Glasgow Evening Times  Nov. 4, 2002
IF everything had gone to plan, then Sean Biggerstaff...

By Andy Dougan

IF everything had gone to plan, then Sean Biggerstaff might have been looking forward to a nice part in a Christmas show somewhere like Dundee Rep.
Not that he lacks ambition - far from it - but when you're 19 and fresh out of school it does no harm to temper your dreams with a generous helping of reality.
Things didn't work out the way Sean Biggerstaff intended.
Instead of a festive show in some regional theatre, he now finds himself getting ready for his second blockbuster inside a year as part of the Harry Potter franchise.
The Potter bandwagon is gathering speed after this weekend's preview screenings of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
For Sean, who plays Oliver Wood, the captain of the Quidditch team and Harry's sporting hero, it's occasionally too much to take in.
The past two years have seen the 19-year-old practically immersed in Harry's world, with the two films being shot almost back-to- back.
"They were just releasing the first film when we started work again on the second one," he says.
"It was a bit like going back to school after the holidays."
Of course, in this case the school in question was Hogwarts, as Sean joined Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and the rest of the cast as they got things going on Harry's latest adventure.
Most of Sean's scenes are with Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry.
Effectively, Radcliffe is carrying the film - but Sean says it's a burden he bears with good grace.
"I think his attitude is just great," he says with real admiration.
"I think it's remarkable that he hasn't turned into a total brat.
He adds: "If anyone should have it's Daniel, given everything that's happened to him with this film, but he is just great. He's terrific to work with."
Sean believes audiences will like Chamber of Secrets even more than the first and, considering that one was the second biggest grossing movie in history, it all augurs well for the box office.
Yes, there were those - and Sean wastes no time in reminding me that I was among them - who felt that the first film was a little too reverential and a bit too literal.
"That's what people wanted," he chides gently. "They wanted to see all of the things that they knew and loved from the books and if our director Chris Columbus hadn't given that to them, they'd have been very disappointed.
"With this second film Chris doesn't have so many characters to introduce or things to explain so we can get straight into the story."
It's safe to say that Harry Potter has changed Sean's life in ways that he didn't expect. For one thing, there are all those fan websites on the Internet.
"I've only recently got into computers and a friend told me to put my name in the search engine. I couldn't believe it," he says.
What happened was his name produced the best part of 12,000 hits. There are all sorts of Sean Biggerstaff fan websites out there, so much so that his cousin now produces an official Sean site in an attempt to bring some order to the chaos.
All of this raises the issue that he has become the one thing he never really wanted to be - famous.
"I have no interest whatsoever in being famous. Fame is a byproduct of what you do; it's not something you set out to be.
"I never expected that it would ever be like this. I thought I'd do a few years in Dundee Rep or somewhere like that. Now my whole professional life is Harry Potter."
Although that isn't strictly the case. Sean is being lined up for a part in The Flying Scotsman, a film based on the life of the Scottish cycling champion, Graeme Obree.
If it comes off, for Sean it's a dream job. "I love cycling," he says. "It's great to get out there and just clear the cobwebs away.
"I used to do some road racing but that was a couple of years ago.
"Because I've been working on Harry Potter I haven't been doing any cycling. The last thing you want to do is break your leg when you're working on a film like this.
"But the great thing about The Flying Scotsman is that I would have to cycle. How good is that?"
The Flying Scotsman was due to start filming later this month, leaving Sean with a reasonable break until the third Potter film starts shooting in the spring.
This one is being directed by Mexican film maker Alfonso Cuaron, who made Y Tu Mama Tambien.
"I've had a look at some of his films," says Sean enthusiastically. "I think his take on Harry Potter is going to be really interesting."
Before then, though, Sean might squeeze in some stage work. He began in Scottish Youth Theatre and would love to get back on the stage.
"It's two-and-a-half years since I was last on stage. I'm scared I might bottle it," he laughs.
Not much chance of that. And, even if he does, he knows a wizard cure for stage fright.
lHarry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets opens in Glasgow on November 15. Previews start this Friday.
More secrets in sequel
HARRY Potter and the Chamber of Secrets will not disappoint fans.
More importantly, those not entirely convinced by the first film should be completely won over by this terrific piece of family entertainment.
The story moves along at a cracking pace as Harry and his pals battle an ancient evil which threatens Hogwarts School.
The special effects are marvellous - and there is a whole host of new characters, including the eagerly-awaited Dobby the House Elf.
Kenneth Branagh, Jason Isaacs and Shirley Henderson are among the new faces in the cast for this sequel, which could turn out to be even more successful than the original.
WIN Family tickets to the Chamber of Secrets Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (PG) is the family film everyone will want to experience. And we are giving five lucky families the chance to be among the first to see it absolutely free!
Although the film isn't officially released until November 15, there are paid previews all across the country from this Friday, November 8. And, judging by the demand, it's going to even more popular than the first Harry Potter film.