“Harry Potter” Kids May Call It Quits

The search may soon be on for a new Harry Potter.

In an interview with Reuters Tuesday, director Chris Columbus speculated that the three young stars of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and the upcoming Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets may decide to hang up their magic wands after the third feature film installment, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

“If I were a betting man I’d say they’ll probably stop after three,” Columbus told Reuters about 12-year-old Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), also 12, and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), 13.

The talented trio are set to do Prisoner of Azkaban, which begins filming next March and is due to be released June 2004. Based on the third novel of the hugely popular J.K. Rowling seven-part series, the film will be directed by director Alfonso Cuaron (Y Tu Mama Tambien).

Columbus gave up the directing reins, claiming he was worn out from directing the two powerhouse films back-to-back. Sorcerer’s Stone alone has grossed more than $965 million. And he believes the youngsters will also be ready for a break from the rigors of making three major motion pictures in a short span of time.

“If they ask my opinion, my advice would be to go back to being kids,” said Columbus.

When asked at a news conference Tuesday about his future as the bespectacled Potter, Radcliffe replied, “We’re all definitely doing the third film. After that, who knows?”

Rowling, who has written a fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, is nearing completion on the fifth installment, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.