Word from the World Entertainment News Network is the 48-year-old funnyman is hoping to ease his depression following the failure of his last film "Johnny English" by playing the important role of Harry's nemesis in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," due out next year.
The entertainment Web site quotes a source as saying, "It's a very major career change for Rowan.
"He has been looking to spread his wings and branch out into other roles," the source continues. "He doesn't want to be the nice guy or the rubber-faced chap forever."
The character Atkinson will play has appeared as a computer-generated spirit in other Harry Potter films. "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," the third film in the popular series about a boy wizard and his friends studying at magic school, is due out this summer.