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Oscar -Winning Star Broadbent Joins 'Narnia' Cast

( [email protected] ) Jul 31, 2004 10:26 PM EDT

Jim Broadbent, the Oscar award winning actor, currently puts on his scholarly pose as the Professor in the anticipated film The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The CS Lewis classic fairytale, is being shot for the big screen in New Zealand 54 years after it was written.

Directors and producers say that the film, based upon novel written by the Belfast-born theologian and author, is the next Lord of the Rings hit.

"I spent an absorbing week re-reading the yarn," said Jim Broadbent who won his best support Academy Award for his role as John Bayley in Iris.

"Smashing stuff and I've got a great part as the Prof - just ask any little boy or girl who has had the story read to them at bedtime."

Jim Broadbent will accompany Rupert Everett (Shrek 2) and the Scottish actress Tilda Swinton who will play as The White Witch.

"The Lewis story is for all generations," said Miss Swinton who won awards for her role in Adaptation with Nicholas Cage.

"Imagine, this story by theologian Lewis which he dreamed up first as a little boy in Belfast has sold 65 million copies around the world in 30 languages.

"I'm going to make a realistic evil witch, just the way CS wanted her to be."

And for James Cosmo, seen recently on screen as Glaucus in Troy starring Brad Pitt, being in the ¡§Narnia¡¨ film will be a second chance for him to play one of his favorite roles as ¡¥Father Christmas.¡¦

Former Belfast Lord Mayor Dr Ian Adamson, an authority on Lewis, said today: "It's about time this film was shot. The Chronicles, and in particular the wardrobe story, rival anything in the Potter yarns and in The Lord of the Rings saga."