(February 21, 2003 – Burbank, CA) – Warner Bros. Pictures’ highly anticipated film “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” will commence principal photography in Leavesden, England on February 24, it was announced today by Jeff Robinov, President of Production, Warner Bros. Pictures. Renowned actors Gary Oldman (“Hannibal”), Timothy Spall (“Nicholas Nickleby”), Michael Gambon (“Gosford Park”), David Thewlis (“Timeline”), Pam Ferris (“Matilda”) and Paul Whitehouse (star of the BBC’s “The Fast Show”) have joined the esteemed ensemble cast of the film, which is being directed by Academy Award nominee Alfonso Cuarón (“Y Tu Mamá También,” “Great Expectations,” “A Little Princess”) and produced by David Heyman, Chris Columbus and Mark Radcliffe. The executive producers of the film are Michael Barnathan (“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone*,” “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”) and Callum McDougall (“Die Another Day”). The screenplay is by Steve Kloves (“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone*,” “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”). In “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” Harry Potter and his friends Ron and Hermione return as teenagers to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for their third year of study, where they delve into the mystery surrounding an escaped prisoner who poses a dangerous threat to the young wizard. “We couldn’t be more excited about ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’ being in the hands of such a relentlessly imaginative director as Alfonso Cuarón and are thrilled about the new actors he has assembled to join our already established cast,” said David Heyman. “To be entrusted with such rich and beloved material, and given the opportunity to collaborate with this extraordinary cast and crew on the next Harry Potter adventure is an honor,” Alfonso Cuarón said. “I look forward to bringing this intricate story to the screen and sharing it with film audiences around the world.” “I’m so proud to have been involved in this truly amazing film series, both as a director and a producer,” added Chris Columbus. “I look forward to seeing it grow as Alfonso and the cast and crew further our imaginations with their truly inspired work.” In “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” Gary Oldman plays Sirius Black, the eponymous prisoner whose escape is thought to pose a great threat to Harry Potter; Michael Gambon plays the role of Professor Dumbledore, Hogwarts’ venerable headmaster; Timothy Spall portrays Peter Pettigrew, an old friend of Harry’s father, James Potter, from their days at Hogwarts; David Thewlis plays Professor Lupin, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor who harbors a mysterious secret; Pam Ferris plays Harry’s overbearing Aunt Marge; and Paul Whitehouse portrays Sir Caddogan, a Knight who becomes the temporary guardian of Gryffindor Tower. Reprising their roles from “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” are Daniel Radcliffe in the title role; Emma Watson as Hermione Granger; Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley; Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid; David Bradley as Argus Filch; Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy; Richard Griffiths as Uncle Vernon Dursley; Robert Hardy as Cornelius Fudge; Alan Rickman as Professor Snape; Fiona Shaw as Aunt Petunia Dursley; Dame Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall; Julie Walters as Mrs. Weasley; and Mark Williams as Mr. Weasley. “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” a Warner Bros. Pictures and P of A production, will be distributed worldwide in 2004 by Warner Bros. Pictures, an AOL Time Warner Company. *Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is entitled Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in Canada, the U.K. and some additional international territories.
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