2008 should be a very big year for Jim Broadbent. In May, we'll see the Oscar-winning actor appear alongside Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (as Indy's academic colleague). Then, later in the year, we'll see him in another giant franchise. According to Dark Horizons, Broadbent has definitely been cast in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince as the new (formerly retired) potions teacher Horace Slughorn (hmm, from crystal skulls to crystallized pineapple -- next up: a Crystal Gayle biopic?). As one of today's finest English actors, it's hard to believe he hasn't already appeared in the series, which is known for its casting of the best of the Brits. I guess it just took the perfect role to come around for him to finally be considered. Sure, Jette had suggested Simon Callow for the role, but I think Broadbent will do a much finer job. Plus, we already know from Topsy-Turvy and Moulin Rouge! that he looks great with a big mustache.

I must remind that Half-Blood Prince is the first Potter book that I didn't read, and so I'm not too familiar with Slughorn, aside from what I've read and seen. The character returns to his position at Hogwarts, at the suggestion of Dumbledore, after many years of retirement, because he's to be a valuable asset in the battle against the Death Eaters. With Snape now moved to the job of teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts, Slughorn takes over the potions class he had taught for near-half a century. He also re-starts the Slug Club, an exclusive extra-curricular society made up of celebrated or favored Hogwarts students, including Harry, of course. Compared to J.K. Rowling's description of Slughorn, as well as Mary GrandPré's illustration of him, Broadbent may be too tall and not quite fat enough. But rest assured the actor will be perfect in his "tweedy" costumes and aged makeup. And hopefully the fans think so, since Broadbent will likely be required to return in the role for Deathly Hallows.