When Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince hits theaters Nov. 21, audiences will see more of the evil wizard Voldemort than they ever did before – including what he looked like as an 11-year-old boy.
And if his childhood incarnation bears an uncanny resemblance to his adult self, it’s not just lucky casting. Young Voldemort is played by Hero Fiennes-Tiffin, the 10-year-old nephew of Ralph Fiennes, who has played He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named throughout most of the movie series.
“Hero was very focused and disciplined,” director David Yates says in USA Today. “It was an advantage that he looked very similar to Ralph. … But primarily I went for Hero because of this wonderful haunted quality that seemed to bring Tom Riddle alive on-screen for us.”
Some fortunate moviegoers will get to see the child Voldemort, also known as Tom Riddle, even earlier than the rest of the world. Test audiences get a sneak peek next month – and Yates predicts they’ll be shaking in their boots.
“Even at a very young age, Tom Riddle shows tendencies toward cruelty and maliciousness,” the director says. “And it’s a very unsettling thing to see.”