Ralph Fiennes to Play Voldemort in Next ‘Potter’

AP – Fiennes to Play Voldemort in Next ‘Potter’

He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named has been named. Ralph Fiennes (news), who played memorable evil guys in “Red Dragon” and “Schindler’s List,” has signed on to portray the wicked warlock Voldemort in the next “Harry Potter” movie, Warner Bros. announced Wednesday.

Voldemort is so bad that the magical characters in author J.K. Rowling’s stories do their best not to speak his name aloud. In the first three installments of the saga, a deadly magic spell meant for a baby Harry Potter backfired and deprived him of a body. So only his spirit wrought havoc in “The Sorcerer’s Stone,” “The Chamber of Secrets” and the recent “Prisoner of Azkaban.”
But Voldemort finally returns in the flesh in part four: “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.”

Filming has been under way on “Goblet” since June 25, mainly with star Daniel Racliffe as the boy-wizard, and co-stars Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as his pals Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Fiennes has not yet filmed any scenes. Other additions to the cast include Brendan Gleeson (“Troy,” “The Village” and “Cold Mountain”) as Potter’s new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, the fearsome Mad-Eye Moody, and Miranda Richardson, (“The Crying Game,” “Sleepy Hollow”) as Rita Skeeter, a gossip columnist for a magical newspaper.

The cast also includes Robert Pattinson as Hogwarts student Cedric Diggory, Stanislav Ianevski as Quidditch star Viktor Krum, French actress Clemence Poesy as the heart-fluttering visiting student Fleur Delacour, and Katie Leung as Potter’s love-interest and Quidditch rival Cho Chang.

“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” directed by “Four Weddings and a Funeral” filmmaker Mike Newell, is scheduled for theatrical release in November 2005.

Betsy Newmark terms this “the most important news of the day.” While I wouldn’t exactly go that far, it’s presumably of interest to many. “Captain Ed” Morissey, for example, is concerned:

Don’t get me wrong; Fiennes is a terrific actor and plays villains well when asked. However, despite his powerful performance in Schindler’s List, it’s hard to see how anyone associated Fiennes with the snake-like face of evil that Rowling described in Goblet of Fire. The girls will be swooning over the wrong guy!

Dodd Harris is undaunted by this dilemma, calling the choice “Brilliant.”

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.