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26. Our Top 25 favourite J.K. Rowling tweets!

Recently, J.K. Rowling took to Twitter to give us the news that there will not be a Harry Potter TV show, nor will there be a ‘Potter-on-Ice’. But rather than crushing our dreams (well, it did a little, if we’re honest), the hilarious ‘image of Ice Voldemort performing the triple salchow’ perfectly depicts Jo’s mastery of Twitter.

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She sure knows how to use those 140 characters; thankfully, her early Twitter days of saying ‘you won’t be hearing from me very often’ didn’t last long. Her social media presence has become prevalent and powerful. She tweets for any occasion and cause, but most importantly, just to connect with her fans. As she answers fans’ questions, or stands up for what she believes in, Jo’s humour never fails to draw media and fans’ attention, love, and favouritism.

Without further ado, here are 25 of our favourite (and most hilarious) J.K. Rowling twitter moments – enjoy!

1) Her continued rage at desktop printers:

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2) The time we had no idea what was going on:

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Maybe a reference to Stephen Hawking’s ‘Zayn Malik in a parallel universe’ theory, but either way, it’s brilliant.

3) When #AddGoatRuinAQuote was used and responded to perfectly:

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Ah, of course, the wise words of Aberforth Dumbledore, the goat charmer.

4) When she ‘Can’t decide whether touched or scared’ by our loyalty:

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5) Behold, the flugly owl:

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The perfect gift for a Hogwarts first year. If it can actually carry letters and fly.

6) The time Jo cleared up that issue with the names of Harry Potter’s kids:

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7) Proof that Jo is, indeed, hardcore:

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8) We thought she’d never answer this question… 

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…And she didn’t, until very recently:

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9) And this question, well:

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10) In a parallel universe, Harry Potter doesn’t exist. Not because Jo is Zayn Malik, but because she’s an otter-weigher: 

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11) We can all agree on this one:

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12) Jo may not kill off as many characters as George R.R Martin, but she still feels bad about the ones she does kill:

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13) The only way to celebrate Ireland’s victory:

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14) Followed by the only way for such a brilliant author to slam the haters:

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15) This is possibly our favourite burn of all time: 

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Especially seeing as Jo seems to be one of the biggest Serena Williams fans out there:

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16) Then there was that time that the world nearly broke her:

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is set to come out next year, and is most definitely not a prequel. You can find more information on the play’s website, and read more from playwright Jack Thorne here.

17) Perfect use of sarcasm:

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We also think that #fideliuscharm has got to be one of the best hashtags around.

18) The time Matthew Lewis (aka, Neville Longbottom) appeared on the cover of Attitude magazine, and was too hot for Jo to handle:

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19) Sometimes Tumblr knows her answers: 

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20) But, let’s face it: at the end of the day, Jo Rowling knows all:

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21) … Even if she can’t play tennis: 

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22) This one got us wondering just how many of these budgies she sees: 

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Almost as cute as these Potter-themed dogs:

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23) NOBODY TWEETS IN CAPITAL LETTERS AND GETS AWAY WITH IT.

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24) We’ve decided that pseudonyms work best when J.K. Rowling uses them:

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And we definitely have to agree with Chris Rankin (aka Percy Weasley) on this one!

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Insulting your literal other half isn’t fair, Jo!

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This recent one gave us a laugh – we can only imagine the struggle of faux-quarrels with your writing partner:

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25) And finally, the reason we’re all here after all. 

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Not only has J.K. Rowling (and Robert Galbraith, of course!) given us books and films we know and love, but her sense of humour is absolutely spot on. Harry had to get his sass from somewhere!

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Make sure you give her Twitter page a visit, if you haven’t already!

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27. Video: Emma Watson asks Vogue Gender Equality Questions

Vogue has released a new video, featuring Emma Watson. The video accompany’s the recent interview Vogue conducted with Emma, as their cover girl for the UK September issue. In the video, Emma talks about her HeForShe initiative and asks members of the fashion industry questions about gender equality within their field of work.

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28. Set Construction for “Fantastic Beasts”

With filming set to begin within a month or so for Fantastic Beasts, sets are starting to pop up around Leavesden Studios in London. Large out door sets. As the storyline is based in New York but filming is set to take place in London, can only reasonably guess that these sets are for the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them films.

Hypable first reported pictures of the set taken from a twitter account of a fan. The fan uses the Twitter handle TheGraninger, and was recently near Leavesden studios (stalking or taking a tour) and captioned the pictures “[these] pics can give us more clues on what’s happening on the set of #fantasticbeasts stay tuned for more! Follow [me]”.

Hypable reports:

The sets are presumably for shooting large exterior scenes — perhaps any scene set outdoors on busy New York streets. Remember, Fantastic Beasts is set in the Big Apple, and with shooting set to take place in England, it was inevitable that these types of sets would be built.

Expect more photos to surface — perhaps pictures that are more interesting — in the weeks ahead as principal photography gets underway.

Leavesden Studios is where all eight Harry Potter movies were filmed, so it’s bittersweet thatFantastic Beasts will also shoot there. Like this new spinoff series, the Harry Potter films would frequently construct sets outdoors (like Privet Drive).

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29. Actress Jenn Murray Joins the Cast of ‘Fantastic Beasts’

Comingsoon.net reports that Irish actress Jenn Murray has joined the cast of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and is set to take a key role within the production. According to the information of Comingsoon.net Ezra Miller, who will play Scamander’s rival, is set to share some scenes with Murray’s yet unnamed character.

Alongside Jenn Murray, the film will star Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller and Dan Fogler. Earlier this week we reported that actor Colin Farrell will also be joining the cast as Graves, a wizard that Scamander meets in New York and that the Warner Bros. open audition cast a ten year-old British new-comer Faith Wood-Balgrove to the role of Modesty.

Fantastic Beasts, the screenwriting debut of J.K. Rowling, is directed by David Yates and produced by David Heyman, Steve Kloves and Lionel Wigram. The film is set to premiere on November 18, 2016 in 3D and IMAX.

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30. Warner Bros. Reveals the Result of the London Casting Call for ‘Fantastic Beasts’

On July 18th, RadioTimes reported that an estimated 14,000 girls aged between eight and 12 stayed in line for hours to audition for the role of Modesty. One of our own Leaky editors was there to report on the event. Now Warner Bros. has revealed to BBC Newsround the results of the Open Casting for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them which took place on July 18th.

The name of the 10-year-old actress who has been cast to play a character named Modesty is Faith Wood-Balgrove. WB has described Modesty as “a haunted young girl with an inner strength and stillness. She has an ability to see deep into people and understand them.”

Faith Wood-Balgrove is set to join the star-studded cast of Fantastic Beasts later this month. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is set to release in November 2016.

Filming is to begin later this month. Please join us here at Leaky & warmly welcome Faith to the expanding Harry Potter family!

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31. Colin Farrell joins ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’

The cast of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them gains a new star as Colin Farrell, the star of HBO’s True Detective, joins the cast. Hollywood Reporter states:

“Farrell will play Graves, a wizard that Newt Scamander (Redmayne) meets in New York. The story centers on Newt’s adventures in the secret community of witches and wizards as he attempts to document magical creatures.”

The events of the film take place 70 years before Harry Potter reads Newt’s book at Hogwarts. Alongside Colin Farrell, the film will star Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Ezra Miller, Alison Sudol and Dan Fogler. Fantastic Beasts is directed by David Yates from a script written by J.K. Rowling herself.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is set for release on November 18, 2016.  Filming was expected to start in late summer of 2015, so we should expect more news soon. Please visit Hollywood Reporter for more news about the casting of Colin Farrell.

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32. If Wizards Took the London Tube

Forget broomsticks, apparition, the Floo Network, Thestrals, fly motorbikes with rickety sidecars, or flushing yourself down a toilet. A concept artist from Mashable has designed a wizarding world themed subway (tube) map of London–just incase wizards wanted to mind the gap, and crowd in with all of us muggle commuters.

The map itself is actually pretty accurate. For all wizarding world destinations in London, that is. Platform 9 3/4 has a stop where the real Kings Cross station would be located; the Ministry of Magic is located near Buckingham Palace; The Leaky Cauldron is one short stop away from the center of Diagon Alley, Gringotts, and Knockturn Alley; St. Mungo’s Hospital, Grimmauld Place and Wool’s Orphanage are nestled away in their corners of London.

Once one gets a little further away from the heart of London, the map diverges from it’s real life roots. Hogsmeade station, and surrounding stops, in Scotland is at the end of the north line. One can also presume that Azkaban wouldn’t be located in West London. The makers of the map did account for these diversions with a disclaimer.

Imagine hopping on the tube one morning and, rather than being squished up into the stinky armpit of a suited and booted city worker, you came face to face with Lucius Malfoy on his way to do some dodgy dealings in Knockturn Alley.
Now, let your dreams turn into reality as we bring the HP universe to London in this handy and – almost, sometimes, for a very small part – geographically correct tube map.

Okay, we know witches and wizards have better ways to beat the rush hour than leaving for the Leaky Cauldron ten minutes earlier than the morning hoards, and of course there isn’t one easy route from central London to the Weasley residence in Devon, but that’s besides the point. Laying the wizarding world over London makes it THAT much easier for us to pretend that we’re living amongst aurors and arithmancers, so why not? First stop, Diagon Alley.

Note: The users of this transport system have access to magical methods unavailable to the general public; traveling to the end of the Central Line will not get you to Azkaban.

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Next stop for us is The Leaky Cauldron of course!

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33. Feast Your Eyes Upon This Sweet Challenge–Only at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter

As part of their current Sweets and Treats exhibit, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter is offering a challenge to visitors. From now until September 6th, fans can take part in a guessing game to decide whether or not the goodies on display are real.

Snitchseeker, via an unspecified source, reports:

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter has recreated real and replica versions of recognisable treats from the Harry Potter film series; challenging fans to see if they can tell the difference between prop fakes and real bakes.

In celebration of Sweets and Treats opening at the Studio Tour for the first time this summer, expert cake maker Mary Luther, who worked behind the scenes on the Harry Potter film series, has remade edible versions of the prop sweets which were used during production.

Set against the backdrop of the iconic Great Hall, memorable for its mountainous feasts enjoyed by the students of Hogwarts, the sweets include dainty meringue swans, a mouth-watering strawberry and chocolate fudge cake, a sumptuous apple pie, miniature fruit tartlets and even some shiny red apples.

While all of the food items used during production looked delicious, they weren’t all as edible as they may have seemed! The Prop Department were often asked to recreate replica versions of some of the food which Mary’s team had baked, as the edible versions melted or spoiled under the hot studio lights (the real versions were saved for scenes where actors were shown eating).

Until Sunday 6th September, film fans are invited to spot the difference between real bakes and prop fakes at the Studio Tour as they get up close to original artefacts and see edible delights being created during Sweets and Treats.

To read the full article at Snitchseeker.com, please click here.

Those who are unable to visit the Studio Tour may also take part in another “sweet” challenge Warner Bros. is offering. Design your own “sweet treat packaging” and tweet the picture to @wbtourlondon for a change to have your packaging reimagined by MinaLima, the graphic designers of the Harry Potter films. The competition runs until August 24, 2015, but is only open to UK residents. For full details, please visit the Warner Bros. Studio Tour website.

To find out more about this exhibition and everything else on offer at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, click here.

 

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34. Emma Watson featured on Cover of September UK Vogue

Emma Watson is set to be featured on the cover of Vogue’s upcoming UK September issue. This is Emma’s second time on the cover of UK Vogue (previously appearing on the UK Vogue in December 2010), she has been featured on US Vogue (July 2011), Teen Vogue (July 2009), and in many articles throughout various editions of the magazine.

In her most recent interview with Vogue, Emma talked of becoming comfortable and accepting fame. Feeling uncomfortable with watching herself act, Emma said she felt peace after realizing she could use her fame and position for a good cause that she believed in. Taking on the position of Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women has given her a “purpose,” in which most loose ends she was grappling with “clicked into place.”

Moving forward with acting, in addition to her responsibilities to the UN, Emma has been featured in many post-Potter projects: Beauty and the Beast just wrapped up, Colonia is set to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, Regression is in post production and set to release later this year, and she recently signed with Tom Hanks in The Circle. But Emma told Vogue she constantly looks back at the start of it all, when she took on the role of Hermione. Vogue reports:

Watson has unarguably come a long way since she won the nation’s hearts as  Hermoine, the heroine of the Harry Potter films, studying at Oxford and Brown University as well as continuing acting. But that’s not to say she never looks back to when – and why – it all began.

“It’s something I’ve really wrestled with. I’ve gone back and I’ve quizzed my parents,” Watson said on having acting from such a young age. “When I was younger, I just did it. I just acted. It was just there. So now when I receive recognition for my acting, I feel incredibly uncomfortable. I tend to turn in on myself. I feel like an imposter… It was just something I did.”

“Part of me relaxed after I took on that position, it gave me a sense of belonging and purpose.” Watson told Vogue of her role as a Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women. “Everything clicked in to place, in a way that it hadn’t before. I understood what I’m here to do and knew where to channel all this energy that has been coming at me. I now feel this sense of peace. People say that I’m different since I did it.”

The September issue of UK Vogue will hit stands August 6. To read the full preview and see pictures, visit Vogue UK.

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35. A Very Geeky Weekend

GeekyCon was such a smash hit this weekend it temporarily broke Leaky! GeekyCon came to a close today after 3 days of fandoms colliding in perfect harmony and unity. The event started off right with an amazing article from Buzzfeed about GeekyCon and our very own Melissa. It was a weekend of love and friendship and giving, with the Harry Potter Alliance, Esther Earl Ball, Harry and the Potters, Starkid Potter and more.

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Look at that Circle of Love with Harry and the Potters.

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And all of those awesome fans saying “we are love” during a moving finale…

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…and dancing their heart out in remembrance of Esther Earl (real life’s Hazel Grace, and the inspiration for The Fault in Our Stars)…

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…and all those who showed just how popular and awesome Starkid Potter really is…

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…and discovering that the Harry Potter Alliance is just to cool to handle.

For more pictures visit GeekyCon’s Facebook and Twitter.

Bizjournals took a peak inside GeekyCon and interviewed some attendees, who couldn’t say enough about their enjoyment of the conference. There was lots of screaming, hugging, dancing, and talking. Held in Universal, fans enjoyed special events in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter that were included in the conference schedule. Over 5,000 fans came together like one big friendship family.

Attendees of GeekyCon enjoyed acting workshops, GeekyLit panels, writing panels, a live MuggleNet podcast, a game of Quidditch, too many panels on fandom discussions to name, and a chance to meet special guests and get autographs. The full schedule can be seen here.

Entertainment included Wizard Wrock: Harry and the Potters, Tonks and the Aurors, Draco and the Malfoys, and The Whomping Willows. Other music entertainers included Meghan Tonjes, Molly Lewis, Hannah Moroz and Lauren Fairweather. Other musical events included Disney, Broadway, and Glee singalongs.

Of course, we can’t forget the GeekyCon special guests. GeekyCon and LeakyCon have been honored to host many authors, screenwriters, actors/actresses, YouTube personalities, singers, directors, podcasters, and many many more. A few of this year’s special guests included: Jackie Emerson, Mary Kate Wiles, Maxwell Glick, Tessa Netting, Mike Rugnetta and Guy Norman Bee. Next year’s GeekyCon will welcome Divergent author, Veronica Roth.

The GeekyCon blog has posted full recaps of the first two days. There is nothing but gushings of love, appreciation and fun times for GeekyCon 2015 over all social media. It looks like attendees, volunteers, guests, and staffers had a truly magical experience. To discover more about GeekyCon, please visit their website. Follow the latest news in fandoms across the board on Leaky’s daughter site, Geekynews.com.

If you missed GeekyCon this year, have no fear, GeekyCon 2016 will be here before you know it! 2016 will also see the return of LeakyCon, as a mainly Harry Potter based fan conference. (Let’s face it, the Harry Potter fandom is so intertwined with other fandoms that there’s bound to be elements of other fandoms at LeakyCon, too. That’s how LeakyCon birthed GeekyCon, and LeakyNews birthed GeekyNews!) See you all next year!

 

 

 

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36. Natalia Tena and “Once Upon an Iceberg”

Natalia Tena (the beloved Tonks, or Nymphadora Tonks if you dare) has joined the cast of an animation short, Once Upon an Iceberg. The short description of the animated short calls the film “an ugly fairy tale with a lot of heart.” The animated short is currently in production, running at about 8 minutes total.

The film will be a combination of claymation and paint-on-glass drawings. Photos of production preparations and clay figures can be seen on the shot film’s Tumblr page. The most interesting photograph is of all the different 20 faces made for the protagonist, Tootega, one for every expression the character makes. The plot outline reads:

“When Tootega the Sea Witch catches Derek the Singing Merman in her net, she assumes she can use her powers to get rid of him, just like everyone else. Except Derek is not like everyone else, and Tootega soon finds her heart melting under Derek’s influence – quite literally.”

Natalia Tena will be playing the protagonist, Tootega the Sea Witch. Sam Apley, Tena’s partner from her musical band, Molotov Jukebox, will be taking the role of Derek the Singing Merman. It looks to be an incredible cute animated short film; we can’t wait to see it!

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37. Jack Thorne talks of working on “Cursed Child”

Playwright Jack Thorne has found himself thrust into the Harry Potter universe. Not only is he new to the insider world of of Harry Potter, but Thorne landed one of it’s most important roles, second to J.K. Rowling.

Jack Thorne wrote the script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, in collaboration with J.K. Rowling and director, John Tiffany. He described his job to the Times as having “to crawl inside J.K. Rowling’s head,” something all serious Potter-heads dream of doing. The article talks of Thorne’s process in creating the story and working with Jo Rowling. If you have a subscription to the Times, the whole article will make a good read. Luckily, MuggleNet was able to access the article and offers a good preview:

When asked if he was ready for his life to change, pretty much a guarantee for any artist involved in bringing a Harry Potter project to the world, Thorne responded that he hasn’t experienced much of that – yet.

Everyone said that [it’s going to make me famous]. Everyone said: ‘Wait for the announcement. It’s going to change everything.’ Then I sent out a tweet on the morning, just going: ‘I can’t talk about it, but I’m so proud to be part of it,’ sort of thing and phoned up Rach [his wife] about an hour and a half later because I was in town, and I couldn’t see my computer, and I was like: ‘How many retweets has it got?’ Sort of: ‘Am I now famous?’ And she went: ‘It’s got six.’ So OK, fame hasn’t visited me yet.

A bit later on, the article reveals how Thorne came to be involved with the project.

The Harry Potter play’s producer, Sonia Friedman, saw Let the Right One In, about a boy befriended by a vampire, which Thorne had adapted for the stage from the hit Swedish movie. She approached its director, John Tiffany, who recommended Thorne. He worked with JK Rowling on the story and wrote the script, now safely encrypted in his computer. All anyone will say is that it is not a prequel. Thorne was fully conversant with the Potter universe having read all the novels and sneaked into the films wearing his Ghostbusters T[-]­shirt to show the families he was ‘here for the genre’.

And finally, although Thorne doesn’t divulge any plot elements of Cursed Child, he does reveal a bit about his process of working on the play and what collaborating with J.K. Rowling is really like:

I’ve now had to read every book again and work out what spells do what. The detail that she produced is absolutely sensational. Looking back at The Fades I kind of go: ‘I wish I’d sketched the world even larger, the way that she did with Harry Potter.’ I just didn’t want to challenge the audience too much with too much stuff, so I was: ‘Always keep it simple.’ And actually, Jo doesn’t, and that’s what makes her so special. That’s the great thing about doing adaptations: you just learn so much. My job is to crawl inside her head.

Pottermore retweeted Harry Potter Play’s ticket announcement yesterday. It has bee confirmed that tickets for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will go on sale this fall. Those who have signed up for the Cursed Child email alerts are considered “priority members.” Tickets will be available to “priority members” before being released to the general public. Registration for priority booking is available on the play’s website.

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38. Daniel Radcliffe Joins the Cast of Upcoming FBI Thriller ‘Imperium’

Deadline reports that Daniel Radcliffe has been signed to play the lead role in a new FBI thriller, Imperium, from Atomic Features and Tycor International Film Company. According to Deadline:

“Radcliffe will star as a young FBI agent who goes undercover to find and stop white supremacists trying to make a dirty bomb. It’s based on the experiences of Michael German, an FBI undercover agent who spent years inside United States neo-Nazi and militia groups.”

The film, which is based on real events, is set to start filming in the fall. Imperium will be the feature film directorial debut of short film director, Daniel Ragussis. The script is co-written by Michael German and Ragussis. Imperium will be produced by Ty Walker, Dennis Lee and Simon Taufique.

With Imperium added to Radcliffe’s schedule, he is sure keeping busy. Later this year, Radcliffe can be seen in Fox’s Frankenstein retelling, Victor Frankenstein. In addition to that, Radcliffe is currently filming Swiss Army Man, an indie comedy with Paul Dano. In 2016, Radcliffe will make an appearance on television in an upcoming BBC2 TV film Game Changer as the co-founder of the Rockstar Games company Sam Houser.

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39. Happy 50th Birthday J.K. Rowling, Happy 35th Harry!

Today marks a mile stone of great celebration for our most beloved author. As Jo Rowling turns 50 today, we all feel like the entire world should be celebrating just wizards celebrated Harry’s victory over Voldemort (twice)! Celebrations that spill out into the streets, and make ignorant muggle folk ask “why?”.

J.K. Rowling told the Today Show last spring that she would indeed be celebrating her 50th birthday with family and friends. She did not cringe, as so many do, when asked about her age, but said it was a time of celebration, for the alternative to aging is “checking out,” and she had so much more like left to live. She updated her Twitter this morning, thanking everyone for the birthday messages; she is enjoying the sun (beach?) with her dog, family and friends…and some fans!

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We wish we were there to celebrate with her, too!

Today, many honor all of the great deeds Rowling has accomplished in her life thus far. We also celebrate all of the greatness yet to come. Entertainment Weekly posted a list of the 50 reasons they love Jo, and we quite agree. (Digital Spy supplemented 9 also very valid reasons to love our Harry Potter author.)

For item #20, EW included a 60 Minutes video of Jo from many, many years ago, posted by Leaky (with the old leakynews.com address stamped in the corner). Here are a few of our favorites out of their list of 50 amazing Jo moments:

1. She does not suffer bullies.

2) She’s funny. Her Twitter feed is rife with sly humor, whether she’slaughing at herself for typos, rolling along with followers’ jokes orgetting exasperated by Harry Potter rumors.

3) She’s filling in the Potter story on Pottermore.

4) She gives huge donations to charity (so much that it knocked her off Forbes’ billionaires list).

In 2012, Jo donated an estimated $160 million, and paid all of her hefty taxes (supporting the economy and government of her home country, rather than hiding money in off shore bank accounts). How can you not love her for that?

5) She touts great social causes on social media. As just one example, she recently tweeted support for imprisoned Saudi Arabian blogger Reif Badawi and Ireland’s legalization of gay marriage.

7) She’s kind to her fans, and always seems ready to answer their questions, no matter how random or specific.

8) She admits she made mistakes in the books!

13) She cares about children in need. In 2004, she founded the organization Lumos, to help children who have been unfairly institutionalized get better care.

15) She did her research when coming up with the names of spells (she looked at alchemy, the history of languages, etc.)

She did the same for wands, names of characters, and book titles!

17) She supports Hufflepuffs and has written on Pottermore that she thinks they’re the best.

20) She’s a great artist. Although all the editions of Harry Potter have used other illustrators, Rowling’s not bad at sketching her own characters. Recently, an annotated version of Sorcerer’s Stone with Rowling’s sketches was auctioned for charity.

24) She’s invited die-hard fans to her house.

26) She never talks down to her readers.

27) She proved anyone can take control of their life. At one time, Rowling has said, she was “literally as poor as you can get in Britain without being homeless.” Thanks to work ethic and imagination, she went on to become a celebrated author.

30) She’s completely mastered Twitter, and for someone who very rarely makes public appearances, she makes herself accessible to her followers.

34) She hasn’t read50 Shades of Grey

36) She once gave the best commencement speech we’ve ever heard.

38) She says that she’d want to be sorted into Gryffindor (and specifically answered Pottermore questions so she’d be sorted that way).

46) She owns a “Horcruxes Got Soul” t-shirt

49) She’s fighting to save the BBC.

50) She made Hogwarts tuition-free and subsidized by the Ministry of Magic so all witches and wizards could attend. Imagine if the Weasleys hadn’t been able to afford it!

Please read and enjoy the entire list on EW. Time magazine also decided to do something special for J.K. Rowling’s birthday. In honor of the 17 years it took her to complete one of the best (if not THE best) books series in the world, Time contacted 17 Harry Potter actors, and asked them to write brief birthday messages to Jo.

Many of them are absolutely hilarious, Matt Lewis and Natalia Tena’s messages are rather long and touching. Evanna’s was by far the longest, and she shared her experience of meeting Jo for the first time. These and many more can be read on the Time’s website. We have shared a few, short funny ones; take a look below:

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As it is well known, it is also Harry Potter’s birthday today. Harry turns 35. Working as head Auror (and the youngest to ever attain the position, at age 26) for Kingsley Shakelbolt’s Ministry of Magic, Harry continues to make defeating evil apart of his daily work. Harry is happily married, and a family man. He and Ginny will be sending their youngest, Albus Severus off to Hogwarts in a couple years.

Harry is forever the heart of the wizarding community and the wizarding world as we know it. His story will forever be a part of our lives–in our imaginations and in real life. We honor Harry today for his bravery, loyalty, and goodness. Just like his creator (Jo), his large heart shows goodness in small ways, as well as large.

Today, we not only honor the character who saved the wizarding world, but who also ensured Severus Snape’s portrait hung in the Headmaster’s office, made peace and acquaintanceship with Draco Malfoy, and occasionally has mini-family reunions with Dudley.

A Harry Potter fan on staff at the Telegraph wrote her own personal anecdote as to how Harry would be celebrating his birthday today. Not unlike his creator, he is happily surrounded by family and friends. Alice Vincent writes for the Telegraph:

It’s the summer holidays now, so James, Albus and Lily are all back home. Before he’s even able to put on his wire-framed, round glasses, Harry is woken up by them. Specifically, he’s woken up by a floating cake – a fun charm by Ginny, who has inherited her mother’s impressive domestic skills. Unfortunately, it brings back unpleasant memories for Harry, who at 15 risked expulsion from Hogwarts, after Dobby the House Elf dropped a cake on a family friend (an illegal use of underage magic for which he must take responsibility).

Thankfully, he is swiftly distracted by a flurry of owls, descendents of his beloved Hedwig, who died during his final year. They are delivering parcels from his friends, Hermione and Ron, now a married couple with two children, Hagrid, and his in-laws, Molly and Arthur Weasley.

Later, after Harry’s spent the day dealing with dark magical forces – and admin – they’ll all meet up at 12 Grimmauld Place for a bit of a party.

The Scamanders, [Rolf] and Luna (née Lovegood) and their twins Lorcan and Lysander, will be in attendance, along with Neville and Hannah Longbottom and some friends from the Ministry of Magic. As deputy head of Department of Magical Law Enforcement, it can be difficult for Hermione to get away from work. But she’s made an exception this evening, as Ron is bringing along the newest stock from the family joke shop, Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes, and the newest generation of Weasleys, Hugo and Rose, want to see their cousins.

Perhaps surprisingly, Harry keeps contact with his own cousin, Dudley. A birthday card arrived by Muggle post just this morning, with a rather perfunctory message.

When the celebrations are over, Harry will get back to what he usually does in his free time: flying around with his children.

In a less sentimental, in true standup-comedy fashion, Jimmy Fallon acknowledged Harry’s birthday with a “Drunk Ron Weasley” segment. The video can be seen on the Tonight Show’s Facebook page. Pottermore also tweeted a list of Harry’s best and worst birthday gifts over the years.

It is a day for cakes, Butterbeer, and Weasley Wizard Weazes. A collaboration of food artists have come together to bake a collection of sweets for the occasion. The group calls themselves “Birthday Mischief Managed.” Newswire reported:

The group, founded in July 2014, proudly honors some of the world’s most esteemed personalities and award winning artists in the food industry. Audiences may recognize work styles and faces of the participants from hit television series and competitions Cake Boss: Next Great Baker, Sugar Dome, Cake Wars, Ultimate Cake Off, Outrageous Chocolate, Halloween Wars, and more. Each member was asked to join based on their fanatic for the project and to “dress” for the occasion!

To celebrate J.K. Rowling’s birthday on July 31st, which coincidentally is Harry Potter’s birthday, the members of the group chose locations inspired by the books, movies, and Pottermore. Members were given artistic freedom to create original edible fan art celebrating or jinxing the birthdays of J.K. and Harry. An added challenge included incorporating 1-3, twists, “Easter Eggs” for J.K. and fans to find. Some of the sentiments include J.K.’s birthstone, birth month and favorite flowers (the Larkspur and Lily), and an orange support ribbon in memory of her mother.

Birthday creations by food artists and young fans can be see on their website. Maybe some of their Harry Potter themed desserts will inspire you to create your own!

We hope many of you will be throwing your own Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling birthday parties. All those celebrating with Melissa Anelli at GeekyCon have officially made July 31 “Geek Day” in Orange County, FL. Please share with us how you are celebrating today, and please join us in wishing J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter a very happy birthday!

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40. Happy Birthday, Neville!

30th July marks the 35th birthday of Neville Longbottom, a character who shows that we can prove ourselves to have more strength and courage than we could ever know.

At first appearance, Neville was an unexpected Gryffindor, and his first few years at Hogwarts were riddled with mishaps. He made his entrance as a clumsy boy looking for Trevor – his toad – on the Hogwarts Express.

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He was almost a hatstall at the Sorting Ceremony (pleading with the Sorting Hat to be in Hufflepuff), he melted Seamus Finnigan’s cauldron in his first Potions class, and broke his wrist at his first flying lesson. His luck never seemed to improve, as he was relentlessly mocked and bullied by Draco Malfoy (who pranked him with the Leg-Locker curse in their second term). Even in his first year, however, Neville showed us his courageous side, as he challenged Malfoy (and then proceeded to single-handedly take on Crabbe and Goyle) at the Gryffindor vs Hufflepuff match:

‘Neville went bright red but turned in his seat to face Malfoy.

“I’m worth twelve of you, Malfoy,” he stammered.

Malfoy, Grabbe and Goyle howled with laughter, but Ron, still not daring to take his eyes from the game, said, “You tell him, Neville.” ‘

The Chamber of Secrets saw Neville fearing for his life, facing the prospect of a basilisk in Hogwarts. Though pure-blood, he feared that his squib-like tendencies would lead to him being a target. In one of Gilderoy Lockhart’s lessons he is hung up on a chandelier by his ears, and utters what came to be his most famous quote:

‘Why is it always me?’

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In his third year, Neville revealed in Remus Lupin’s Defence Against the Dark Arts lesson on boggarts that his worst fear was Professor Snape, leading into the great scene in which boggart-Snape emerges wearing Neville’s grandmother’s clothes.

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He attended the Yule Ball with Ginny Weasley in his fourth year, after being declined by Hermione Granger.

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Neville was a devoted member of Dumbledore’s Army in his fifth year, being one of the first to sign up. After we learned that his tortured parents were being treated in St Mungo’s, and that three of their torturers had escaped Azkaban, Neville improved his skills with the DA at a significant rate. He accompanied the trio to the Ministry of Magic to save Sirius Black, was captured and briefly endured the Cruciatus Curse under Bellatrix Lestrange, attempting convince Harry to hand over the prophecy. It is in The Order of the Phoenix that we learn that as both Neville and Harry were born at the end of July to parents who had escaped Voldemort three times, they were both in line to becoming the child Sybill Trelawney’s prophecy spoke of, but Harry had been ‘marked’ as Voldemort’s equal as a baby:

‘The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches… born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies… and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not… and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives… the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies’

Neville returned to Hogwarts in The Deathly Hallows, and re-started Dumbledore’s Army, rebelling against the Death Eaters (specifically the brutal Carrows):

‘Alecto, Amycus’s sister, teaches Muggle Studies, which is compulsory for everyone. We’ve all got to listen to her explain how Muggles are like animals, stupid and dirty, and how they drive wizards into hiding by being vicious toward them, and how the natural order is being reestablished. I got this one ((indicates to a large gash on his cheek)) for asking her how much Muggle blood she and her brother have got.’

After being physically punished for his efforts, the Ministry targeted Neville’s grandmother as a method of blackmailing him, however, she managed to escape capture. This led to plans to kill Neville after singling him out as ring-leader of the rebels, and then to his subsequent hiding in the Room of Requirement, a newly-turned hiding place connected to the Hog’s Head and Aberforth Dumbledore.

During the Battle of Hogwarts, Neville received orders from Harry to set killing Nagini – Voldemort’s horcrux – to their highest priority, which he later fulfilled due to having pulled Godric Gryffindor’s sword out of the Sorting Hat. Neville’s bravery in directly standing up to Voldemort and his followers not only proved him worthy of the sword, but also proved just how much of a Gryffindor he had become (and always had been!).

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Later in life, Neville became an Auror, then Professor of Herbology at Hogwarts. He married Hannah Abbott, and they now live together above The Leaky Cauldron. Like other members of Dumbledore’s Army, he has kept his enchanted D.A. coin as a badge of honour, occasionally showing impressed students.

J.K Rowling has said that Neville ‘finds happiness in his grandmother’s acceptance of him as a gifted wizard and as the new herbology professor at Hogwarts’. You can read more about his later life in Rita Skeeter’s Daily Prophet article on Pottermore here.

Join us in wishing Neville a very happy 35th birthday!

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41. “Career of Evil” Available for Pre-Order

This spring, J.K. Rowling announced that her good pal, Robert Galbraith, would be releasing his third Cormoran Strike novel. Though the other novels in the mystery series were released during the summer season, Career of Evil will be hitting shelves this fall (October 20th in the US, and October 22nd in the UK).

Amazon has recently made the new mystery novel available for pre-order. Hardcover copies of the novel, Prime eligible for free shipping October 20, have already been marked down 37% on the American Amazon. The cover price of the novel is $28.00, saving consumers $10.22 before the book is even published. Amazon has also made the Kindle format available for pre-order.

The summery on Amazon (from Galbraith’s website) reads:

When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg.
Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible–and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.
With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them…
Career of Evil is the third in the highly acclaimed series featuring private detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott. A fiendishly clever mystery with unexpected twists around every corner, it is also a gripping story of a man and a woman at a crossroads in their personal and professional lives.

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42. J.K. Rowling on TLC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?”

An episode of the genealogy show, Who Do You Think You Are?, featuring J.K. Rowling will make its American television debut this Sunday, August 2 at 9 PM EST on TLC.  While TLC is touting this as a premier, it is actually a reworking (if not a complete rerun) of an episode that debuted on BBC One on August 17, 2011.

According to the New York Times, the TLC episode will investigate Rowling’s family history in France, on her mother’s side.

She learns, among other things, that a family story about a grandfather who won a high honor in France wasn’t quite right.

This sounds strikingly similar to an account of the episode from BBC One’s Who Do You Think You Are? from The Daily Mail in August 2011.

Her great-grandfather then led the small team tasked with protecting the rest of the unit in retreat. Miss Rowling said she was ‘proud’ of Valont, ‘a waiter’ who had little more than two weeks training but became a ‘war hero’.

The Telegraph also wrote an extensive review of the BBC One episode that mentions the mistaken family legend.

Rowling did, however, consent to appear on BBC One’s genealogical series Who Do You Think You Are? In it she learnt that her French great-grandfather had not, contrary to family legend, been awarded the Legion d’honneur, but had none the less been decorated for his bravery in the First World War…

Anyone who saw an online video of the original episode (J.K. Rowling had a link on her website) can probably miss the one on TLC on Sunday; but then again, it may be worth another look.  Rowling saw the BBC One episode as momentous, and a follow-up article in Who Do You Think You Are? magazine mentions a part of Rowling’s story that was left on the cutting-room floor.

When I asked Jo if there’s anything she wishes the programme had followed up, she says: “Yes, I would love to know who my great grandfather’s father was.  He was illegitimate, but his mother fell pregnant while working as a maid next door to the notoriously promiscuous French writer Guy de Maupassant.  A girl can dream…”

Perhaps something new has been added in four years.  The cut scene was made available to magazine subscribers; maybe TLC viewers will get to see it too.

Find out more about the TLC program here and learn about the BBC One program here.

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43. New Photos Released of Emma Watson in ‘Colonia’

Earlier this week, Toronto International Film Festival website announced a large portion of its official line-up for the festival starting on September 10. Included in the line up is Colonia, a thriller directed by Florian Gallenberger, starring Emma Watson and Daniel Brühl.

Playlist writes that Colonia:

“tells the story of Lena and Daniel, a young couple, who become entangled in the Chilean military coup of 1973. Daniel is abducted by Pinochet’s secret police and Lena tracks him to a sealed off area in the South of the country, called Colonia Dignidad. The Colonia presents itself as a charitable mission run by lay preacher Paul Schäfer but, in fact, is a place nobody ever escaped from. Lena decides to join the cult in order to find Daniel. “

The script for Colonia is co-written by Gallenberger and Torsten Wenzel. The film is produced by Benjamin Herrmann and Nicholas Steil. Colonia will premiere as part of the TIFF Special Presentations Program.

Both Playlist and Firstshowing.net have released three first look photos from the film.

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Earlier this year, we reported that Emma Watson shared her experience of playing this role in Colonia. She talked of how the role challenged her as an actress. For more information on Colonia, visit the official TIFF page designated for it.

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44. UPDATE: Coverage of ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Casting Call in London

Today, thousands of girls aged 8-12 years flocked to the Excel Centre in London to audition for the role of ‘Modesty’ in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, due for release in November 2016.

J.K. Rowling also tweeted about her excitement to find the girl perfect girl to play the ‘haunted young girl with an inner strength and stillness’:

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Various Potter stars also gave their best wishes to the girls in the queue, including Evanna Lynch, who posted an encouraging message on her Facebook earlier this week, urging people to audition:

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Here’s a first-hand breakdown of the day:

9:00am: Word around the HUGE queue was that people started to gather at around 5am, so by the time 9:00am hit (the time the queues opened), 4000 people were already raring to go.

10:00am-12:30pm: Temperatures were running high, and patience among the young hopefuls running thin. Security guards passed round water, suncream and umbrellas, with water tanks, an ice cream van and a snack bar nearer the front of the outside portion of the queue.

News reporters and various camera crew members were circling the crowds from all angles, and interviewing those in line – as in this video from BBC’s Newsround, and this video from Sky News. Others tweeted their photos of the queues:

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13:00pm: 9:00am arrivals reached the section (inside and air-conditioned!) portion of the queue. An absolute blessing. Casting Information Forms were handed out and filled in.

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14:30pm-15:00pm: After around six hours of queueing, 9:00am arrivals were finally taken in for their audition, which went as follows:

Staff took groups of ten children aside at a time, telling them not to be nervous. Girls were then broken into smaller groups to have their photos taken.

For their head-shots, girls were lined up in front of whiteboard and told what face to pull (e.g: straight face, smiley face, ‘eyes shut’ face). A casting crew member then took the groups aside to stand in a circle and take it in turns to tell the others their name, age and birthday. They were then asked a few questions (e.g: ‘If you had one superpower, what would it be?’)

Children then handed in their Casting Information Forms, and received a certificate to say they had taken part.

The audition was a 30-50 minute process on average. RadioTimes said that an estimated 14,000 children queued up outside the Excel Exhibition Centre.

We are all very excited at The Leaky Cauldron to see who’s going to be cast as Modesty. Join us in wishing good luck to those who auditioned!

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45. First Quidditch European Games to be held in Italy

As some will recall from our World Cup 8 report, the IQA (International Quidditch Association) dissolved in  2014, after many non-US Quidditch teams refused their bids to the 7th annual Quidditch World Cup. The IQA was then split into national associations (i.e. USQ, QUK, etc.). US World Cup 8 was hosted by USQ, while European Quidditch Associations promised a combined regional Cup was in the works. The European regional tournament is finally here.

For the first time, European Quidditch games will be held in Tuscany, The Telegraph reports.

According to the article, the real-life version of Quidditch, which was invented in the USA in 2005,  is popular in Italy. There are an estimated 6,000 Italian players. This year marks the first  that squads from all over Europe will take part in games held in the 2,000 year-old town of Sarteano. Players from the UK, Ireland, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, Catalonia, France, Poland, Spain, and Italy will compete in the games, which begin this Friday. The Telegraph reports that Sarteano will be transformed into a “mini Hogwarts” for the games:

The Quidditch teams will be greeted by a Harry Potter-themed party in Sarteano Castle, which dates from the 11th century. Market stalls will be set up to resemble the fictional Diagon Alley, where young wizards and witches come in search of their wands in the JK Rowling books.


Alas, flying on broomsticks isn’t exactly a possibility; however, real-life Quidditch reportedly closely mimics the original wizarding sport:

Each of the seven players in a real-world team must hold a broomstick between their legs at all times and the game comes to a close only once the snitch – which comes in the form of a human with a tennis ball suspended in a sock between their legs – is caught.


You can read the rest of the article here.

 

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46. Birthday Boy Daniel Radcliffe Shares Voice-acting Appearance

Today we wish a happy birthday to Daniel Radcliffe!  The lead actor of the Harry Potter films turns 26 today.  With so many upcoming projects, including Victor Frankenstein, this is sure to be a good year for him.

For a behind-the-scenes look at another project, Radcliffe recently posted a clip of a voice-acting appearance on Bojack Horseman to his Google+ page.

Bojack Horseman is an animated Netflix original series, starring Will Arnett in the present-day as a washed-up ’90s sitcom actor.  Daniel Radcliffe made an appearance in a recent episode of Season 2.

Only he knows what other projects he has in the works, but please join us in wishing Daniel Radcliffe a very happy birthday– and many more!

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47. Retweet for a Chance to Win “A Little Chaos”

SnitchSeeker is giving away Blu-Ray copies of Alan Rickman’s new film, A Little Chaos. All one has to do is retweet a tweet from SnitchSeeker’s Twitter feed. This contest only applies to US Residents only. Please visit the original article for more details!

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48. Listening to Rupert Grint

Looking for an audio book for your last road trip of the summer?  Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) narrates the audio books editions of British author Liz Pichon’s series of Tom Gates books.

In the first book, The Brilliant World of Tom Gates, fifth-grader Tom tells a comic tale of teacher-misunderstandings, a tormented teenage sister, concert tickets, and rock bands through a diary-style narrative.

Grint’s friendly voice and child-like persona fit the story perfectly, and listening brings scenes from the early Harry Potter films to mind, when Grint himself was about the same age as Tom Gates.  (Ever wonder what Tom would think of bogie-flavored beans?)

Grint brings not only the voice of Tom Gates to life, but also Gates’ imitations of the people he knows.  Grint differentiates between them all and gives each character a personality.  Had the audio effects been less obtrusive, Grint’s performance would have shone even more, but all of the loud sounds and noises are probably just what a fifth-grade boy would want in his audio diary.

Listen here for a sample of the audio book available from Bolinda Publishing, and thank you, Ice Cream Man, for the information.

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49. France wins the First European Games!

It came down to a classic and historic rivalry: the French versus the British. There were a few casualties–the French first string keeper broke his shoulder–but the “really tough, really intense” game ended on a fair Snitch snatch, leaving the French with the champion title after a 90-50 win.

Representatives from each team spoke to The Guardian, happy with the results of the tournament. All are hoping that the success of the first European Games brings Quidditch a higher profile and encourages involvement in the sport. The Guardian reports:

Dennis Jordan, captain of the French side, on Sunday said both sides played a “really tough, really intense game”. “Our main keeper was injured and broke his shoulder; he’s now in the ambulance. It was a legal tackle; both teams played aggressively but within the rules,” he said from the sidelines.

Speaking before the final, Jan Mikolajczak, one of four players from the University of Oxford, said the real-life game is surprisingly similar to the fictional version. “Other than the fact we’re not flying, it’s full contact and quite rough, just as it was in the books,” he said.

Despite the strict rules, Giulio Cioncoloni, a volunteer with organisers at the Cultural Association l’Ombrico, said the game is informal and incredibly fun. “It’s a beautiful sport because it’s one of strength. But at the end of the game, everyone hugs. It’s a great community. Quidditch is a sport for everyone,” he said.

Jordan agreed a jovial atmosphere dominated, despite injuries, with the French team celebrating alongside their British rivals. He hoped their win in Tuscany would help raise the profile of Quidditch in France: “We expanded a lot last year and we will continue next year. Winning the European games may influence people to get involved.”

After a successful European Games, all are looking forward to the bi-annual Quidditch Global Games next year. The site of the games has yet to be determined by the International Quidditch Association board. Though few new of Quidditch in the Italian country side, Italy now has 9 Quidditch teams across the country, and is hoping to continue growing. The home team (representing Italy) was knocked out of the tournament in an early defeat by the Belgians.

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50. OKREAL’s Exclusive Interview with Bonnie Wright

OKREAL, a new website “that gives you the tools to choose your life,” sat down for an exclusive interview with Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley). Bonnie Wright was selected as one in a range of women the site talks to about their successes and how they achieved them, but most of all what is important to them.

Bonnie Wright talked of discovering the difference between being what people expected of her, and being her true self. The article focused on Bonnie’s success as a story teller and post-Potter work, refusing to introduce her as the girl who played Ginny Weasley in the Harry Potter series.

It is true, Bonnie has taken on many impressive projects since her Potter days, successfully creating an independent image of her self. Like many of her Harry Potter co-stars, Bonnie still discussed how Harry Potter played a role in her life then and now–dancing the tango between their love and appreciation for what the series brought them, and breaking out of the mold their 10-year roles created for them.

In the interview conducted by OKREAL founder, Amy Woodside, Bonnie said:

I graduated film school 3 years ago. Since then, slowing down and figuring out what I actually want to do has taken a lot longer than I thought it would. Harry Potter was 10 years of my life, and when you finish a huge chapter like that, it’s this exciting new phase where you want to do new things.

With any career, creative or otherwise, there’s always more to learn and always room to evolve. It’s not about finding a finite point when you’re all done. It’s a continuum: nothing is ever secure or fully realized. People might think because of my experience, I’m all set. But just because you’ve had that kind of privilege, doesn’t mean it’s always going to work in your favor. You have to respect the times when it does and respect the times when it doesn’t. Sometimes people will pigeonhole you, or won’t listen because they assume you have it all figured out. And it’s like, actually, no, I don’t.

It’s taken me a long time to have confidence in writing and directing. I thought—people see me as an actress, so that’s what I should be doing. Also, having grown up with people constantly liking the work that we were doing, it’s taken me a while to learn how to take compliments. There was always this enthusiasm, ‘Oh my god, I love you. I love Harry Potter.’ Which makes it hard to accept any encouragement as genuine.

It’s a doing thing. And it goes so fast, if you don’t experience it at the time, it’s gone before you know it. Often you’ll build up some destination or end point… you’ll have this vision of the feeling that you’ll have when you get there. Like this script I just finished, I thought I’d feel relief and that it would be so great. But the reality is, I finished it and felt unsure about it. The idea of the destination and the reality of the destination are often very different. It’s a theme in this feature that I’m writing, where the main character is living in New York City. It’s not about the place she’s going, it’s the moments in between that she’s missing, because she’s too busy thinking about how she’ll feel when she gets there.”

Upon completing film school, Bonnie Wright has appeared in several independent films, written and directed various short films, taken on the role as a charity ambassador, and is the lead actress in The High is for Gamblers. Bonnie had much more to tell Ms. Woodside about all that she is involved in. Please read the entire interview on OKREAL. You can learn more about OKREAL by visiting their Twitter and Instagram (@heyokreal), or their Facebook page.

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