Okay, okay – it’s just Daniel Radcliffe who plays Harry Potter – not the fictional boy wizard himself. But still pretty cool. Daniel has always mentioned that he’s not particularly religious, but in his latest interview with Esquire he officially “comes out” as an atheist.

“In an interview with Esquire magazine, Radcliffe risked the US box office prospects of the new Harry Potter film by declaring himself to be an atheist.

In a pronouncement that will dismay America’s religious Right, which has long voiced suspicions about Potter’s “anti-Christian” message, the 19-year-old actor said he did not believe in God.

He also expressed his admiration for Professor Richard Dawkins, the prominent atheist and bete noir of Evangelical Christians.

Radcliffe has been reticent on the subject of religion in the past, but in an interview to promote the latest instalment in the film franchise, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, released on July 15, he said: “I’m an atheist, but I’m very relaxed about it. I don’t preach my atheism, but I have a huge amount of respect for people like Richard Dawkins who do. Anything he does on television, I will watch.”

He joked: “There we go, Dan, that’s half of America that’s not going to see the next Harry Potter film on the back of that comment.”

JK Rowling’s stories of the schoolboy wizard are taken very seriously by some Evangelical Christians in the United States. One of the largest Christian groups in the country, Focus on the Family, denounced the books as “witchcraft”.”

I wasn’t one of those fangirls who immediately thought Daniel Radcliffe was some sort of hottie. I was way too preoccupied oggling Alan Rickman (and I still am). But I have to admit, Dan has really grown on me. He’s getting cute now that he’s not jail bait anymore, and every time I hear him in an interview he’s witty, intelligent, and nice. But now he’s an out atheist and a fan of Richard Dawkins? Definitely going up on my list of cute famous atheist guys I have no chance with!