Interview with Jim re his narration of "Harry Potter".
NEW YORK -- "Step in, please, and don't forget to pick your jaw up off the floor.
See the papier-mâché elephant balancing on a tightrope. The Victorian hatpin, the turquoise sheen of its 21 hummingbird heads catching the light. Ceiling-to-floor pre-Raphaelite tapestries. Miniature wooden clowns. Tiffany chandeliers casting a warm glow in the museum-toy shop that is Jim Dale's Manhattan apartment.
And then stand back as Dale, the rubbery English actor, capers around, performing impromptu sketches about his wondrous and whimsical objects.
"Ah," he says at last, settling into a 19th-century Hall-porters chair. When he and his wife, Julie, come up in the elevator, he says, "We pull up the drawbridge, and this is our castle in the clouds."
If it is not quite Harry Potter's magical domain, then it is Hogwarts-by-the-Hudson. This castle is presided over by a man who is part blithe spirit and who, it now becomes clear, was perfectly cast to narrate the series' audiobooks, including the latest, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, for which Dale created 134 speaking voices.
Now he makes his own rules. "I only travel to good material, a good director and a good company. I won't work in another country for a year any longer." he says, "because I have a lovely wife and I adore her and I can't bear to be away from her." So Dale brings Hogwarts to life, tramps around a lovely country home, and works on his next big Broadway musical destined for Spring 2006."