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New Characters & Cast Members
In addition to developing the teen identities of the central cast, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban also introduces several mysterious new characters, played by a host of Britain's finest and most respected actors. 

To play escaped convict Sirius Black, the man accused of leading to the murder of Harry Potter's parents, the filmmakers turned to versatile actor Gary Oldman. "Gary is one of the finest actors of his generation, and one of the brightest, most sensitive and caring actors I've ever worked with,” producer David Heyman praises. "Whenever you see Gary in a film, he is compelling, dynamic and dangerous. But there is a vulnerability that lies within him. These qualities of danger and warmth are vital to the role of Sirius Black, and Gary very powerfully conveys all of the character's emotional complexities.”

"The whole story is based around Sirius Black, the only prisoner to ever escape Azkaban prison, who everyone believes is trying to kill Harry,” Alfonso Cuarón notes. "But Black is a character with many layers. It was an extremely challenging role to play, even for an actor of Gary's calibre.”

"I'm such a huge fan of Gary Oldman's, when I met him I was absolutely terrified,” Daniel Radcliffe admits. "But he's such a cool guy, and he makes you feel very comfortable.”

For Oldman, it was the chance to work with Alfonso Cuarón that initially attracted him to the role. "Alfonso brings such passion and heart to his films,” Oldman observes, "which is partly a reflection of his Latin American background, the infusion of culture and music.”

Like Sirius Black, duality is a key aspect of Hogwarts' newest Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor, Remus Lupin, played by David Thewlis (Timeline, Naked, The Big Lebowski). "Lupin is very avuncular and likeable, but he also has this dark secret,” Thewlis says. "He's one of the last surviving links between Harry and his parents, along with Sirius Black and Professor Snape. So Lupin is a great comfort to Harry, which was part of the appeal of the role. Many of the scenes I have are with Daniel – no special effects, just conversation – which was very rewarding for both of us.” 

"David brings a great warmth to the character of Lupin,” says Cuarón. "He is like Harry's elder brother, the person who offers advice and support without being patronizing, but he has demons himself. David brings tremendous wisdom and warmth to the role, but it is never simply black and white.” 

Michael Gambon (Sleepy Hallow, Gosford Park, Angels in America) joins the cast as Hogwarts' esteemed Headmaster Albus Dumbledore, a role played by the late Richard Harris in the previous two Harry Potter films. "People often ask me what it's like to be taking over from Richard Harris and I liken it to King Lear,” Gambon relates. "So many actors have played Lear, and none of us worry about what the previous actor has done; you just take the part and make it your own.”

Gambon does play tribute to Harris in his own subtle way. "I am originally Irish, and on my first day of shooting, the Irish accent just came out. It seemed natural. Alfonso liked it, so I kept it. I think of it as my homage to Richard.”

"What Michael brings to the film is really exceptional,” Heyman says. "Dumbledore is eccentric with a twinkle in his eye, and Michael has those qualities. On the one hand, he acknowledges Richard with the Irish accent, but he also very much makes the character his own.” 

The role of the extremely near-sighted yet prescient Professor of Divination Sibyll Trelawney is played by multi-talented actress-writer Emma Thompson. "Because Trelawney is always looking beyond the present into the future, she is completely incapable of seeing what's right in front of her,” Thompson reveals. "She's very neurotic and there is something faintly helpless about her, but underne

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