MTV News Exclusive: David Yates To Direct 'Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince'

'I think I have more business with this world and these characters,' says director, who also helmed 'Order of the Phoenix.'

"Harry Potter" fans had to wait until they reached the final pages of "Half-Blood Prince" to learn the titular character's identity — but they can learn the identity of the film's director right now.

In an interview with Sci Fi Wire, "Order of the Phoenix" director David Yates announced that he'll be behind the camera again for the film version of "Half-Blood Prince" — the sixth of the seven books in J.K. Rowling's blockbuster series — some 18 months before the flick is scheduled to hit theaters.

"I am doing 'Half-Blood Prince,' and I'm doing it because I love the [Potter] world, I love the characters," he said. "I think I have more business with this world and these characters."

Warner Bros. representatives confirmed exclusively to MTV News that Yates will return for "Half Blood Prince."

Although each book in the series follows a year in Harry Potter's life — beginning in the summer and concluding at the end of the school year — there is particular continuity between "Order of the Phoenix" and "Half-Blood Prince" (see " 'I Have So Many Questions!' Harry Potter Fans Analyze 'Order Of The Phoenix' Trailer").

After the battle at the Ministry of Magic and his godfather's death at the end of "Phoenix," Harry's stay at his aunt and uncle's house on Privet Drive is the shortest of any of the novels. Furthermore, with the Dark Lord Voldemort's public appearance and open declaration of war on the wizarding world, there is also a tonal continuity unlike those in previous installments. Things are dark for Harry, and they only get darker in "Half-Blood Prince."

Yates credited the story's mood change with inspiring him to sign on for "Half-Blood Prince."

"I've made a kind of tonal shift with the fifth film, which I want to continue and develop into the sixth film," he told Sci-Fi Wire. "And I can see the fifth story evolving into the sixth story in a really interesting way. So I'm on a journey with this material and this world, and I'm keen to complete it."

"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" primarily concerns Harry's tutelage in the Dark Lord's past, and Dumbledore's theory that, in an effort to become immortal, Voldemort has made and hidden six Horcruxes, or vessels that contain parts of his soul.

Along the way Harry must face challenges from longtime rival Draco Malfoy, whose suspect behavior signals trouble for Hogwarts; the Half-Blood Prince, a former student whose spells and history may not be what they seem; and Dumbledore, whose selfless fate will change Harry forever.

"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" opens in the U.S. on July 13.

[This story was originally published at 5:37 p.m. ET on 05.03.2007]

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