Daniel Radcliffe has signed up to star as the eponymous Harry Potter in the final two film versions of the much-loved literary series.

The 17-year-old will reprise the boy wizard role he has played in the first four films and the upcoming Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which is released in the UK on July 13th.

Eight days later the final book, subtitled the Deathly Hallows, will be released worldwide.

Producers Warne Bros confirmed that the actor, who was a virtual unknown before being cast as Harry in 2001, will begin shooting the penultimate Harry Potter film, The Half Blood Prince, in September this year ahead of a 2008 release.

The film version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is not expected to hit cinemas until 2010, however, by which time Radcliffe will be 21.

There had been fears that the actor could have alienated fans of Jk Rowling's books by playing a disturbed stable boy who blinds horses in Peter Shaffer's play Equus.

But Radcliffe has earned positive reviews for his West End debut.

The Harry Potter books have sold more than 325 million copies worldwide, with the films grossing more than $3.5 billion (£1.8 billion) at the global box office.

03/03/2007 12:18:40