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Film turns school into a wizard wheeze

LOCHABER High School in Fort William was transformed into Hogwarts School for Wizards yesterday as 100 pupils took part in auditions for the second Hollywood instalment in the adventures of Harry Potter.

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Warner Brothers has been working with the Highland school since June to make arrangements for pupils to act as extras in the film, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, based on the JK Rowling book. Yesterday, as reality turned into fantasy, they were measured for uniforms and wizard cloaks. The route between Fort William and Mallaig has been chosen as the key setting for the film, and Hogwarts Express, the train which takes Harry to wizard school, will travel along the West Highland line. Stephen Dowds, headmaster of Lochaber High School, said: ''We have been using the books to promote reading, and particularly to get more boys reading for pleasure. Students and staff are delighted to be involved in this adventure.'' Tourism officials hope the film shoot will help the local economy. A study in 1997 found that spending by the makers of the film Rob Roy brought £ 7m to the Scottish economy. A further £ 15m was generated by visitor spending.

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