July 29, 2008 -- The sixth "Harry Potter" movie is continuing to creep toward its Nov. 21 opening.
The trailer for "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" arrives today online and makes its debut in theaters Friday before "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor." Film editing is complete, says director David Yates, and studio officials will soon see the finished product.
Then next month, test audiences will get a sneak peek — something that doesn't seem to faze Yates in the least. "That's an incredibly useful process," he says.
The big reveal in the trailer (and in this exclusive photo from it): a glimpse of the young Tom Riddle, who grows up to become the wizarding world's most malevolent force, Lord Voldemort.
Voldemort is played by Ralph Fiennes, and his 11-year-old incarnation is played by 10-year-old Hero Fiennes-Tiffin, the actor's nephew. Not only does he bear a resemblance to the grown-up Voldemort, but he also has the requisite intensity, Yates says.
"His mother (Martha Fiennes) is a film director, and Hero was very focused and disciplined," Yates says. "The fact that he's related to Ralph wasn't the primary reason for choosing him. It was an advantage that he looked very similar to Ralph. Of course that was useful. But primarily I went for Hero because of this wonderful haunted quality that seemed to bring Tom Riddle alive on-screen for us."
Yates stressed how hard it can be for very young actors to find the necessary dark place to play such a creepy character.
"But even though he's the nicest child you'd ever want to meet, sweet-natured and pleasant, he got the corners and dark moods and odd spirit of the character."
Audiences also will meet a teenage Voldemort, still known as Tom Riddle. He's played by Frank Dillane. The character made an appearance in the second Potter film, "Chamber of Secrets", played by a different actor.
"Even at a very young age, Tom Riddle shows tendencies toward cruelty and maliciousness," Yates says. "And it's a very unsettling thing to see."