I guess it goes to show how little I've been paying attention, but I could have sworn Narcissa Malfoy already showed up in the Harry Potter movies. Of course, it could also mean I'm easily mixing up the books and the adaptations, because I must be thinking of the character's first appearance in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire -- the novel not the film. But Narcissa, who is mother to Draco (Tom Felton), wife to Lucius (Jason Isaacs) and cousin to Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) features prominently in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince -- the novel -- and so she will be making her cinematic introduction in the movie version. And now we've got word on who will be playing the role. According to BBC, Helen McCrory will play Narcissa, who in Half-Blood Prince is dealing with her husband being a prisoner of Azkaban and her son being a teenage brat.

Audiences are likely most familiar with McCrory through her role as British first lady Cherie Blair in The Queen. She also appeared recently in Becoming Jane, as Mrs. Radcliffe (somewhat a Potter-riffic name, right?), and Casanova, in which she played mother to Heath Ledger's title character. The interesting thing now is that McCrory is actually playing the sister of the character she was originally all set to play. If you remember back to the original casting announcements of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, McCrory was first attached to play Bellatrix Lestrange, a part that went to Helena Bonham Carter when McCrory became pregnant and had to bow out. And you may recall that earlier this year, the part of Narcissa was linked to Naomi Watts, whose reps quickly denied her involvement. As much as I loved the idea of Watts playing the role, I'm intrigued to see McCrory take it on. I wonder, though, will she have to dye her hair, or am I once again revealing my lack of attention to the books? Half-Blood Prince, which is currently in production at the helm of Order of the Phoenix director David Yates, is set to hit theaters in little over a year from now (21 Nov. 2008)