Allison, Rebecca. "JK Rowling praises film company as it works its magic on Harry Potter," The Guardian, September 5, 2001

The boy wizard who started life as nothing more than the figment of an aspiring author's imagination yesterday became reality for his fans as the first photographs of his screen character were unveiled.

Harry Potter enthusiasts everywhere will finally be able to see for themselves whether the film version of the unlikely hero and his magical world live up to the images conjured up by JK Rowling's bestselling book Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

The pictures from the film, taken by Annie Leibovitz and published in Vanity Fair magazine, were praised by the author who was delighted at the authenticity of the characters.

There are also glimpses of the staff and pupils of Hogwarts school for wizards as well as some of the elaborate sets designed to bring Rowling's creation to life.

"I've been watching it in my head for nine years now - and finally I'll get to see it along with everybody else," Rowling told the magazine.

She said that she had turned down offers from a series of studios to make a film but had eventually accepted Warner Brothers' involvement because they were willing to stay true to the books.

"I'm not against the idea of a film - I love films. The vital thing for me was that it would be true to the book and I have great faith in Warners' commitment to that."

David Heyman, the producer, said Rowling was amazed when she first saw Diagon Alley, the gathering place in London for wizards.

"She wanted to spend the rest of the day alone in Diagon Alley. She said the layout was exactly the way she'd been thinking and she and art director Stuart Craig hadn't even discussed it," he said.

Director Chris Columbus admitted that he had sought the expertise of his young daughter before making certain decisions: "She would be the first person to say 'that looks fake', or 'that's the wrong colour'.

Its star, Daniel Radcliffe, will play the 11-year-old wizard as he starts at Hogwarts and makes friends with Hermione Granger, (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint).

Robbie Coltrane takes the part of Hogwarts' grounds keeper. John Cleese plays ghost Nearly Headless Nick and Richard Griffiths and Fiona Shaw will play the uncle and aunt who adopt Harry.