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New film about her life holds no magic for Potter author Rowling

IT WILL shed light on the darkest moments of her life, delving into her first marriage and life as a single mother as she struggled to make it as an author in Scotland’s capital city.

But while a new movie about JK Rowling may prove popular with fans, it is unlikely to win favour with the famously private Harry Potter creator herself.

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Strange Magic, a television movie due to start shooting next month without Rowling’s approval, will use the streets of Victoria, Canada, to double for her adopted home city of Edinburgh, London and Portugal.

A little-known actor has been cast to play Rowling’s first husband, Jorge Arantes, and the writer herself will be portrayed by Australian- born Poppy Montgomery, best known as FBI agent Samantha Spade in the US series Without A Trace.

The 45-year-old Harry Potter creator has declined to comment on the film.

Rowling has previously been involved in high-profile lawsuits against writers whose work infringes her own monu- mentally successful series, which has reportedly made her the first dollar-billionaire to earn money through writing.

The new movie will be directed by Paul Kaufman, a London-born filmmaker who splits his time between the UK, US and Canada. His career to date includes mostly straight-to-television films and documentary shorts.

Among actors named so far are Antonio Cupo, who is set to play Rowling’s Portuguese former partner. She met Arantes while teaching English in his home country, but split from him in 1993 after being married for just 13 months. The couple had one daughter during that time.

Montgomery has already drawn criticism from some Potter fans who see her as an unsuitable choice. Very personal criticism has been levelled at her on some fan message boards, with suggestions that she is too glamorous for the role.

Aged just 35, however, she may be able to play a full age range representing the writer from the earliest days of the Potter series to her global stardom today.

The decision to use Canada as a backdrop was also questioned by many aficionados of the wizard world.

State of Victoria film com-missioner Kathleen Gilbert said: “We’re really happy to have them because it’s the first show of a slow year,” she said. “We hope it kicks off our year.”

The Canadian city will also stand in for Portugal and London.

Rowling has spent much of her life in Edinburgh, working on early drafts of the Potter series in cafes.

To give the film an authentic look, the producers are advertising for UK vehicles dating from the 1960s to the mid-1990s. They specifically want an early 1960s’ Ford Anglia, suggesting that Rowling’s childhood in Gloucestershire will feature.

Despite the attempts at authenticity, however, reaction from fans on unofficial Potter website Mugglenet has largely been negative.

“The fact that it’s unauthorised and that they don’t even have [Rowling’s] blessings says a lot,” one typical message read.

“This is just a way to make money since the last film is coming and Harry Potter will be in the news again.”

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