CBS News Correspondent Jeffrey Kofman reports the identity of the actor who will play the young boy wizard was announced on the Internet: Daniel Radcliffe, who is known in England for his starring role in a recent BBC adaptation of David Copperfield. Radcliffe will also be seen later this year in the John Boorman film The Tailor of Panama, based on the bestselling novel by John Le Carre.
In contrast, the roles of Harry Potter's best friends are going to show business newcomers: Rupert Grint, 11, and Emma Watson, 10, both of whom have acted in school plays.
"These are magical roles, the kind that come around once in a lifetime, and they required talented children who can bring magic to the screen," said Lorenzo di Bonaventura, president of worldwide theatrical production for Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc.
The producers of David Copperfield knew what they were looking for. "We wanted someone who the audience would love, straightaway without question. I think Daniel is very appealing. He has a lovely, warm face, a lovely smile and a great quality of stillness," said Kate Harwood.
Director Chris Columbus, whose credits include Home Alone and Mrs Doubfire, says the moment the 11-year-old Daniel walked in for his audition, his team knew they had found Harry.
And, having seen his screen test, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling agrees.
Britain's Alan Rickman and Irish actor Richard Harris reportedly have been in talks to play the roles of Professor Snape and headmaster Dumbledore, respectively.
Dame Maggie Smith has emerged in media reports in connection with Harry's transfiguration teacher, Professor McGonagall, and Scottish actor Robbie Coltrane as been linked to the role of Hagrid, the school's groundsman who befriends the young wizard.
Matching the success of the books to the film is going to be the ultimate test.
Production on the movie will start in the next month or so. It's due to open sometime next year.