Branagh Casts Spell for "Potter" Sequel
by Josh Grossberg, 24 Ocotber 2001
To Potter or Not to Potter. That is the Question.
Kenneth Branagh, famed for bringing Shakespeare to the masses by
directing and starring in such films as "Henry V", "Much Ado About
Nothing" and, most recently, "Love's Labour Lost", is giving up the Bard for a teaching gig at Howarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Muggles will be delighted to learn that the 40-year-old British
thespian has signed on for the role of the charming but vain and
ultimately ineffectual Professor Gilderoy Lockhart in "Harry Potter and
the Chamber of Secrets", the second installment of author J.K.
Rowling's popular Harry Potter series.
Playing a character like Lockhart shouldn't be difficult for Branagh,
who specializes in playing flamboyantly flawed characters (see his
performance as Iago in "Othello", Dr. Victor Frankenstein in "Mary
Shelley's Frankenstein" and the vengeful prince in "Hamlet", just to
name a few).
Lockhart is a publicity-loving,
designer-robe-wearing wizard who's as well
known for the spell he casts on his female
students (including Harry's pal Hermione) as
he is for his shameless self-promoton (he
makes his students read his breathless
books on his battles with magical creatures).
He joins the staff at Hogwarts as Harry's
second-year Defense Against the Dark Arts
teacher just as a terrible monster haunts the
school halls, leaving students literally
Naturally, it's up to Harry, Ron and
Hermione to solve the mystery.
Branagh is the second high-profile Brit who has been attached to the
role of Lockhart. Early, unconfirmed reports said producers were
courting Hugh Grant for the part.
In addition to Branagh, the sequel will return much of the cast from
the original Harry Potter. Daniel Radcliffe is back to play the
lightning-scarred hero, as are Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as best
buddies Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, respectively.
Rounding out the cast will be the usual Potter suspects: Professor
Severus Snape (Alan Rickman), Hogwarts Headmaster Albus
Dumbledore (Richard Harris), Deputy Headmistress Professor
Minerva McGonagall (Maggie Smith) and, of course, gameskeeper
Robeus Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane).
Branagh, who most recently appeared in "Rabbit-Proof Fence" for
director Philip Noyce (Patriot Games), is slated to start work on the
Warner Bros. sequel November 16--the same day Harry Potter and
the Sorcerer's Stone sweeps into theaters.
Branagh Brings Wizardry to Next Role
LONDON (AP) -- Kenneth Branagh will swap Shakespeare for Harry Potter when he takes the role of flamboyant witchcraft professor Gilderoy Lockhart in the next Potter film.
The 40-year-old actor-director, best known for bringing Shakespeare to new film audiences, will play the publicity-hungry teacher at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in "Harry Potter And the Chamber Of Secrets," which is to begin filming in December, spokeswoman Sara Keene said Thursday.
He will join the existing teaching staff, whose first adventures with their magical students are depicted in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," which opens in the United States on November 16.
From Empire Online
Branagh Enrols At Hogwarts
The hoohah over casting egotistical Dark Arts teacher Gilderoy Lockhart has raged long and hard. We've seen proposed names flying back and forth for months as the rumour mill desperately tried to put a face to the wand. But, now that the dust has settled, Kenneth Branagh has emerged victorious and has signed up to play the part in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Lockhart is a charming, if somewhat self-absorbed, wizard who is enlisted to teach defence against the dark arts at Hogwarts and becomes the subject of a crush by Harry’s friend Hermione.
While Kenneth wasn't the first name that sprang to Empire Online's mind when searching for a suitable wizard, we have to say that we think it's a righteous choice. While always putting on a good show as one of the Bard's protagonists, Branagh can camp it up with the best of them -
did you see Wild Wild West? - and will doubtless make fans proud in next year's Potter sequel.
Back to the Gilderoy Lockhart page