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Meeting a wizard is a big step toward success for student-actress
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By GREGORY DYER
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One Florida Atlantic University student spent a recent summer's vacation hanging around with witches, warlocks, wizards, Muggles, Hogwarts -- and Harry Potter. They recorded some of their adventures for the world to see, and released it in June 2004.

Liana Harris, 19, a communications major, appears in Harry Potter 3: Prisoner of Azkaban. In the film, Harris is an extra, playing the role of a student.

Over the course of 12 days, Harris was involved in the filming of a classroom scene for the movie. In that scene, she sat among Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe, Ruppert Grant and Emma Watson.

"Walking onto that set and seeing the director, seeing the camera; this is where I belong! This is what I want to do! It was seriously the best experience of my entire life," Harris said.

At the time, Harris was still living in "across the pond" and attending Redroofs Theatre School near London – an institute that focuses on its students' singing, acting, and dancing abilities. Actress Kate Winslet attended there between ages 11 and 17, according to the Redroofs Web site.

"The school was almost like your agency. Casting directors would frequently come into the school looking for talent," Harris said. Actually, that's how she wound up in Harry Potter – one of 15 students chosen to appear in the film.

Admission to the Red Roof's Theater school requires a grueling audition process. But it was this process that allowed her to participate in such shows as Beauty and the Beast, Alice in Wonderland, Cats and Grease, all before she graduated high school.

Harris moved to the United States with her family at the age of 12, and they settled in Weston. The move was part of an effort to reduce the traveling that her father needed to do to maintain his business, which relied on many U.S. clients.

After her experience with Harry Potter and her growing list of credits, Harris decided that she wanted to pursue acting as her career. She has since made appearances as an extra on the TV series, Burn Notice, and an extra in the motion picture, Code 46.

Her most recent and most prominent role has been the female lead in, Lines, an independent movie that was filmed solely with the use of Macintosh laptop cameras and was the first of its kind.

Since enrolling at FAU, Harris has changed her major from theater performance to communication, with a focus on film and video.

"I'm also interested in production, I would love to intern at the Ellen Degeneres Show, and eventually get into something like that, as well," she said.

Harris says that obtaining her degree is her "backup plan" and that her decision to major in communication resulted partly from the uncertainty of a career in the entertainment industry. However, noted that she "wouldn't mind putting school on hold for a semester if the 'right' role happened to come along."

 
 

 
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