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26. 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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27. 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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28. 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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29. 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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30. 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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31. 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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32. “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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33. 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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34. 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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35. 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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36. 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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37. 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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38. Tom Felton’s Documentary to Air March 23

As reported previously, Tom Felton created a documentary about meeting “super fans.” Those of us who make up the truly dedicated, often called “obsessed” by others, to our favorite books, movies, and TV franchises. As we reported earlier, Tom’s new documentary will feature new interviews with Dan, Rupert, and J.K. Rowling. BBC Three posted a picture of Tom, in Stormtrooper gear with Darth Vader’s hand upon his shoulder, with a captioned date. The documentary, Tom Felton Meets the Super Fans, will air on BBC 3 Monday, March 23, at 9 pm.

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 11.20.32 PM

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39. Emma Watson featured in “Total Film” Magazine

In January, Emma Watson posted a sneak preview of her interview with Total Film magazine on her Facebook page. In the interview she talked of her upcoming role in the drama Colonia, singing for Beauty and the Beast, as well as producing (in addition to starring in) Queen of the Tearling with David Heyman (Harry Potter producer). In the preview that Emma posted, which can be seen below, Total Film called Colonia Emma’s “most adult role yet.” Colonia portrays Colonia Dignidad, a religious commune (full of underground torture chambers) set up by a low-ranking Nazi who was kicked out of Germany for child molestation. In the movie, Emma plays the role of a flight attendant who infiltrates the cult after her boyfriend was taken prisoner. Her co-star, Daniel Bruhl, commented that it was a big transition away from Harry Potter in her acting career. SnitchSeeker reported Emma’s comments on Colonia, saying:

‘It really challenged me. It really pushed me to the brink, this role.’

‘I got sent the script and my agent sent me the Wikipedia page on Colonia Dignidad.

‘I immediately went, “oh my God, I’m not sure!” it was really, really, really heavy and really awful subject matter but the script was such a page-turner and so well written and I’m really a big fan of Daniel Brühl.

‘I really liked the Director [Florian Gallenberger]. It all just kind of felt right: a really intelligent female leading role character. It felt like the right thing to do.’

Emma continued, talking of her film career, Potter and post-Potter, and how she never expected or anticipated becoming a famous actress. Vanity Fair reported on this part of the Total Film interview, writing:

“I never really thought necessarily I’d become an actress or become famous – it was something that happened to me – they came to my school,” she revealed, referring to the Harry Potter casting directors, who plucked her from obscurity to play Hermione Granger when she was 10 years old. “They saw me and they took photographs of me. I was taken up to London to audition. I just happened to be picked up and put in one of the biggest film franchises of all time.”

“I wanted to feel active in what happened to me in my life. I wanted to be able to move myself into a place where I felt like I was driving my career and my life, rather than just responding to things that happened to me,” she told Total Film. “I wanted to try and make it on my own.”

Building upon these comments, and building her portfolio, Emma also talked of taking on the role of a producer, in her upcoming role in Queen of the Tearling. The Telegraph reported on this, saying:

She is working with Harry Potter producer David Heyman, in an executive producer role on a multi­part adaptation of fantasy series Queen Of The Tearling in which she will also star.

“I really like it,” she told the magazine. “For me, to want to sign up to a series again, I wanted to have a certain amount of autonomy and control within that.

“Working with David’s been great. I’d love to direct something one day. I’d love to produce as well, so it’s quite a nice way to start learning about that. Yeah, just dipping my toes into that world.”

Watson added: “It feels like I was building a portfolio over the last five, six years.

“Now I feel like I’m ready to really be carrying films. I’m really just ready now to focus on my career full time and go full steam ahead. It’s exciting at the moment.”

The interview went on, explaining how a singing role, as Belle in Disney’s upcoming live-action Beauty and the Beast, was also diversifying Emma’s portfolio of acting roles. The Telegraph told of Emma’s fear of singing for a role from the interview with Total Film:

Emma Watson, the actress, has spoken of her fear of singing on screen for the first time, disclosing the prospect as “terrifying”.

Watson, the former Harry Potter star, is to play Belle in a forthcoming live action version of Beauty and the Beast.

In her first interview about the role, with Total Film magazine, she disclosed parts of her performance were already appearing to seem daunting.

“I sing, so that’s really unexpected,” she said. “I’ve never had to do that for a film role before, and I think people will be interested to see me do something very different like that.

“It gives me a different challenge, really. That’s terrifying in and of itself!”

This very extensive interview with Total Film will hit stands tomorrow, Friday, March 12.

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40. More on Rickman’s “A Little Chaos”

As reported previously, Alan Rickman was relieved to begin a new post-Potter project called A Little Chaos. The New Zealand Herald has reported more from Rickman on his new project:

 

“I wasn’t free until now because I started doing Harry Potter and when I started there were only three books written so I didn’t know I was going to be unable [to direct],” he said. “Because if you’re going to direct a film it’s over a year of your life and I didn’t have that. So once I had finished with that series of films I was free and then along came this wonderful script.

“There is a Versailles, there was a Louis XIV but there was certainly never a woman landscape gardener and in a way that’s the point of the film – what does it look like to have a woman with a job in a world that was completely dominated by men? It’s a fantasy really.”

While the Rickman/Winslet combo seems a likely one to attract audiences, Rickman says it wasn’t actually easy to get this film off the ground – perhaps because none of the characters have a super power nor do they wear a catsuit.

Instead, the men in this film wear ostentatious 17th century wigs and the women wear overflowing, bosom-baring gowns.

“It’s difficult these days to make a film like that, to finance it. It’s all right if it’s a long series on television, but the movies as we know are full of comic books and superheroes. You’ve got to fight hard,” Rickman says.

“But people always needs to be told a story. It’s patronising to people to think that they just want bubblegum with the bubblegum.”

A Little Chaos centres on Winslet’s character, Sabine De Barra, a landscape designer who has been hired by Louis XIV’s landscape artist Andre Le Notre.

It’s a character driven piece that focuses on a love story developing between De Barra and Le Notre, played by Matthias Schoenaerts (Rust and BoneThe Drop).

Rickman is confident people who go to see the film will become immersed in the story thanks to Winslet.

“It’s an extraordinary experience to have worked with somebody when they’re 19 and then to revisit a working relationship when she’s 37, and with kids and life history,” Rickman said of Winslet, who was drawn to the feminist film.

“It’s definitely feminist. It’s written by a woman [Alison Deegan] and it’s a set in a world where men dominated and women are decorative objects so that’s another reason for Kate wanting to be involved,” he said.

In other words, it’s set in a time where Kate Winslet’s character couldn’t possibly exist – she’s a single, independent, self-made gardener.

At one point in the film, De Barra stands up for a group of other women and Rickman says he’s surprised by how many men are moved by the scene.

“It’s not like it’s tubthumping (the feminist message), but it’s in there,” he said.

Rickman is also in there, playing a convincing Louis XIV and he says he has now returned to the “day job” of acting.

Although he hasn’t quite finished with his directorial duties on A Little Chaos just yet.
“It takes a long time to shrug a film off that you’ve directed,” he said.

However, this is one film he doesn’t mind living with a little while longer.

“It’s OK because I’m proud of it and I’m proud of the work that everybody did in it, so it’s like you’re holding up the flag for a different kind of story telling.”

Rickman may be best known to older fans as sadistic terrorist Hans Gruber in Die Hard, or the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves.

Despite his recent turn as the morally ambiguous Snape in the Potter films, Rickman dismisses a suggestion he is best known for playing bad guys.

“I’m not particularly known for it, except maybe 25 years ago.”

Louis XIV was known as the Sun King and his reign is associated with opulent architecture, aggressive French expansionism and a ruthless bid to extend his family rule to Spain.

However, Rickman insists his Louis is not a bad guy, simply “somebody trapped by his birth”.

“I think if you’re called Louis XIV you didn’t have much choice in the matter.”

 

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41. Trailer for Matt Lewis’ “Bluestone 42″

As reported previously, Matthew Lewis (Neville) is back to work on a new season of BBC Three’s TV series, Bluestone 42. In the series, Lewis plays a soldier in a bomb disposal unit serving in Afghanistan. A new trailer for this new season has been posted, the first episode of the season aired this past Monday, March 9.

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42. Daniel Radcliffe Filming a new Project

Daniel Radcliffe began filming for his upcoming project, Now You See Me: The Second Act, in Macau. The movie is a sequel to the 2013 hit, Now You See Me, that followed a group of illusionists as they pulled off a major bank heist and awarded their audience with the money. Many of the star-studded cast (Dave Franco, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Jesse Eisenberg) has returned for the second movie, which introduces Dan as a new character named Walter. IMDB currently does not support any official plot synopsis at this time, though rumors are circling. Macau News reported the filming of the new project, warning local citizens:

 

Shooting for a Hollywood film is taking place in Macau today, forcing the city to temporary shutdown roads, bus stops and meter parking spaces in the city centre and Macau Science Centre from today until next Thursday, the Transport Bureau (DSAT) said in a statement on Tuesday. The bureau urged residents to be aware of the special road arrangements made for the shooting of the film from today until next Thursday.
 
The bureau said that Rua da Felicidade and an area around the Sao Domingos Municipal Market would be closed from tomorrow and Friday from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. for the shooting of the film.
 
The roads around Macau Science Centre will be closed tomorrow, Friday and next Wednesday from 2 p.m. until 9 p.m. and bus stops there will also be suspended.
 
The area around Lan Kuai Lau (Rua das Estalagens), the old quarters just off Largo do Senado, will be closed next Wednesday and next Thursday from 12 noon until midnight… [T]he Facebook page of “Simply Daniel Radcliff” posted earlier this week that “Now You See Me 2 filming in Macau from March 12 – March 18”.

According to previous media reports, the sequel, directed by Jon M. Chu, will have a scene shot in Macau when Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliff and Taiwanese singer/actor Jay Chou meet. The reports also said that some of the local scenes will be shot at a Sands casino.

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43. J.K. Rowling receives Humanitarian Award from British Red Cross

On Tuesday, March 10, J.K. Rowling was awarded the British Red Cross Humanity Award for her work through Lumos and the Ann Volant Charitable Trust. The Red Cross bestowed Ms. Rowling with this award for her significant work with advocating humanitarian causes. As we know Lumos works to free children from institutionalized care, and put them into loving family homes. Ms. Rowling has contributed to many other causes in addition to Lumos, through her Volant Charitable Trust, being president of the Gingerbread charity, and other personal philanthropy. The Red Cross reported on their website:

 

The award honours prominent philanthropists and humanitarians whose work has changed people’s lives across the world.

The author – made famous by the Harry Potterseries of books – was chosen to receive the award in recognition of both her charitable work and advocacy for humanitarian issues.

J.K. Rowling is founder and president of the international charity Lumos, which works to transform the lives of disadvantaged children across the world. She is also president of the Gingerbread charity for one-parent families

Active in charities:

In 2000, the writer set up the Volant Charitable Trust, which supports a wide number of causes related to inequality and social deprivation. The trust has supported the Red Cross and its disaster appeals over a number of years.

Previous recipients of the British Red Cross Humanity Award have included Nelson Mandela, Sir Bob Geldof and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

J.K. Rowling was presented with her award by British Red Cross chief executive Mike Adamson in Edinburgh today.

‘Distinguished company’

Following the presentation, J.K. Rowling said: “I have long admired the impact of the Red Cross’ work in the aftermath of conflict or a disaster, and it is a privilege to help support it.

“I am truly honoured to accept this Red Cross Humanity Award and to find myself in such distinguished company.”

Mike Adamson added: “Few people can have touched as many lives through their generosity and courage to speak out as J.K. Rowling – she is an inspiration to others.”

 

 

J.K. Rowling documented the award on her facebook page:

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44. Gaston & the Beast Cast Opposite Emma Watson

Emma Watson once again put rumors and speculations to rest with a couple of tweets. According to Emma’s Twitter feed, Dan Stevens will be playing her Beast, and Luke Evans as Gaston.

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45. Throwback Thursday: The Guardian reviews “Chamber of Secrets”

The Guardian recently published a review of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. As many of us may recall, this book originally hit bookstores in the UK in 1998, and in the USA one year later in 1999. The Guardian’s review mainly summarizes the novel, giving a brief opinion at the very end:

This is another great story by J.K. Rowling. It shows how Harry and Ron get on throughout the ‘clever stuff’ without Hermione and how the Chamber of Secrets was supposedly opened before by their biggest friend. It also shows a side of Hogwarts possibly without Dumbledore.

Just like the first book this is superbly written with amazing descriptions to make you feel as if you are Harry attending Hogwarts!

However, it is a good opportunity to sit back and reflect on our memories of when Chamber of Secrets entered our lives. Back when Harry was just getting off the ground on his Nimbus 2000, it has been nearly 16 (or 17 in the UK) years since the publication of Chamber of Secrets, and so much has unfolded within the Harry Potter world since then. Please share your tales with us in the comments below!

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46. J.K. Rowling to be featured in “Unions Matter: A Reader”

The National Union of Public and General Employees is releasing a second 40-page booklet on why employee unions matter. Both volumes one and two contain essays, quotes, quips, and images from various sources that are in support of unions. The second volume features J.K. Rowling, along side other big names such as Bruce Springsteen. It is not quite clear how our favorite author will be featured, as  The NUPGE reports:

The 40-page booklet is available now and pulls together a diverse range of quotes, quips, essays and images about the myriad ways in which unions make the world a better place.

“It’s not just members who benefit from unions, it’s their entire community,” says NUPGE National President James Clancy. “By giving everyday people a voice, unions reduce income inequality, strengthen the economy, promote democracy, spread fairness, defend dignity, and make sure that everybody has a shot at prosperity and contentment.

“Our goal with the reader is to remind everyone of all these beautiful ways that unions matter.”

The first edition of the reader was published in 2014 and featured the voices of Homer Simpson, Ken Dryden, Martin Luther King Jr., and Matt Damon. This second edition features Bruce (The Boss) Springsteen, J.K. Rowling, Linda McQuaig, and Rick Mercer.

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47. Jason Isaac’s New “Must-See” TV series “Dig”

Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy) stars in the lead role of USA’s new TV series, Dig. The pilot episode of the new series airs tomorrow, March 5, and already has rave reviews. Isaacs plays a detective, Peter Connelly, who works in Jerusalem. As he investigates the murder of a young woman, an archaeologist, he uncovers “a conspiracy 2000 years in the making” (IMDB). Many reviews have praised the new series, including an article from the Las Angeles Times, which Jason Isaacs tweeted. The LA Times states:

Equally unique, at least among the USA lineup of character-driven procedurals, “Dig” is more entertainment than education, though one will no doubt feel compelled to Google at least some of the show’s iconography. Combining the sort of conspiracy theory that made Dan Brown rich with the endless fascination of Jerusalem, Raff and Kring set their story at the nexus of Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

There’s also a cult leader (David Costabile) raising a boy in seclusion in the middle of the New Mexico desert, an archaeologist who may or may not be seeking the ark of the covenant, and Anne Heche as the complicated head of the FBI in Jerusalem. Most important, however, there’s Jason Isaacs, heartbroken and unleashed. As FBI agent Peter Connelly, in Jerusalem to recover from personal tragedy, Isaacs roils with pain and the ongoing curse of clarity.

So withdrawn and taciturn that his only friend is his supervisor (and sometime-lover) Lynn Monahan (Heche), Peter is, of course, constantly in conflict with local authorities. Including and especially Det. Golan Cohen (Ori Pfeffer), with whom he will, naturally, partner to investigate the murder of a young American.

Although designed for high-octane enjoyment — marketplace chase scenes, shootouts, enigmatic zealots, mysterious talismans — “Dig” takes its time, weaving its various plots together in a way both tantalizing and occasionally maddening. Certain scenes in early episodes make it clear that those involved in the conspiracy are willing to go to Any Lengths, though by the end of the third hour, we have no idea for what.

Tension is good, but the longer you build up any mystery, the more shocking and clever it dang well better be — the Grail was a woman! Soylent Green is people! Brody still isn’t dead! (No, wait, wrong show.)

The religious overlap — both Christian and Jewish extremists appear to be involved; the word is still out on the Muslims — lends “Dig” a certain resonance and depth, just as the location work in Jerusalem gives it authenticity. But in the end, it’s about a man who needs to save the world to save himself. Or maybe it’s the other way around.

Either way, “Dig” promises to be a whole lot of crazy fun to watch, proof that TV can be as wild and exciting as it is political and penetrating. And all on the same night.

 

The trailer for the series can be seen below. A caution to viewers, this show is geared towards an older/mature audience, and may contain disturbing images.

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48. New Harry Potter Figurines from SlideShow Collectibles

SlideShow Collectibles has released a new line of figurines (dolls) consisting of four Harry Potter characters–Ron, Harry, Sirius, and Voldemort. Comparable to the Toner Collectibles (if not even more cool), each handcrafted doll comes with many accessories, including interchangeable hands to hold wands, broom sticks, magical effects (plastic fire, and a magical effect), or in Ron’s case, chicken legs to stuff his face with. Both Harry and Ron figurines are replications of Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint, as they appeared in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Sirius Black is a true representation of Gary Oldman from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, while Voldemort is modeled after Ralph Fiennes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Part 2. Each of the dolls come at a pretty price, but are beautifully and accurately crafted. You can read more about the intricacy of each doll on SlideShow, or even flip through the amazing photographic scenes that each doll is posed in on it’s individual page. Comprehensive photos of each doll, and the accessories pertaining to each, can be seen below.

 

902317-ron-weasley-009 902321-sirius-black-008 902316-harry-potter-013 902318-lord-voldemort-010

 

Thanks to SnitchSeeker for the tip!

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49. “Just Jim Dale” Show coming to London

Jim Dale, narrator of the American editions of the Harry Potter books on tape, is bringing his comedy show, “Just Jim Dale,” to London theaters. Dale’s show experienced much success off Broadway in New York, and is moving towards high hopes for the same success at Vaudeville Theatre. The show will run from 26 May – 20 June. Jim Dale is known for his theatrics, having won a Tony Award, two Grammy Awards, and has been a two-time nominee for an Academy Award. The show’s website describes the show as follows:

Jim Dale is one of the world’s great stage entertainers: singer, dancer, comedian, Shakespearean actor, raconteur. In Just Jim Dale,Jim takes audiences on a journey through an unequalled career in the theatre with a myriad of irresistible showbiz tales, songs and performances – a career extending from performing as the youngest professional comedian on the British Music Hall stage, to joining the National Theatre at the request of Sir Laurence Olivier, starring in 11 Carry On films, his Broadway triumphs in Scapino, Barnum and Me and My Girl, and then his uproarious experiences narrating all seven Harry Potter audiobooks for the US market.

Book now for an unforgettable evening with a consummate stage personality, encompassing stories from the vast breadth of Jim’s theatrical work, film roles and beloved songs!

Tickets, critical acclaims, and photos of the event can be seen at justjimdale.com. Many thanks to Antonia, Marketing Manager at Nimax Theatres, for the news tip!

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50. Happy Birthday to Remus Lupin!

Today we honor and celebrate the great Remus Lupin’s birthday. On this day, let us remember this great auror, friend, husband, father, and teacher. Today, please join us in wishing this wonderful character, who taught us the valuable lesson–that chocolate keeps the dementors away–a very happy birthday!

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