Daniel Radcliffe kicks off a star-studded reading of the first Harry Potter book

  • Celebrities including Stephen Fry and David Beckham will read chapters from the book as part of the #HarryPotterAtHome campaign.
  • The series’ author, J.K. Rowling, aims to spread some magic during the coronavirus pandemic.
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To help children -- and perhaps adults -- cope with confinement measures, Daniel Radcliffe, the actor who played the beloved wizard character in the books' cinematic renditions, voiced the first chapter of the series' premiere novel, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone." (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP)

Surprise! Daniel Radcliffe is returning to his roots as the boy in the cupboard under the stairs.

On Tuesday, Radcliffe — who captivated audiences as Harry Potter for a decade on the big screen — kicked off a star-studded relay-reading of the J.K. Rowling book that started it all: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, known as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the US.

Stephen Fry, David Beckham and Dakota Fanning have also signed on to recite chapters from Rowling’s seminal work, as have Eddie Redmayne and Claudia Kim from the Fantastic Beasts series; and Noma Dumezweni, who originated the role of Hermione in the popular stage production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

 

Radcliffe, whose final outing as the Boy Who Lived hit cinemas in 2011, lent his famous voice to Chapter 1 on Tuesday. All 17 chapters of The Philosopher’s Stone will be read by familiar faces in the coming weeks.

“We’ve got a treat for you,” read a Twitter announcement from the Wizarding World shared by Rowling.

“From today, amazing friends of the Wizarding World are going to take turns reading Harry Potter book one. And to start us off with Chapter 1, we think you’ll agree we have the perfect narrator.”

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The goodwill stunt is part of a larger #HarryPotterAtHome campaign launched by Rowling in an effort restore some magic amid the coronavirus crisis. Last month, the author unveiled a new Harry Potter website, complete with videos, puzzles, illustrations, quizzes and more activities to entertain quarantined families.

“Who better to lend their voice to Chapter One than the prolific actor who portrayed Harry in all eight films?” reads a message from the Wizarding World team.

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“As the figurehead of the Harry Potter films for so many years, we hope you love watching this incredibly special video of Daniel revisiting Harry’s adventure — this time not on a film set, but through the pages of the first book.”

You can watch Radcliffe read the entire first chapter of The Philosopher’s Stone at wizardingworld.com/chapters/reading-the-boy-who-lived and listen on Spotify, which will release audio-only versions of the readings as they come out.