After Harry — What ‘Potter’ Kids Should Do Next

For Daniel, Emma, Rupert and Tom, their next choices could make all the career difference in the world — ask Harrison Ford

Now that the "Harry Potter" saga is coming to a conclusion, what should be the young cast do next?

I’m sure they all have their pick of roles, but the problem is picking the right one. Having played some of the most popular characters in history for the better part of a decade, breaking out of those iconic roles can be a challenge. 

I subscribe to the "Star Wars"/"Raiders of the Lost Ark" theory — you follow one big, iconic, and genre friendly role with another. "Indiana Jones" allowed Harrison Ford to be Harrison Ford whereas Mark Hamill was stuck being Luke Skywalker. In other words establish your bankability first, then stretch. 

So what role could compare with Harry Potter? It’s not easy but let’s see.

Tom Felton: The “villain” of the young group. The filmmakers have made Draco Malfoy a little more sympathetic than he is in the books. But if Felton wants to break out he should pursue a heroic role. Based on appearance he’d make a terrific Edward Elric in "Full Metal Alchemist."

Now, Hollywood has an abysmal record with adapting anime series (see "Fist of the North Star" or "Dragonball: Evolution." Or better yet don’t.) But "Full Metal’s" concept isn’t as complex as some other anime and Edward’s plight is very compelling and would make for great cinema … provided they keep M. Night Shyamalan away from it.

Emma Watson: There’s some question whether or not Ms. Watson even wants to act again. Assuming she does there is one project that could use her. Now I’ve made my feelings on the Joss Whedon-less reboot of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

From a business standpoint though Emma Watson as Buffy makes a lot of sense. Assuming they aren’t aging the character so they can go for Angelina Jolie or Sandra Bullock, the list of actresses in the right age range for Buffy is limited. And Watson by far has the most impressive box office track record. If she pulls in just a fraction of the "Potter" fans, the movie will be a hit. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is a debate for another time.

Rupert Grint: Grint has been hard at work expanding as an actor. He’s slated to play British Olympic skier Eddie “the Eagle” Edwards. The smaller film route is a smart career choice. He doesn’t have the cover model looks of Watson or Daniel Radcliffe but he has plenty of charm and charisma. And today’s indie/cult director is tomorrow’s A lister. Aside from playing Eddie the Eagle, he should also make a call to Edgar Wright and see if he can get into the Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy with fellow Potter alum Mathew Lewis (Neville Longbottom) playing a young Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

Daniel Radcliffe: He has maybe the biggest challenge. He’s been THE face of the Potter franchise for a large part of his young life. He needs an "Indiana Jones" sized role to help him break free. Going small or independent isn’t going to help. It’s unfortunate that they’ve already cast the new Spider-Man. But Radcliffe needs a character he can make his own.

"Invincible" is a critically acclaimed, bestselling comic that’s not put out by Image Comics. It focuses on a young, superhero with growing pains. The character is no where as iconic as Spidey or Batman but that’s the point. It wouldn’t be Daniel Radcliffe trying to be Spiderman it would be Daniel Radcliffe bringing this character to life as well as lending it some of his "Harry Potter" popularity.

Done right it’s the perfect "Raiders of the Lost Ark" follow up for the young actor.

After that then he can go make his "Witness."