Maggie Smith did have one advantage over her celebrated co-stars like Richard Harris and Robbie Coltrane: she had actually worked before with her leading man, Daniel Radcliffe, the 12-year-old Harry Potter himself. They appeared together in the 1999 made-for-TV version of David Copperfield, directed by Simon Curtis, with Radcliffe as young David and Smith as Aunt Betsey Trotwood.

"I think it was the very first thing Daniel had done, and his parents were concerned because he was such a shy boy." A knowing smile twists her upper lip. "They needn’t have worried. By the end of the shoot, he knew all there was to know about sound, lighting- everything."

I share with her the story Richard Harris (playing Dumbledore in the film) told me about how director Chris Columbus got Harris together with Radcliffe to read a few scenes and “make Daniel more at ease.” After they were finished, Radcliffe looked seriously at Harris and said, “You know, I think you’re going to be very good in the part.” Smith hoots with glee. “Oh, that sounds like our Daniel! Exactly, exaaaaaactly like him.” - Maggie Smith, on working with Daniel Radcliffe.

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