- The Washington Times - Monday, November 12, 2001

LONDON The makers of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" were accused by one of the film's stars yesterday of penny-pinching with the mostly British cast.
Zoe Wanamaker, who plays the games mistress Madam Hooch, has chosen the week of the film's release in both Britain and the United States to describe Warner Bros. as "notoriously mean," calling the pay "terrible."
Mrs. Wanamaker, 52, whose late director father Sam was forced to leave Hollywood in the McCarthy era, said: "I don't think any of the actors have done well out of it."
Her outburst came only days after journalists were denied the chance to speak to another outspoken cast member, Richard Harris.
Other reports said Daniel Radcliffe, 12, the schoolboy who played Potter, first was offered more than $100,000 for the original film and more than $170,000 for the first sequel. Equity, the actors' union, intervened; his new terms easily should make him a millionaire.
Mrs. Wanamaker, a U.S. citizen, has spent 25 years acting with, among others, the Royal Shakespeare Company and performing at the National Theatre in Britain. Her performance in Sophocles' "Electra" in 1999 won her a Broadway Tony nomination.
The actress said she was so insulted by the pay that she declined a deal for three Potter films. She added: "If they want me for a second, they will have to up their rates."
While declining to elaborate on her salary, Mrs. Wanamaker said it was less than her earnings from "Gormenghast," the British Broadcasting Corp.'s adaptation of Mervyn Peake's gothic trilogy.
Press conferences at the 15th-century Knebworth House, where much of the film was shot, were so carefully controlled that when a journalist tried to speak alone with Mr. Harris, Warner staff remonstrated with him, hauling him away, even though the actor appeared happy to chat.
Mr. Harris, 71, who plays Dumbledore but has never read a Potter book, is another straight-talker. Asked why he took the role, he replied: "Who knows? It's a job. I don't go to movies. I hate movies. They are a waste of time. I could be in a pub having more fun talking to idiots rather than watching idiots perform."
Unlike Mrs. Wanamaker, he has secured a profit-sharing deal that will make him a fortune.
"All I knew is that they kept offering me the role, and the more I turned them down the more money they offered me," he said.
Mr. Harris, who also was offered a part in the rival "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, held out for a share of the movie's massive merchandising profits.
As a result, he is contracted to appear at press conferences. To most actors, giving interviews is a chore.
But Mr. Harris, with his Old Testament-prophet look, lit up media interviews with his remarks and his garb: an old blue woolen hat and a long overcoat that looked as if it were ready for the charity shop.
Mrs. Wanamaker said all the actors have been "cyber-scanned" so that their roles can be replicated on computer games. She said: "It's bad form. Even the costume designer who came up with these amazing creations will get no residuals. It's shocking and disgraceful."
Residuals are secondary payments when films are released on video, digital video discs and games. These are given to American actors, but not performers from Britain. Equity is engaged in talks with Warner Bros. over how much those who take part in the second Potter film will receive from "ancillary windows." The studio is said to have made a substantial offer.


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