Third “Harry Potter” Gets New Director

Harry Potter is getting a new leader.

Alfonso Cuaron, the director of the Spanish-language hit Y Tu Mama Tambien, will be taking over the reins from director Chris Columbus for the third Harry Potter installment, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Columbus, who just finished wrapping the second Potter film, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, will act as a producer on Azkaban, which follows the adventures of young wizard-in-training Harry Potter and his steadfast friends Hermione and Ron, as they discover more about Harry’s mysterious past.

All the regular cast members, including Daniel Radcliffe as Harry, will be reprising their roles in Azkaban.

The Harry Potter tales by J.K. Rowling have “captured the imaginations of many people, myself included, and I am so excited to join an amazingly talented cast and crew,” Cuaron told The Associated Press.

Cuaron has had experience adapting literature into films, having directed a stunning remake of the Frances Hodgson Burnett novel A Little Princess, as well as an updated version of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations with Gwyneth Paltrow and Ethan Hawke.

Production on the third movie will begin in England early next year, with the film scheduled for release in summer 2004. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is due for release Nov. 15.