LEMONY SNICKET'S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS star Liam Aiken could have an even more impressive curriculum vitae - he turned down the lead role in THE sixth sense and was rejected for the lead role of Harry Potter.

Shortly after making his movie debut in HENRY FOOL, aged seven, Aiken - now 14 - was offered the main part in M Night Shyamalan's thriller, but he and his mother declined because the movie, about a boy who can see dead people, was "too death obsessed".

He was then touted for the lead role in Jk Rowling's fantasy series in 2000 - after starring roles in THE OBJECT OF MY AFFECTION and Stepmom.

But Rowling insisted on a British lead - and cast homegrown talent Daniel RADCLIFFE.

Nevertheless, Aiken doesn't regret missing out on the smash hit movies. Of The Sixth Sense, he says, "I don't ever regret that decision. If I had done it, who knows where I'd be now?"

He adds of his brush with Harry Potter, "It was kind of weird, because it was arduous and happened very fast.

"I flew to England, and a week later I had the role. Then the next day, I didn't. But I understood; like James Bond, Harry has to be British.

"Now I can see that it's a good thing, because at that point I hadn't done many other films and I might have just been seen as that character for the rest of my life. And that's not what I wanted."

22/12/2004 09:26