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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.
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”.
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.
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 Bone, The 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.”
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.
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.
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.
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:
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Thanks to SnitchSeeker for the tip!
Mark Williams (Mr. Arthur Weasley) took the train into Warner Brother’s Leavesden Studio Tour, as he helped reveal the new Hogwarts Express Exhibit. The 20,000 square foot expansion includes the original Hogwarts Express Engine sitting in a replica of Platform 9 3/4. The “windows” of the Hogwarts Express will be playing film that show how some Hogwarts Express moments (such as the Dementor attack) were created in the Harry Potter films. The exhibit opens to the public on Thursday, March 19. Warner Brother’s posted on their Studio Tour Website:
Officially opening on Thursday 19th March, the new, must-see section has been redesigned and will be built by many of the crew members who worked on the most successful film series of all time. Every inch of the platform’s glass roof, yellow brick walls and luggage racks, designed by Production Designer Stuart Craig, will be painstakingly reassembled by a team led by Construction Manager Paul Hayes and dressed by Set Decorator Rosie Goodwin. Special Effects Supervisor John Richardson will rig the locomotive with special effects steam.
You’ll be able to:
Pose with a luggage trolley on Platform 9 ¾ as it disappears through the station’s yellow brick wall and walk along the Hogwarts Express’ adjoining carriage
Explore the interior carriage set that was used during filming (complete with ‘windows’ that demonstrate the process used to create iconic train scenes from the films such as the escape of Harry’s first Chocolate Frog and the Dementor attack)
See a selection of prop luggage and find out which character owned which items by turning an interactive dial (characters include Hermione Granger, Draco Malfoy, Luna Lovegood and more)
Browse a wide range of goodies inspired by the Harry Potter films and, specifically, the Hogwarts Express in a train-themed souvenir shop which will be open on the platform
The London Evening Standard has posted pictures and videos of the exhibition’s reveal, including photos of Mark Williams interacting with the Platform and sitting on the train.
In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, fans of Emma Watson and her HeForShe movement have the chance to sit down and talk with the Harry Potter star and UN Women’s Embassador, as Emma hosts a “HeForShe Conversation” in London. In order to get a chance to sit down and chat with Emma, fans must submit answers to questions, saying in 500 words or less what actions they have taken to advance gender equality, as well as a question on gender equality that they would like to ask Emma. The application for this London event can be accessed here. All entries must be submitted by Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 12pm GMT. You can find more information on the event, as well as a cute video message from Emma, on Emma’s Facebook page. For fans who are unable to attend the event, Facebook with be live streaming it.
Today, please join us in wishing Miranda Richardson, who played the sneaky Rita Skeeter, a happy 57th birthday!
Maggie Smith (Minerva McGonagall) recently sat down for a couple of Sunday Time’s interviews. (If you have a subscription to The Sunday Times you can read the full articles here and here). Smith talked of her character on Downton Abbey, saying that the series must be coming to an end, and she doesn’t “see how it can go on.” She mentioned her character specifically, saying that Violet Crawley can’t go on be she “must be 110 by now, we’re in the late 1920′s.” In the interview, Maggie Smith also acknowledged Michael Gambon’s announcement on leaving theater due to memory loss. She said she was glad that he finally admitted it, as she had seen signs of this memory loss on the set of Harry Potter. Snitch Seeker reported from the Sunday Times:
“They say this is the last one, and I can’t see how it could go on,” Smith has told the Sunday Times, alluding to recent speculation that the hit ITV drama will come to an end after the sixth series.
“I mean, I certainly can’t keep going,” she continues. “To my knowledge, I must be 110 by now. We’re into the late 1920s.”
“It was about time [Michael Gambon] admitted it, because it was hair-raising doing things with him,” Dame Maggie told The Sunday Times. “Mind you, I defy anyone to learn Harry Potter-speak. It’d probably be easier for him to learn Shakespeare.”
Dame Maggie said she will continue working for as long as she is able. “When you’re not working it’s scary, and when you are working it’s scary, because you don’t know if you’ve got the energy to get through the day,” she said.
“But the bleakness of not doing it, and missing out on the friendships that you make, is too much to bear.”
Snitch Seeker also reminded us of Maggie Smith’s current project, the sequel to her successful The Best Marigold Hotel. The two YouTube trailers can be seen below.
J.K. Rowling tweeted “Well, that’s me crying my eyes out, so job done. Serves me right, some might say. Thank you, thank you xxx” to the director of BBC One’s adaptation of her Casual Vacancy. The mini series aired its third and final episode last night. Many fans are in an uproar over the changed ending between Rowling’s written word and the mini series. However, Rowling seems to be satisfied, as well as a lot of reviewers. The Telegraph wrote a “bravo” review, saying:
This biting, blackly comic drama reminded me of mid-Eighties series A Very Peculiar Practice, Blott on the Landscape and Porterhouse Blue – panoramic ensemble pieces with a cartoonish sense of the absurd.
This, in case you’re in any doubt, is entirely a good thing.
The review uncovers many spoilers, especially it’s reaction to the changed ending, and can be read here. YouTube also posted trailers for the third installment of the mini series, as well as a sneak peak, which can be seen below.
Many of us tuned in to watch the Oscars last Sunday evening, and even though Harry Potter was not directly mentioned, Harry Potter affiliates tend to find their way into the mix. The leading Harry Potter alumni was Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort) in The Grand Budapest Hotel. As Leaky reported a couple of weeks ago, Ralph Fiennes new project took home five BAFTAs. We are proud to add that this remarkable film took home almost as many (four) Academy Awards. The Grand Budapest Hotel won oscars for Best Original Score (subsequently arranged by Alexandre Desplat, who arranged the soundtrack for Deathly Hallows Part 1 and Part 2) Best Production Design, Best Makeup and Hair Styling, and Best Costume Design.
There were several other Oscars that included a few Harry Potter Alums. Eddie Redmayne won an Oscar for Best Actor in The Theory of Everything, which also featured David Thewlis (Remus Lupin). The Phone Call, starring Jim Broadbent (Horace Slughorn), won for Best Live Action Short. Finally Eduardo Lima and Miraphora Mina, who contributed so much to pop design in the Harry Potter films, also won an Oscar for their prop work in The Imitation Game.
Emma Watson was touched by the attention given to gender equality at the Oscars. Ms. Watson praised, through her Twitter, Patricia Arquette for her energizing speech on gender inequality of pay grades between men and women, as women statistically earn less money working the same jobs as men.
@EmWatson Yes . Yes. … Love you.
Emma also tweeted thank you notes to Steve Carell and Jake McDorman for wearing HeForShe cuff links to the Oscars, and openly supporting HeForShe. Ms. Watson’s notes can be seen here and here, as well as below. Steve Carell tweeted back at Emma that it was “an honor to support #HeForShe and gender equality.”
As few of you may recall, Universal Studios reported a spike in revenue with the construction of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade several years ago. It appears that the new Diagon Alley addition of the theme park is proving to be as magically profitable. The Chicago Tribune tells of a 38% increase in Universal’s fourth quarter profits, arguably due to Diagon Alley opening in July. Profits rose to a solid $735 million in the fourth quarter, with cash flows (before depreciation, etc.) rose from $257 million to $352 million. The Chicago Tribune reports:
“Investments in our theme parks are clearly generating strong returns as we drive increased attendance and per capita spending,” Chief Financial Officer Michael Angelakis said on a conference call. “We are transforming our parks into must-see destinations and are very enthusiastic about their potential.”
The results are part of a wave of amusement park investments that have lifted profits and attendance at operators including Walt Disney Co.
Comcast has an attraction based on Harry Potter, one of the most popular youth book and film franchises in history, scheduled to open at its Universal Studios Hollywood theme park in California next year.
Please join us in wishing two of the greatest twins ever a very happy birthday! They charmed and tricked themselves into our hearts as the loveable Fred and George Weasley, and today James and Oliver Phelps turn a very grown-up 29 years old!
Sadly, it does not appear that the BBC One adaptation of The Casual Vacancy flies as well as Harry on a broomstick. The show seems to have lost about 2 million views between it’s premiere and it’s second installment last Sunday. The Independent, among many other news sources, also reports that it’s rival, Julie Walter’s Indian Summers, also lost some viewers. Although the Oscars were on the same night, viewers were not affected due to the time difference between the United States and the United Kingdom. The Independent reports:
Alan Rickman (Severus Snape) sat down with Scotland Tonight, making a rare appearance behind a camera that comes with an interviewer. On a promotional trip to Scotland, Rickman sat down with Scotland Tonight’s John MacKay to talk about his upcoming film, A Little Chaos. The film follows a woman gardner (Kate Winslet) who is charged with designing the elaborate gardens and fountains of Versaille for King Louis XIV. Alan Rickman not only plays Louis XIV, but also directed and help write the film. The interview can be seen here. Please note that the video may not play if you do not live in the United Kingdom.
Throwback Thursday, Fun Friday, a combination of both–going out on a limb here to try something new and fun/silly on the Leaky News page. Bustle recently posted a hilarious list of “25 Harry Potter Characters, Ranked by Dateability.” You can read the list on their sight, here, and peruse their pros and cons of each character–Dolores Umbridge ranks below even Lord Voldemort, holding the glorified 25th position on the list. At Leaky, we would like to know who would be on your list (the goodies and the baddies) and your hilarious reasons why. We will compile a list of the most recurring characters as well as the accompanying reasonings behind each choice! Get your Quick-Quotes Quills and godspeed!
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Sound like an interesting book title? Maybe to the more science-oriented fans in this fandom, or those of us particularly interested in genetics. Professors at Rutgers University have turned towards using Harry Potter as an introductory level example of behavioral genetics to answer the famous question: what drives our personal characteristics and actions, nature or nurture? Harry looks like his father (except he has his mother’s eyes, we know, we know–pretending that young Lily’s brown eyes in the movie match Harry’s blue ones–we know). According to Professor Snape, Harry acts like his father; and, as Hermione pointed out for us in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry’s amazing Quidditch skills are not surprising because James Potter was an award-winning Seeker. Harry never grew up with his parents, so did nature play a bigger role in the formation of his character than nurture? (Of course, denying the fact that Harry is a fictional character, as alive as he seems to us, whose formation only comes for the pen of J.K. Rowling). However, Rutger students prefer to look at the Black family and their pure-blood relatives for their experiments. Rutgers reports:
For the past several years, first-year Rutgers students – mostly science majors and all Harry Potter fans — have been learning from Yu and the popular J.K. Rowling novels about the scientific approaches used for studying behavioral genetics.
“Because of the richness of the characters and the many families in the Harry Potter books, there are so many examples of physical resemblances and behavior similarities among family members,” Yu said. “The scientific question that we look at is whether these behavioral characteristics are due to genetic inheritance or because they live under the same roof. It’s the age-old question: ‘is it nature or nurture?’”
Yu says studying behavioral genetics through the tales of Harry Potter books is providing students with an introduction to college-level science and giving them a better understanding of how scientists think and apply scientific approaches to their research.
“They are taught how to spot certain patterns in behaviors that allow them to come up with a hypothesis as to whether the behavioral characteristics are genetically influenced,” said Yu. “They also have to ask themselves whether it is the environment because these characters are living under the same roof.”
At the beginning of the course, Yu explains what behavioral characteristics are, and asks students to pick a parent-child pair from the seven Potter novels and identify a behavior the parent-child pair share that might be genetic. The students engage in animated discussions about their chosen example, in order to come up with a class-consensus example. This semester they had to decide if it would be the athleticism of the Potters or the compulsive behavior of the Blacks – the family of pure-blood wizards.
The Blacks won out, as many students in this year’s class are deeply intrigued by the family’s compulsiveness of carrying things to extreme, even though various members of the family displayed this compulsion in vastly different ways — from the maternal patriarch’s distain of anyone NOT of ‘pure blood’, to Sirius Black’s devotion to Harry Potter’s wellbeing. The next step was to design an experiment that would support or refute the hypothesis that the Blacks’ compulsive behavior was genetically based. Last year’s class — which selected the Potter family’s athleticism to study — decided to use mice for determining the heritability of athleticism. Students, guided by Yu during class discussion, designed an experiment to first train the mice to run straight on a track and not to run back and forth, as mice are prone to do. Then mice would be bred selectively for differences in running speed, and the results would be analyzed to establish whether the behavior was genetic.
For this year’s experiment, the students have just begun to define the research design, which Yu said he will help guide during the rest of the semester. Students are full of enthusiasm and ideas. Megan Coakley suggested using mice of different colors for easy tracking of their parentage – “black, white and something in between” – and offer food to these mice to see if some show compulsive eating. Naweed Karimi recommended breeding mice for their compulsiveness tendencies.
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