Harry Potter's Newest Teacher: Jim Broadbent To Play Horace Slughorn In 'Half-Blood Prince'

Oscar-winning actor says Hogwarts potion master is 'quite comic.'

The Slug Club just got its leader: Jim Broadbent will play Hogwarts potion master Horace Slughorn in the upcoming "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," the Oscar winner recently revealed to DarkHorizons.com

The former head of Slytherin house, Slughorn is "drawn back out of retirement" by Harry and Dumbledore at the beginning of the novel "because he's got some secrets they need in the battle against the Death Eaters," Broadbent said. Indeed, Harry's quest for a particular memory of Slughorn's is a central mission in the blockbuster sixth novel (see "Daniel Radcliffe Loses It In 'December Boys' Before Getting Back To Harry Potter").

For his part, Slughorn is initially reluctant to reveal details about a seemingly innocent conversation with a young Tom Riddle that centers on Horcruxes, or vessels in which a wizard can imprison part of his soul to keep him immortal. Thinking the damage to be irreversible, Slughorn isn't swayed until Harry confronts him during a particularly emotional scene in Hagrid's cabin.

But despite these dark and tragic undercurrents, the character is "quite comic," insisted Broadbent. "An older man [who wears] tweedy sorts of things."

Part of what makes him comic, of course, is his appearance: Slughorn is described by author J.K. Rowling as a short wizard with a bald head, large belly and an enormous walrus-like mustache. But Slughorn is also something of a professorial groupie, surrounding himself with the best and brightest witches and wizards. As leader of the Slug Club, he has an uncanny knack of picking the Hogwarts students who ultimately go on to accomplish the greatest things.

"He's quite star-struck as a teacher, and he's drawn back into the fold because he likes to notch up celebrity students," Broadbent explained. "He's drawn back by Harry."

Broadbent, who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for "Iris" in 2002, will film "Half-Blood Prince" until "May," the actor told Dark Horizons. The film will open next November.

Check out Daniel Radcliffe discussing Slughorn in the MTV Movies Blog.

Check out everything we've got on "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."

Visit Movies on MTV.com for more from Hollywood, including news, reviews, interviews and more.

Want trailers? Visit the Trailer Park for the newest, scariest and funniest coming attractions anywhere.