Faster than a Weasley twin with an Aging Potion, "Harry Potter" star Daniel Radcliffe has grown from child actor to adult thespian, with a non-Potter career in films like "December Boys" and "My Boy Jack" that purposively stress his developing maturity.

Now the 18-year-old superstar is about to make his biggest leap into adulthood yet, according to The New York Times, which reported that Radcliffe is set to portray Dan Eldon, a 22-year-old journalist who was stoned to death during Somalia's Civil War.

Fluent in the African languages of Swahili and Somali, Eldon was among a group of photojournalists dispatched by Reuters to the site of an American-led attack at Mogadishu in 1993. While trying to film the aftermath, he and three other journalists were savagely beaten to death by an angry mob.

Not exactly kid stuff. So how does a developing actor go from invisible black thestrals to Black Hawk down? By not changing a single thing, said Eldon's mother, Kathy, according to the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper.

"He has portrayed a magician for years, and my Dan was a different kind of magician," she told the paper. "There are parallels in the two Dans' lives. Daniel Radcliffe is a poet, he keeps journals and he's half-Jewish. He has a puckishness, sense of humour and energy inside him, which remind me of Dan."

According to the Guardian, "Journey" (based on the title of Dan's posthumously published book, "The Journey Is the Destination") is set to be directed by Bronwen Hughes and scripted by "Shine" writer Jan Sardi. Like "Shine," "Journey" is a somewhat different "coming-of-age story," Kathy said.

"[It's] entertaining, funny, dark at times — but ultimately triumphant," she told the Guardian. "People will leave the cinema feeling inspired, thinking, 'Oh my God, let me start living right now!' It won't be pious. We're not trying to idolise him or make him a hero."

Kathy is hoping to start filming next year in Kenya, which could pose a problem given Radcliffe's already-heavy commitments. The boy wizard is currently filming "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," the blockbuster series' sixth installment, after which he has pledged to bring "Equus" from London's West End to Broadway. Sometime after that, of course, he will be contractually obligated to return to Harry Potter for the final film, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."

Whenever filming starts, Radcliffe will be worth the wait, insisted Kathy, who, according to the Guardian, turned down other actors for the role, including Heath Ledger, Orlando Bloom and Joaquin Phoenix.

"A lot of older actors wanted to play this character, but we resisted because Dan was a boy emerging into manhood. If you're an established leading actor then you're too old for this role," she told the paper. "Daniel Radcliffe is the first time we've found a young enough actor with a global following. We love the way he's a global soul. He's traveled the world and feels comfortable in the world and hasn't been corrupted by Hollywood."

Kathy, who maintains a Hollywood office and whose daughter Amy is married to "National Treasure" director Jon Turtletaub, runs Creative Visions Foundation, a group that supports "people who use media and the arts to inform others about critical social, economic and humanitarian issues," according to the group's Web site. She was unreachable at her office by press time.

Radcliffe's personal publicist was likewise unavailable to confirm her client's involvement in "Journey."

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