Who can now imagine the contemporary cultural space without Harry Potter? the most dominant all-time publishing phenomenon (over 250 million copies sold worldwide), AND an impossibly successful film series ($3.5 billion in worldwide box office).
Yes, J.K Rowling’s boy wizard and his milieu walk with massive feet across our collective landscape of the imagination.
With the fourth film, last year’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, still chugging along nicely (already the eighth biggest grosser of all time worldwide), and the DVD coming in March, Warner Brothers announced that the juggernaut rolls on with principal photography beginning February 6 at Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire, England, on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the fifth film adaptation in the series.
Directed by British filmmaker David Yates (The Girl in the Café, Sex Traffic, State of Play), Order of the Phoenix is produced by series producer David Heyman and David Barron, from a screenplay by Michael Goldenberg (Where the Wild Things Are, Peter Pan, Contact).
Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson reprise their roles as the teen wizard trinity of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. New to the cast this time around are Imelda Staunton (Nanny McPhee, Vera Drake) as Dolores Umbridge, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher; George Harris (The Interpreter, Black Hawk Down) as Kingsley Shacklebolt; Helen McCrory (Casanova, Enduring Love) as Bellatrix Lestrange; Natalia Tena (Mrs. Henderson Presents, About a Boy) as Nymphadora Tonks; Kathryn Hunter (All or Nothing, Orlando) as Mrs. Figg.
14 year-old newcomer Evanna Lynch emerged from among over 15,000 hopefuls at an open casting call to win the role of Luna Lovegood, a Ravenclaw student who becomes an important ally of Harry, Ron and Hermione’s as they take matters into heir own hands in the fight against the re-embodied Voldemort.
As Harry and pals return for their fifth year of study at Hogwarts, they discover that much of the wizarding community is in denial about the return of He Who Must Not Be Named (where did that dude’s nose go?). Fearing that Hogwarts’ headmaster Dumbledore is lying about Voldemort’s return in order to undermine his power and take his job, the Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge, appoints a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher to keep an eye on Dumbledore and the Hogwarts students, but Professor Dolores Umbridge’s Ministry-approved course of defensive magic leaves the young wizards woefully unprepared to defend themselves against the dark forces threatening them and the entire wizarding community!
At the prompting of Hermione and Ron, Harry convenes a small group of students, “Dumbledore’s Army,” whom he instructs in REAL, street level Dark Arts defense, preparing the courageous young wizards for the extraordinary battle that lies ahead. And your little dog too.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will be released in 2007.