegood from Ravenclaw, a role won in an open casting call that attracted 15,000 girls.
Radcliffe prepared for “Phoenix” by meeting with a bereavement counselor so he could understand survivor’s guilt, since his two main relationships in this film — with his godfather Sirius Black and new girlfriend Cho Chang — are grounded in a mutual need to bond with another person after a great, shared loss.
“Sirius is clinging on to James (Harry’s father and Sirius’ best friend) through me, and I’m trying to know my father through him,” Radcliffe said. “The same thing happens with me and Cho. I was the last person there when her last boyfriend, Cedric, was killed.”
Emma Watson and Rupert Grint reprise their roles as Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” which is being directed by David Yates, is due in summer 2007.
For more Potter, check out the feature “No More Child’s Play.”
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