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What's next for the stars of HARRY POTTER?

It’s been a couple of days since I saw the latest Harry Potter movie, the one with a title so long I’m even more tired of typing it than I am of trying to figure out what the hell it even means (Deathly Hallows? I know it refers to the three brothers who made wishes and got stuff, but if we’re using hallow as a noun here it means “a saint or holy person.” So how are the brothers holy, and if they are, how are they deathly holy? And what other names in the series sound good but make no sense?) Anyhow, I keep seeing the various HARRY POTTER stars pop up on TV and make unexpected appearances in trailers for movies that are not HARRY POTTER. Earlier this week a very energetic and refreshingly down-to-earth Daniel Radcliffe was on “The Daily Show with John Stewart,” promoting his current gig as the star of the Broadway show “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” (in which he sings and dances and talks with an American accent). Tom Felton, who plays Harry’s nemesis, Draco Malfoy, showed up in the trailer for RISE OF PLANET OF THE APES, which ran, coincidentally, before HARRY POTTER.

It got me thinking about where these young actors will go from here. Remember when “Seinfeld” ended? Jerry’s doing just fine and Julia Louis-Dreyfus is hobbling along with the New/Old Christine show, or whatever it’s called, but Jason Alexander will forever be George and until Michael Richards’ unfortunate racist display in 2008 he was known to the world only as Kramer.

Similarly, Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and the other young stars of the series will continue to be haunted by the ghosts of Harry, Ron and Hermione for years to come, if not for their entire lives. The fate of child stars is hardly ever fortuitous, and even the most beloved child actors (Fred Savage, Corey Feldman, Corey Haim) often make it through puberty only to discover their prospects have vanished. What the HP crew has going for them is that they went through puberty over the course of the films, surviving unscathed and with several more HP films in their contracts to boot. But not anymore.

So now that they’re technically adults (Daniel is 22, Emma 21 and Rupert 23) does that mean they stand a better chance of escaping typecasting? On the one hand the answer is emphatically yes. No director in his or her right mind would dare cast any of them in a movie about magic, nor would their agents allow it. Not only will they always have played the more famous magical character, they have their careers to consider. Can you really see Grint or Radcliffe ever accepting the role of a wizard?

Still, it’s impossible to see Felton in the PLANET OF THE APES trailer without thinking, Oh hey, it’s Malfoy. Felton’s roster of upcoming projects includes some unexceptional-looking films – a thriller, a sports flick and a war movie, which are, coincidentally, exactly the kinds of films Grint will be appearing in next. Watson fares better. In addition to her line for the fair trade clothing company People Tree, she’ll be appearing alongside Michael Williams in MY WEEK WITH MARILYN and then in the adaptation of THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER. Radcliffe wisely began his transformation from boy wizard to legitimate actor with his “creditable Broadway debut” in “Equus” and now his performance in “How to Succeed,” which The New York Times gives a “6 out of 10.” He’s already completed filming for the horror/thriller THE WOMAN IN BLACK, but no word on what’s next after that.