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1. Alan Rickman in BAFTA Interview and Upcoming Projects

Alan Rickman is known for not being the subject of many interviews. However, BAFTA seems to be lucky. Rickman’s interview is to be a part of BAFTA’s “Life in Pictures” event–where many big name stars (such as Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, etc.) sit down for talks with BAFTA. The event is April 15. The Variety reports:

Rickman began his acting career in theater, where his credits include a Tony nomination for his performance in the Royal Shakespeare Company production of “Les Liaisons Dangereuses.” His feature film debut came in the 1988 alongside Bruce Willis in “Die Hard.” Since then he has appeared in more than 40 films, including the Harry Potter series, “Sweeney Todd” and “Love Actually.”

Rickman was awarded a BAFTA in 1992 for his role as the Sheriff of Nottingham in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.” In the same year, he was also BAFTA-nominated for his lead role in “Truly, Madly, Deeply.” He received two further BAFTA nominations in 1996 and 1997, for “Sense and Sensibility” and “Michael Collins,” respectively.

Rickman made his directorial debut in 1997 with “The Winter Guest,” starring Emma Thompson and Phyllida Law. He recently directed and co-wrote his second feature film, historical drama “A Little Chaos,” in which he also stars with Kate Winslet and Stanley Tucci. The film premiered as the Closing Gala at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival, and opens in the U.K. on April 17. Focus Features recently removed the pic from its release schedule in the U.S.

Rickman will next be seen in “Eye in the Sky,” co-starring Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Colin Firth and Barkhad Abdi, and will reprise his role as the Blue Caterpillar in “Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass.”

 

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2. Reminder: J.K. Rowling’s “Very Good Lives” To Be Published Next Month

As reported previously here on Leaky, J.K. Rowling’s Harvard Commencement Address is being printed in book form. All proceeds of the little, yet powerful, 80-page book will go towards Lumos, as well as university-wide scholarships for potential Harvard students. The book is available for preorder, and will be published April 14, 2105. Amazon’s summary of the book reads:

In 2008, J.K. Rowling delivered a deeply affecting commencement speech at Harvard University. Now published for the first time in book form, VERY GOOD LIVES presents J.K. Rowling’s words of wisdom for anyone at a turning point in life. How can we embrace failure? And how can we use our imagination to better both ourselves and others?

Drawing from stories of her own post-graduate years, the world famous author addresses some of life’s most important questions with acuity and emotional force.

Sales of VERY GOOD LIVES will benefit both Lumos, a charity organization founded by J.K. Rowling, which works to transform the lives of disadvantaged children, and university-wide financial aid at Harvard University.

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3. Emma Watson named #1 on “99 Top Outstanding Woman 2015″

AskMen is known for posting lists with themes such as “The Top 99 Most Desirable Women.” This year, claiming to be “better than that,” they changed their theme to give notoriety to outstanding, inspirational women. Emma Watson was voted as the number one most outstanding woman, according to the list. AskMen gives criteria used to make the list, by posting a video on their site below the article, the video titled “How We Chose the Top 99?”. AskMen writes why Emma is outstanding, saying:

Hermione Granger is courageous, loyal and moral to a fault — she embodies the best of J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world. So it’s fitting that the little girl who was cast to play her back in 1999 would grow up to become a woman not so different from the fictional heroine she embodied. The 24-year-old Watson has noble pursuits in mind. Her alignment with the United Nations’ HeForShe campaign has made her the face of feminism right now, and she’s helping change the way men think about women. Now that’s power.

Emma Watson is so many incredible things at once — rich, successful, famous, stylish, beautiful, intelligent, personable, kind. And yet, rather than be content with a life of luxury, she’s thrown her back into a serious social issue in an effort to shift the way our society treats women. — James Bassil, AskMen Publisher

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4. J.K. Rowling’s Wonderful, Polite Discussion on Dumbledore with Fan

In the recent days, even after Jo tweeted that she didn’t take offense to a fan’s question on Dumbledore’s sexuality, many news sources are still praising J.K. Rowling for her “great come back,” her amazing “shut down,” her “burn” of the fan’s opinion that she did not see Dumbledore as gay, always seeing a possible connection between Dumbledore and McGonagall. As J.K. rowling said herself, the question was not offensive, it was “gentle” and “her response was very sweet.” The media continues to misrepresent the following Twitter interaction between Jo and fan, @anakocovic21:

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@anakocovic21 Tweeted in reply “Amazing answer…Yes you are absolutely right. Such an inspiration!!!”

After fans following the conversation began rallying for Jo’s response, with the perspective of the response being a quick quipped “shut down.” Jo defended @anakocovic21, saying:

A minority of people are rushing to judgement without the facts, so here they are: did NOT ask an offensive question!

My reply to her question was gentle and her response was very sweet. Read the full conversation here:

. LOTS of people saw Dumbledore and McGonagall together. You aren’t alone!

Given all the poor media attention, Ms. Kocovic appears to have shut down her profile, at least from the public eye. (On the plus side, she gained a new follower: J.K. Rowling.) Here at Leaky, we hope to spread the truth about the Twitter conversation between Jo and @anakocovic21, and help stop the spread of this media-fueled smear campaign.

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5. Matt Lewis Helps at an Acting Class at Grammar School at Leeds

Matthew Lewis took a trip back to his hometown to work with students in an acting class at Grammar School at Leeds. He and his brother, Anthony, to help judge a competition at the school. Matt expressed a lot of praise at the talent of the students, saying that the experience was exciting for him and he was impressed by the work and creativity of the participants. The Yorkshire Evening Post reported:

The pair visited the Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) to host workshops and teach pupils about preparing for television and stage auditions.

“It has been really nice to get back up to Leeds. We were both really impressed with the standard of work and creativity. TV and film is such a different discipline and it was nice to try and break that down and see how the students handled it and they all did really well. There is so much stuff that I know now, that I just had to pick up along the way. So we try and teach the stuff that we would have found useful when we started out.”

The performing arts school was launched in Leeds last year by his brother Anthony, 31, at the Yorkshire College of Music. It follows on from the success of Totally Lit College in London, and is aimed at 11 to 19-year-olds.

Artistic director Anthony is also an actor and has starred in Emmerdale, The Syndicate and Torchwood and has more than 20 years’ experience in the business.

He said: “It was fantastic for GSAL to invite Matthew and myself. After years working, it’s great to pass on some of our knowledge to the next potential batch of young actors. The students all really took on board the advice and we had some great feedback. It all went really well.”

“The purpose of the workshops was to look at a different style of acting to the theatrical work that the students were familiar with.

“Using mine and Matthew’s experiences working over the years, we explained the main differences between working to a large audience and then playing to a camera, which is a far more intimate experience.

“We also discussed the practical side of working as an actor.”

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6. Matt Smith Rumored to play Newt Scamander

Rumors have started to catch fire and spread quickly about the casting of the lead character in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. As of now, Warner Bros and J.K. Rowling have revealed nothing about the Fantastic Beast films, other than they will be filming at Leavesden and that J.K. Rowling is writing the screenplay. With the first movie scheduled to be released next year, production beginning soon (filming is set to start this summer), and still no word of who is gracing the cast list. However, many sources have been spinning rumors of who will play the lead. The current favorite is Matt Smith, most commonly known as the 11th Doctor of the Doctor Who series. Hypable (http://www.hypable.com/matt-smith-fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them/) reports:

Full disclosure: this rumor was started by British tabloid newspaper The Sun. Unfortunately, they are notoriously known for throwing out crazy rumors they know will be picked up by gullible fans like us.

But once in a blue moon, their sources really exist and the rumor turns out to be well-founded, so we’re going to go ahead and let ourselves imagine the possibility: Matt Smith might be playing Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Matt Smith, of course, is best known for playing the Eleventh Doctor in Doctor Who. He can next be seen in Terminator: Genisys, and also has a zombie movie titled Patient Zero(no, not Prisoner Zero!) coming up. He has signed up for several more Terminator films. His schedule is probably pretty packed.

And yet, when The Sun says that Smith is interested in Fantastic Beasts, we believe it. Not only is Smith a huge Harry Potter fan, but with the screenplay written by J.K. Rowling herself and David Yates returning as director, everyone’s predicting that this movie is going to be a huge success – both commercially and critically.

The Irish Examiner added fuel to the fire that The Sun started, saying:

The former Doctor Who star is said to be “favourite” to play adventurer and “magizoologist” Newt Scamander in the Harry Potter spin-off film, reported The Sun.

There is already a Change.org petition for film bosses to offer Matt the role.

Benedict Cumberbatch has also been linked to the role.

http://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/entertainment/matt-smith-tipped-for-fantastic-beasts-role-668806.html

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7. Times’ Top 30 Most Influential People on the Internet: J.K. Rowling

The Times has released one of it’s “Top Influential People” lists. This list was comprised of the Top 30 Most Influential People on the Internet. With her recent activity on Twitter, more this year than in the recent years, J.K. Rowling has been named one of the thirty. Even on her Twitter, J.K. Rowling has the means of spreading her inspirational messages. The Times said:

The author, 49, has given Harry Potter a new life online, answering fans’ questions, teasing future project and revealing uberviral plot extras to her 4.2 million followers on Twitter. Among the buzziest ones: a riddle about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the Potter spinoff screenplay she’s writing, and the fact that there are Jewish wizards at Hogwarts. She’s also especially giving on her fansite, Pottermore, which crashed last July after Rowling posted a new story about Harry Potter as a 30-something.

http://time.com/3732203/the-30-most-influential-people-on-the-internet/

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8. PETA Voices Concerns for Harry Potter Owls on Set

In the past few days, PETA has been raising awareness for the owls used on the set of the Harry Potter movies. These owls are now a part of the Leavesden Studio tour exhibits. Fans can pay to see the owls used throughout the films, the cat that held the role as Crookshanks, and other animals introduced in the Harry Potter films. The Mirror posted a video from PETA’s website, and expressed PETA’s concerns. The video shows contradictions between what the bird trainer did/said, and what the trainer was supposed to say/do. At one point during the video, the trainer encouraged guests to touch the birds, and in the next segment, followed protocol and asked visiting fans not to touch the owls. The BBC also reported Warner Bros. response to PETA’s voiced concerns.

From the Mirror (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/harry-potter-studio-tour-owls-5379260):

Secret footage shot by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals shows the birds in tiny pens chewing their tethers, shaking their heads and apparently being made to do tricks for the crowds.

A trainer at The Making of Harry Potter tour also allegedly told visitors to buy their own owls, ­claiming they are inexpensive and “do not have to have a licence”.

Peta director Mimi Bekhechi, told the Sunday People : “Confining frightened owls to tiny cages where they can only chew at their tethers in frustration goes against every message of respect and kindness that JK Rowling’s ­wonderful books taught us.”

In a letter to Warner Brothers , which runs the tour, Peta’s Yvonne Taylor claimed: “The ‘trainers’ supervising the tour showed gross negligence both in handling the birds and in ensuring public safety.

“As well as the tricks, they actively encouraged flash photography.

“Owls have especially acute vision and find blinding camera flashes extremely distressing – this can be seen in Peta’s footage as they respond by desperately chewing at their ­tethers and shaking their heads.

“A trainer cajoled people to touch the frightened birds, ignoring signs telling people not to touch the birds.

“As experts will tell you, as well as being stressful for the owls, this also interferes with the natural oils in their feathers that keep them warm.

“One trainer tells visitors, ‘Please don’t touch the owl… I have to say that!’ even though these powerful and extremely ­agitated birds could easily have ­injured someone.

The BBC wrote of Warner Bros. response to the letter from PETA (http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-32010842):

In response, Warner Bros Studio said: “The owls that appeared in the Harry Potter film series occasionally come to the studio tour.

“They appear for short periods and are exclusively handled by the experts at Birds and Animals, the company that owns and trains them. We have asked them to review this matter.”

A spokeswoman for Birds and Animals said: “The welfare of our birds and animals is our number one priority and we want to ensure they remain stress-free and healthy.

“The owls are always given regular breaks and closely monitored by a vet. Now that we have had the opportunity to see the footage, we have instigated a review of the issues raised.

“We will take appropriate action to ensure that the birds and animals always receive the very best care.”

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9. J.K. Rowling visits School in Nepal, Attends Ball

J.K. Rowling recently took a trip to Nepal, where she was invited by the British Embassy to introduce a program organized by The British School in Kathmandu. While at the school last Friday, Rowling read excerpts of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and answered questions–energetically interacting and engaging with over 400 audience members. Images of Rowling answering questions and meeting fans began to appear all over Twitter. Following her visit to the school, Rowling attended a private ball Saturday evening. eKantipur reports:

Best-selling British author and creator of beloved boy wizard Harry Potter , JK Rowling , spent Friday morning at The British School in Jhamiskhel, Lalitpur, for the school’s book week. Speaking to a captivated audience of over 400, the famed writer read out an excerpt from her first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

“It was an amazing experience seeing JK Rowling. I loved the way she spoke and the wonderful manner in which she conveyed each and every character in the book,” said Kritika Agarwal, a student at the school. The sixth-form student asked Rowling questions regarding her books and her inspiration. Rowling replied that she had enjoyed reading since she was 5 and she knew she wanted to become an author ever since.

News of Rowling’s arrival in Kathmandu broke on social media on Friday morning during her appearance at the school, along with photos of the best-selling author answering questions for the school newspaper. Describing the event as inspiring, Agarwal said that it felt great asking the celebrity author about her humble background and how she started off the story that has captured the hearts of millions, adults and children alike.

A student wrote of her experience of meeting her favorite author:

We always dream of seeing our childhood heroes in person, but what happens when you finally get to see the person that created the series that made up 90 percent of your childhood? What happens is that you hyperventilate, then you become numb and then you realise that you have a rather large, obnoxious smile plastered across your face. And then you cry. WhenJK Rowling first stepped into the hall at my school, I froze.

My friend next to me began whooping and cheering, along with the rest of the school, whilst I sat there, tears welling up in my eyes as I watched Rowling climb up the steps and take her seat.

As the hubbub settled, Rowling took to her microphone and began reading a passage from her first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. She read what is, in my opinion, one of the most significant moments in the entire series, when Harry gets his first wand from Olivander’s.

Rowling finished the passage, ending it much too quickly. But even if she had read for hours, it would’ve felt too short. Then, she was open for questions. So came the first question, and the second, third, and so on and so forth. To each and every student who asked a question, she made sure to swivel on her heavy four-legged chair and answer directly.

She never steered her answer away from the question she was asked and regularly made personal jokes, both Harry Potter -related and otherwise.

I spent a good 40 minutes of the hour laughing at her delight at seeing so many Harry Potters, Hermione Grangers and various Harry Potter -related characters in the audience and how she would react to some questions and become so immersed in answering them.

In that short hour, I saw first-hand what made Rowling so beloved, beyond the magical world and the beloved characters she has created. She was immeasurably down-to-earth and to have had the pleasure and privilege of seeing her and having her read to us in person was an indescribable experience, never to be forgotten.

In the future, when my friends and family ask me if listening to JK Rowling still remains one of my most unforgettable and memorable moments, even “after all this time?” my simple reply will be, “Always.” 

As of Rowling’s attendance of the private ball, eKantipur wrote:

Renowned author JK Rowling attended a private ball organised to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the British Gurkhas at Hyatt Regency in Kathmandu on Saturday, as fans waited outside the venue to catch a glimpse of the creator of the famous Harry Potter series.

According to Major Manoj Mohora of British Gurkha Nepal, the invite-only programme, where Rowling was the chief guest, was one of the first in the series of events lined up for 2015 to mark the 200 years of the Gurkha soldiers in the British Army.

Outside the front gate of the Hyatt Regency were a group of Harry Potter fans holding placards that read “ JK Rowling is our queen”. They were barred from entering the hotel premises.

A few of Rowling’s fans managed to sneak in and got a chance to see the famed author as she passed through the lobby in a red evening gown.

“She is a very private person,” said a member of Rowling’s entourage, specifically requesting fans not to approach her.  “She understands that there are fans who want to meet her, but this is a private trip and she is with her family.”

Photos of Rowling at these events have been reposted from Twitter by SnitchSeeker, and can be seen by following the link below, as well as The Baltic Review. Hyper Link to these articles is currently not working, but the sources of this article are:

http://www.ekantipur.com/2015/03/21/top-story/jk-rowling-in-town/403072.html

http://www.ekantipur.com/2015/03/21/top-story/jk-rowling-in-town/403072.html

Please visit these articles to read them in their entrity

http://www.snitchseeker.com/harry-potter-news/j-k-rowling-attends-welcome-program-organized-by-the-british-school-in-nepal-100194/

http://baltic-review.com/world/breaking-news/j-k-rowling-in-nepal-as-pottermania-grips-the-nation/

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10. New Photos of the Hogwarts Express exhibit

Huffington Post took a trip to the new Hogwarts Express exhibit at Leavesden Studio tour, and was able to take a few very beautiful photos of the scarlet red steam engine that is near and dear to our hearts. The Hogwarts Express exhibit, a 20,000 square foot expansion to Leavesden, officially opened to the general public last week. The photos from Huffington Post can be seen here (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/hogwarts-express_5506deede4b00d7437871ced).

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11. What do You Think of Tom Felton’s Documentary?

Tom Felton’s documentary on superfans aired this evening on BBC 3. Tom Felton Meets the Superfans premiered at 9 PM GMT, and Twitter has been bursting about it ever since. The documentary aired exclusively for the UK, and a UK audience. As Leaky is US based, we have been unable to view the documentary, and are unable to write our own review. However, we would love to hear reactions from those of you who were able to watch the show this evening! (Even if you missed it, the show is available on BBC 3 iPlayer for UK residence.) Please share your reactions and comments, and collectively we will write a review of the show together. Tom Felton has been retweeting fans reactions on Twitter, a few examples may be seen below. Many fans seem to be reacting with awe, and other positive effects.

 

Wow!..That was eye opening for both sides (fans & celebrities).Very well done! I enjoyed it! :)

Thank YOU for making such an amazing documentary. I related to everything, and I really felt like you understood us fans! :D

was very insightful, completely understandable the escapism that fandom gives people, must see show

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12. Dan Radcliffe to present “Have I Got News For You”

Dan Radcliffe is one of many stars inline to be featured in the 49th season (series, in the U.K.) of the British satire, Have I got News for You. Dan will be featured in the first episode of the season, on Friday, April 10. The Belfast Telegraph reports:

It is going to be Harry Potter And The Missing Words Round next month when Daniel Radcliffe presents long-running satire show Have I Got News For You.

The actor, who shot to fame playing the boy wizard in the films based on JK Rowling’s books, will take the hot seat in the first episode of the 49th series of the BBC show. His appearance, on Friday April 10 will be followed a week later by Only Connect quizmaster Victoria Coren Mitchell.

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13. Rupert Grint in Tom Felton’s “Super Fans” Documentary

The BBC has posted a clip of Tom Felton’s meeting the Super Fans documentary. The clip features Rupert Grint, as he walks out of a side of building to great a crowd of fans awaiting his arrival.  One of those fans in the crowd is a poorly disguised Tom Felton. The hilarious encounter can be seen below. Tom Felton’s documentary airs on BBC 3, on March 23, 2015 at 9 PM GMT.

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14. New Pottermore Writings from J.K. Rowling

In celebration of the new Hogwarts Express expansion at Leavesden Studio tours, J.K. Rowling has posted new writings on the Hogwarts Express in the first moment of chapter six, in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The new writings reveal how students many centuries ago, used various, often disastrous, methods of getting to Hogwarts at the beginning of term. Discover which Minister of Magic proposed the controversial idea of using Muggle transportation, here.

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15. New Writings from J.K. Rowling on Pottermore

In celebration of the Hogwarts Express expansion at Leavesden Studios, J.K. Rowling has posted new material about the Hogwarts Express on Pottermore. Once has to journey back to the Philosopher’s Stone (Sorcerer’s Stone), to the Hogwarts Express scene to unlock the new reading. J.K. Rowling writes of how students of Hogwart’s distant past, used to travel to school by various, often disastrous, methods. Find out which Minister of Magic suggested the controversial idea of using new muggle transportation. The new readings can be found here.

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16. A little more Insight on “Fantastic Beasts” Films

Recently, at a luncheon that celebrated the launching of the Hogwarts Express expansion to Leavesden studios, CEO Kevin Tsujihara and other Warner Bros. executives talked a little of the upcoming “Fantastic Beast” movie trilogy. The context of the conversation was discussing a comparison between the Star Wars franchise and the Harry Potter franchise, discussing how the new trilogy fits into the Harry Potter storyline. The Hollywood Reporter wrote:

Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara and other top studio executives, staff members and guests celebrated the launch of the new Hogwarts Express attraction, part of the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter, on Tuesday night.

When asked how important the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them trilogy was in extending the Potter film world and whether the combined franchise set in the magical world was comparable to the likes of Star Wars — which also is getting new installments — Tsujihara noted the similarities.

“[Beasts] is really a wonderful gift ?from [J.K. Rowling] to the fans, and we are a part of it. It is like Star Wars. It is not exactly a linear story but an adjacent story,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “And Jo wrote [the film version of Beasts] herself, which is just absolutely amazing, and she is so talented. You see the passion that everyone has for the world that she has created, and it’s just fantastic to extend it.”

The Potter spinoff trilogy, Fantastic Beasts, will be filmed at the Leavesden studio and released over the coming years. Warner Bros. has said the David Yates-directed first installment will hit theaters on Nov. 18, 2016, with filming set to start later this year. The second film will be released in November 2018, with the third installment set for November 2020. When asked what else may be next for Leavesden, said Tsujihara: “Right now, we are focused onFantastic Beasts. And Jo has a storyline in her head, and right now, we are letting her go [with it].”

The article discussed the opening of the Hogwarts Express expansion at Leavesden, explaining the importance of the expansion and it’s iconic importance to the Harry Potter world. They went on to talk about how the Hogwarts Express represented the  creativity of the studios, and Warner Bros. partnership with British studios.

In his comments, Berger lauded Tsujihara for championing the U.K. studio and for having been “the driving force” behind “our ongoing and expanded partnership with Jo Rowling.”

He also called the new Hogwarts Express attraction “an example of the creativity and craftsmanship that exists here,” as well as part of Warners’ commitment to investing in the U.K.

The extensive article can be read here.

SnitchSeeker also had the amazing opportunity of sitting down with Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley) and discussing the Hogwarts Express expansion. The video of the interview with SnitchSeeker can be seen here.

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17. Rupert Grint’s “Moonwalkers” picked up by Alchemy

Rupert Grint’s new movie, Moonwalkers, made its debut at the SXSW film festival, and was picked up by Alchemy. Alchemy bought all the North American rights to the movie upon seeing it’s world premiere. Variety reports:

Ron PerlmanRupert Grint and Robert Sheehan star in “Moonwalkers,” based on the premise that Stanley Kubrick secretly shot the famous images of the moon landing in a studio, working for the U.S. government. Perlman portrays a CIA agent who teams with Grint, the manager of of a seedy rock band.

The film was written by Dean Craig. Georges Bermann (Partizan Films) produced and Sylvain Goldberg, Serge de Poucques, Peter de Maegd, Tom Hameeuw and Grégoire Melin served as co-producers.

Alchemy’s Jeff Deutchman negotiated the deal with Melin and Ram Murali of Kinology and UTA Independent Film Group on behalf of the filmmakers.

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18. Emma Thompson Officially “Mrs. Potts,” “Beauty and the Beast” Casting Update

Recently, Emma Watson’s Beauty and the Beast was given an official release date–it will hit theaters in 3D on March 17, 2017. The cast list has also been updated. Emma Thompson was rumored to be in the talks of playing the role of Mrs. Potts; now it appears that the Harry Potter alum has been officially added to the cast list. Kevin Kline also has joined the cast, as Maurice, Belle’s inventive father. MTV writes:

Now we’ve learned that this latest version of the classic fairy tale will officially hit theaters in 3D on March 17th, 2017. A long time to wait, but hey, at least you don’t have to spend all that time as a candlestick, right? And in the meantime, the live-action film has expanded its cast to include another “Emma” — namely Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts…

But that’s not all! Thompson will also be joined by Kevin Kline as Belle’s father, aka “Crazy Old Maurice.” You’ll get to hear an all-new recording of that song in this version, by the way, along with two new songs written by the Academy Award-winning duo Alan Menken and Sir Tim Rice.

Menken, who scored the animated 1991 original, will also score the new film as well, which begins production in London this May. Bill Condon (“Dreamgirls,” “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn“) will direct based on a screenplay by “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” writer Stephen Chbosky.

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19. Film Shooting for “Beauty and the Beast” to being this May

Emma Watson and the cast of Disney’s new live-action Beauty and the Beast have been so recently announced. Other Harry Potter actors, Emma Thompson (Professor Trelawney) as Mrs. Potts and Timothy Spall (Peter Pettigrew) as Maurice, are still only rumored to join the cast. However, producer Todd Lieberman is so excited for the project, that he cannot wait to begin shooting for the film this spring! It has been confirmed that filming for Beauty and the Beast will begin May 18, in London. Radio Times reports:

 

The Beauty and the Beast production will shoot from 18th May with Harry Potter star Emma Watson as Belle.

Lieberman – who’s worked on Warm Bodies and The Muppets – cannot wait to get started on the project. “Beauty and the Beast we’re wildly excited about,” he explained to Collider. “That’s shooting in London.”

“We’ve got Emma Watson, we’ve got Bill Condon directing, and Stephen Chbosky wrote our script. It’s really fun, and we couldn’t be happier about that.”

Also rumoured to be featuring in the movie musical is Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson, who is believed to be playing Mrs. Potts, meanwhile there are whisperings that Mr Turner star Timothy Spall could play Maurice.

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20. J.K. Rowling Tweets almost done with 3rd Cormoran Strike Novel

J.k. Rowling took a writing break to tweet at fans about otters and Robert Galbraith’s new novel. She told fans to “bide their time” for a relationship between Robin and Strike. After all, they have only known each other for one year, and Robin is still engaged to Matthew. She did give fans hope that a new article would be out soon, saying in her Twitter feed:

.@JanineHaines @RGalbraith says to tell you he’s very close to finishing his third. He still doesn’t know his Twitter password.

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21. Radio Times Reviews Leavesdens’ Hogwarts Express Expansion

A few lucky contest winners were able to take a sneak peak at Leavesden Studio’s rather large and steamy addition. One of the lucky ones was a writer for Radio Times, who was happy to share her experience. She writes:

The Hogwarts Express has finally pulled into Platform 9 3/4, and some very lucky competition winners and I are running through a magical wall to see it before the rest of the Muggle world. The sign for Platform 9 3/4 looms overhead and as we chug excitedly towards it there’s a tiny hint of Dementor-induced dread. When you’ve been waiting almost 20 years to hop aboard that magical train to Hogwarts your hopes are rather high.

Any speculative trepidation is well and truly sorted as we stroll through the arch and onto Harry Potter’s magical platform, where the original Hogwarts Express is shining, steaming and screaming in all its crimson glory.

And to make things even more magical, we’ve been given the first tickets to ride on a magical trip down movie memory lane.

Each of the little cabins are perfectly preserved, taking us – much like Kennilworthy Whisp’s iconic Quidditch title – through the ages, from Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone all the way to The Deathly Hallows.

From Lavender Brown’s iconic declaration of train window love for her “Won Won” to the tattered suitcases and empty sweet wrappers, everything is exactly as Harry, Ron and Hermione left it. You’d be forgiven for thinking they’d just nipped off to the loo.

A little further down the surprisingly narrow corridor there’s even an opportunity to have a sneak peek at the mouth-watering train trolley. From pumpkin pasties to chocolate frogs, it’s teeming with magical treats we’d love to eat. Some of the delightful delicacies are on offer in the station shop, which sits beside a trio of magical wall-shattering trolleys. Putting your feet up in the comfort of a Hogwarts Express cabin isn’t a bad way to take the weight off: the fact that you can watch the wizarding world fly by outside your window is an added bonus.

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22. Rupert Grint in “Moonwalkers”

A number of video clips have been released of Rupert Grints new film project, Moonwalkers. The new movie makes it’s debut and premier in Austin, Texas at the SXSW festival. In the film, Rupert plays a character named Jonny. Neither Wikipedia nor IMDB offer a plot description from the movie, but it is safe to deduce that this film is for a much more mature audience (based on the use of drugs and alcohol). It is a period drama that tells of a conspiracy of how we landed on the moon. It looks like we’ll just have to watch it to find out! The new clips can be seen below, the Instagram mini clip can be seen here. Ice Cream Man reported, saying:

This snippet gives us more dialogue from Jonny, as well as a great interaction between Rupert and Robert

 

The clip shows the first meeting between Rupert’s character, Jonny, and Ron Perlman‘s character, Kidman.

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23. Emma Watson in “Vicar of Dibley” Red Nose Sketch for Comic Releif

Last night, Emma Watson made an appearance on a “Vicar of Dibley” sketch for Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day 2015. Red Nose Day also hosted other comical skits, including the band “No Direction” based off the British boy band, One Direction. Red Nose Day raised over 78,000,000 pounds for the Comic Relief charity. Red Nose Day collected donations for building schools and educational programs, and changing children’s lives in the U.K. and across Africa. Emma Watson’s role in the telethon highlighted her recent activity as an activist for women’s rights, according to the Daily Mail:

And the actress used her participation in Friday night’s Red Nose Day as an opportunity to mix the cause with a little comedy as she appeared in Vicar Of Dibley sketch alongside Dawn French.

Emma was seen among a host of women – including Maureen Lipman and Ruth Jones – who were vying for the job of archbishop, after Dawn was informed that women now qualified for the role.

‘It’s so good to see you,’ Emma told Ruth as she laid eyes on her. ‘You’re just my total crush.’

As the women jabbed at each other’s weight, height, age and sense of humour, the Harry Potter star quipped: ‘I’d love a feisty bishop; going on Question Time, protesting on the streets. 

‘A bishop that’s funny, not just funny looking. A bishop that can make us laugh as well as think…’

However as the competition intensified between them all, Dawn’s character pointed out: ‘If we were all men, we’d be bishops by now, wouldn’t we? Instead we find ourselves in this absurd situation where the men only choose one of us.’

 

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24. Rupert Grint at SXSW Film Fest to Premiere “Moonwalkers”

As previously reported, Rupert Grint was to make an appearance today at the SXSW Film Fest, where his new movie, Moonwalkers was set to premiere. Rupert was met by large crowds and flocks of girls. Pictures of his even can be seen here. The Ice Cream Man reports:

Rupert Grint joined his fellow Moonwalkers co-stars Robert Sheehan and Ron Perlman for the North American premiere of the film at SXSW

If you’re in Texas, specifically in Austin, you can catch the film two more times on the 17th and the 19th of this month. For times and where the movie is playing you can go here.

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25. “Beauty and the Beast” to be released March 2017, Le Fou Casted

Emma Watson’s Beauty and the Beast has been signed a release date. Disney’s new live-action princess movie is intended to hit theaters March 17, 2017. The Hollywood Reporter stated:

On the heels of the big opening of Disney’s Cinderella this past weekend, Disney has dated its live-action fairy-tale retelling Beauty and the Beast for March 17, 2017.

Emma Watson is starring as Belle while Dan Stevens will play the Prince/Beast. Luke Evans will play the role of Gaston. Emma Thompson has joined the cast as Mrs. Potts and Kevin Kline as Belle’s father, Maurice. Production on the project, which will include some CG magic, will kick off in May at Shepperton Studios in London.

Bill Condon is directing from a script by Stephen Chbosky with an earlier version by Evan Spiliotopoulos. Mandeville Films’ David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman are producing. AlanMenken, who won two Academy Awards for the 1991 animated classic, will score the film, which will feature new recordings of the original songs in addition to several new songs written byMenken and Sir Tim Rice

The Hollywood Reporter also wrote that Josh Gad, the voice of Disney’s Olaf from Frozen, is to join the cast as Le Fou, Gaston’s buffoon-like, evil assistant.

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