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Emma Watson celebrated her birthday today, April 15. She turned 25. For as young as she is, Emma has accomplished so much beyond her role as Hermione in the largest movie franchise in history. She is truly a role model to other girls, and an inspiration to both men and women alike. Please join us in wishing this incredible young woman a very Happy Birthday!
Early this morning, J.K. Rowling tweeted a reminder that her Harvard Commencement address was published today and that all proceeds will go to Lumos.
J.K. Rowling also took a trip to New York City last week to launch Lumos USA. With Lumos CEO, Georgette Mulheir by her side, J.K. Rowling addressed the United States importance to Lumos involvement. Lumos posted:
In launching Lumos USA, Patron J.K. Rowling said:
“Children need families, and families need their children and I believe it is entirely possible, with concerted effort, to help to transform the way the world cares for disadvantaged children. We owe this to the eight million children living in orphanages around the world, most of whom do have parents and families who, given the right level of support, could care for them at home.”
Encouraging reform of the funding that supports orphanages is a key part of Lumos’ work. It has played an important role in influencing the way that European Union aid is now spent – to support community services for children and families, not to build or renovate institutions and orphanages. Lumos USA will build on this advocacy activity by working with US Government departments – including the US Agency for International Development – and bodies such as the World Bank to promote a similar funding principle. The right of children to live in families is one of the core principles of the US Government’s Action Plan on Children in Adversity.
Georgette Mulheir, the Chief Executive of Lumos – who last year was named by a prestigious US academic website as one of the world’s 30 most influential social workers – said:
“The USA, its citizens and, indeed, the international community have a huge role to play to influence the agenda on children outside of family care. Foreign policy, development aid and individual giving can help shape the future for vulnerable children and their families in a sustainable way, ensuring that no child is denied the right to family life”
The United Nations is currently creating a set of post-2015 ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs) – a set of aspirations and principles, which will influence how billions of dollars in aid are used around the world. Early drafts have stressed the importance of child health, development, education, and protection, but do not recognize that a family is the only effective way of providing those vital elements.
To celebrate the launch of Lumos Foundation USA, Lumos is raising funds to reunite children with families. For the next month, Lumos USA will run an online sweepstakes giving every eligible US resident who donates over $10, the opportunity to win one of four generously donated prizes: two signed copies of J.K. Rowling’s ‘Very Good Lives’; a VIP trip for four to Universal Orlando Resort to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter; and tickets to Comic Con in San Diego in July 2015.
One hundred percent of all donations to Lumos go directly towards its projects on the ground.
The sweepstakes can now be entered here. J.K. Rowling tweeted about releasing a copyright-free piece about Lumos on her website, to spread the word about lumos.The lengthy article can be read on her website, here. Some may be read below:
The names ‘orphanage’ and ‘care home’ can conjure up benign images. People donate money willingly and generously, believing that the children living in such institutions have been rescued from a life barely worth living. This, I have learned after ten years of reading research and talking to experts in the field, is an idea predicated on lack of knowledge about the reality of what institutionalization does to a child, and about the real reasons that children find themselves in care homes.
80% of the eight million children living in orphanages and institutions worldwide are not orphans. They have at least one living parent, and that parent usually wants to care for them personally. To those of us fortunate enough to grow up in the privileged First World, it might seem inconceivable that a parent would voluntarily give up the care of their child to an institution. We take for granted the medical and welfare systems that support the care of children at home. Institutions spring up where no such systems exist, where there is cultural discrimination against disability, where conflicts and disasters have destroyed livelihoods and – by far the largest driver of institutionalisation – where parents are so poor that they fear the only way to save their child from starvation is to place them in residential care.
Ten years ago, after those first dreadful experiences of visiting orphanages, I made contact with several experts in the field of deinstitutionalization. This led me to found Lumos, an international non-profit organization. Its aim is to help countries reform childcare and protection systems, moving from building orphanages towards systems that help families to stay together.
The good news is that this is an entirely solvable problem. Lumos has spent 10 years working in Europe, where institutionalization of children was a major concern, especially in formerly Communist countries. Lumos advocates retraining institutional employees as community-based health and social workers. Institutional buildings can be repurposed to house community services. Encouragingly, a ‘tipping point’ has now been achieved: most countries in that region have plans to end institutionalization. Furthermore, the US government and the European Union are taking a lead in changing the way foreign assistance is delivered, to move the focus onto protecting and supporting families.
However, there is still much work to do. The United Nations is currently creating a set of post-2015 ‘Sustainable Development Goals’, which aim to ensure ‘no-one is left behind’. Lumos is concerned that, while early drafts focus on the importance of early childhood development, they contain no recognition of the essential role that parents play in nurturing and raising children. Meanwhile, the numbers of children in so-called orphanages continues to rise in areas outside Europe. Lumos has now begun work in the Latin American and Caribbean region. We have started in Haiti, where approximately 30,000 children are currently living in almost entirely privately funded orphanages. Once again, we find the familiar ratio of 80% non-orphans, and recognize the driving force of poverty.
Lumos has a single, simple goal: to end the institutionalization of children worldwide by 2050. This is ambitious, but achievable. It is also essential. Eight million voiceless children are currently suffering globally under a system that, according to all credible research, is indefensible. We owe them far, far better. We owe them families.
As most of you know, it is that time of year again–time for the real, and very intense Quidditch World Cup. This year, however was a little different. Though America hosted World Cup 8 this past weekend (April 11-12), it was the US Quidditch World Cup 8 (which became a trend on Twitter, earned it’s own Snapchat Live Story, and got a tweet from J.K. Rowling). Last year, Quidditch World Cup 7 (the IQA World Cup)–which regularly hosted teams from the UK (or another European team that won within the region), Australia, Canada, and the United States every year–saw all European and Oceanic teams refuse their bid to World Cup, due to costs and protesting against the World Cup being held in America every year when Quidditch was growing elsewhere in the world. Since then, the IQA dissolved into Quidditch Associations by country: USQ (United States), QUK (United Kingdom), AQA (Australia), Quidditch Austria, Belgium Muggle Quidditch, Quidditch Canada, FQA (France), DQB (Germany), AIQ (Italy), AMQ (Mexico), Muggle Quidditch Netherlands, NR (Norway), and QD (Turkey). (The IQA, which remains the head to the massive Quidditch Association body, also completely restructured its internal bureaucracy in 2014, along with it’s tournament structure.)
This year, each region was responsible for hosting its own National tournament, or World Cup, rather than all attending one large World Cup. Do not fear–there are still IQA’s Global Games, which hosts an international tournament between all countries. Three years ago, IQA also held it’s first Quidditch Olympic games, which we will hopefully see more of in the future. The European Games will be held in Sarteano, Italy, July 24-27, 2015.
Of the national games, the UK held it’s national cup last month, and (as mentioned above) the US finished its US Quidditch World Cup 8 this past weekend. The BBC reported on the UK tournament, saying:
Hundreds of players have competed in the UK’s biggest ever quidditch tournament, playing a sport adapted from the Harry Potter books.
Wollaton Hall and Park in Nottingham, known for being used as Wayne Manor in a Batman film, was chosen to host the second British Quidditch Cup (BQC).
Sixteen teams competed when the British Quidditch Cup was first held in Oxford in November 2013, and 23 teams have competed this time.
Ms Maidment has previously played for Nottingham Nightmares, a team from the University of Nottingham.
She initially became interested because of her love for Harry Potter, but now sees the sport as separate from the books.
“It’s like rugby mixed with dodgeball,” she said.
“There are a few injuries but we are currently working on re-evaluating the rules to minimise that, because if the injury rates continue as they are people aren’t going to carry on wanting to play it.
Radcliffe Chimeras, from Oxford University, were favourites to win the competition.
The Radcliffe Chimeras were upset by Southampton QC 1. All scores and bracket play of BQC 2015 can be seen here.
From the BBC on the US Quidditch World Cup 8:
But the game isn’t just played by Harry Potter fans, with some of those taking part in the World Cup saying they enjoy the athletic side too:
“We have people on our team that have never read the books or seen the movies,” said University of Ottawa team founder Clare Hutchinson. “Quidditch is not necessarily all about Harry Potter anymore.”
Quidditch becoming separated from its Harry Potter roots has been a rather heated conversation amongst those in the Quidditch sphere for some time. Being on a Quidditch team myself, it is safe to say that we almost NEVER talk about Harry Potter, though I too joined because of my love for the series. The sport has become just that, a sport in and of its own right, much like basketball, soccer (football), and other athletic competitions. Despite this feeling amongst the athletes and those particularly involved in Quidditch, National and World competitions draw a lot of Harry Potter fans and spectators.
Rock Hill, South Carolina–The US Quidditch World Cup was an experience; a truly fun event for people of all ages. Opening ceremony saw 80 teams–79 United States teams (winners from Northeast, Mid Atlantic, Midwest, West, South, Southwest, Northwest regions within the US) and 1 Canadian team–parade onto the field, each behind their region’s flag, and teams holding up their college flags, much like the Olympic opening ceremonies. After a few opening words from original founder of Muggle Quidditch, USQ and USQ CEO, Alex Benepe, and the mayor of Rock Hill, South Carolina, national anthems were played–the only Canadian team single-handedly singing ten times louder to “Oh Canada” than the 79 American teams singing “The Star Spangled Banner” combined–and the games commenced.
80 teams played each other on 10 fields in Swiss-style tournament play (teams with the same record, and similar score differential played each other) for five guaranteed games, before beginning bracket play. Those finishing tournament play with a record of 3-2 had a bid at bracket play. Highly ranked teams played on fields where live streams broadcasted the games to viewers across the world, and those sitting comfortably in the VIP club house above the field.
Between games, players rested in their designated team tent in the Players’ Village (an impressive sight of rows and rows of tents that we wish were bigger on the inside than the outside). Booths to visit included USQ T-shirt stand, Alivan’s Wand and Broom Closet, Harry Potter Alliance, Harry and the Potters Wizard Rock band, and Peterson Brooms–each offering their own unique merchandise (including player trading cards from USQ). A local Medical Center sponsoring USQ World Cup 8 also had a booth, and gave out free first aid kits and sunscreen (Quidditch is notorious for it’s injuries, being a full-contact sport). Both adults and kids alike braved the heat in their Wizarding robes–most from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter–and on the second day of tournament, kids (and kids-at-heart) were able to participate in a costume contest. Afternoon entertainment was provided by Harry and the Potters, who gave an energetic live-performance between the games. With thousands of people swarming the Manchester Meadows sports facility, there was one food truck (besides a Chick-fil-A concession stand), serving carnival classic foods, with a never ending line, that magically never ran out of food.
At the end of bracket play on Sunday, the final four teams battled it out in attempts to overthrow favored-to-win Texas teams. Though the crowds cheered heavily for non-Texas teams, Lone Star (a community team from Austin, Texas) swiftly beat Maryland, and University of Texas pushed the Lost Boys (a Los Angeles-based team made up of players from many California colleges) all the way back to California. As the two Austin teams went head-to-head, evenly matched-athleticism kept the score low and tight (both teams alternately leading by one) before the Snitch was released onto the pitch. The players fought hard, sustaining injuries from torn muscles to a broken broomstick stabbing through a player’s hand. A professional Snitch kept the crowds pumped up and entertained, with a little sass and great technique for throwing Seekers. After several saves, the Snitch was caught by the University of Texas, awarding the team 30 points, and their third consecutive national title.
Throughout the course of this weekend’s events, US Quidditch World Cup 8 earned it’s own Snapchat Live story–available to be viewed by anyone with a Snapchat, and also became a trending hashtag on Twitter. Though it had many supporters, much of the hashtag trend was due to Muggles who didn’t understand how real-life Quidditch could be such a big deal, big enough to show up in their Snapchat feeds. However, J.K. Rowling came to the rescue, with a quick quip and TS Eliot quote, saying:
Congratulations to Texas and Southampton QC 1. Good luck to those who have yet to complete their national tournaments.
J.K. Rowling fansite Always J.K. Rowling had the amazing opportunity to have an exclusive interview with the director of the mini-series adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s The Causal Vacancy, Jonny Campbell. Mr. Campbell gave very detailed answers to the questions proposed–subject matter ranging from his involvement and experiences with making The Casual Vacancy, to advice for those wishing to have a career in directing. Always J.K. Rowling reports:
1. How much creative control did you have when filming “The Causal Vacancy”?
The role of the director is to be responsible for the storytelling as it moves from script to screen, to visualise and breathe life into it and so you are inevitably at the controls of that creative process – not to be a control ‘freak’ (!) – but to coordinate and steer all the departments from the script and cast to locations, production design, make up and costume to cinematography. Obviously, many thousands of decisions constitute this process and many of those are likewise guided and influenced by comments or suggestions from producer and executive producers along the way.
3. What is your favorite scene and character?
Krystal has to be my favourite character. Hard to single out one favourite scene, but would choose the sequence of scenes where she and her Mum Terri are reconnecting. In ep2 sitting eating some soup talking about Fats and then becoming emotionally overwhelmed that they are finally having a normal conversation as mother and daughter. Then in ep3 the moment when Krystal first hands Robbie back over to Terri before going on her date and then later sitting in the garden looking at the stars together.
5. Were there any particularly challenging scenes?
1) Howard’s nightmare – maggots and worms don’t respond to direction and they get everywhere. 2) Robbie scenes – there was a lot of violence and bad language in many of his scenes, but they were never shot while Robbie was there, even though he is in the scenes. This meant a lot of planning to film around him – effectively recording dialogue and shooting action twice over. 3) the river scenes – filming in or near water is always tricky and incredibly time consuming – some sequences were shot over several days too, which necessitated weather continuity. We were very fortunate that we had such a good summer.
8. There are a lot of political and social themes that are particularly relevant today in the UK as we are coming up to a general election. Is this something you were very aware of while filming and did it change any filming decisions?
I think the themes in this story will always be relevant, not just at this time. The fact that there was an election coming up the year after we started the project was never even mentioned as it was totally irrelevant to the story, contrary to what some people have thought. Sarah Phelps, the screenwriter does have an acute social conscience, as does J.K. Rowling, but the story is about how people react to a sudden death in a small community – the minutiae of grief – and how the ripple effect of this death passes through the lives of a host of characters. The election element is merely a side issue and a plot device to explore these peoples’ lives in public and behind closed doors. The real vacancy was not on the council, it was in their lives and their hearts.
The rest of this interesting interview may be read here, on Always J.K. Rowling.
Alan Rickman (Severus Snape) and Helen McCrory (Narcissa Malfoy) each took a turn writing about their friendship–how they first met on the set of Half-Blood Prince and how it blossomed afterwards–in the Independent. The editorials are very heart-warming and witty. A sampling of the piece can be read below, the whole article can be read here.
In association with Little Brown Publishing, fellow Harry Potter fansite, SnitchSeeker, is giving away copies of J.K. Rowling’s new illustrated book of her Harvard Commencement address, Very Good Lives: The Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination. The give away is taking place this week, and is available to U.S. residence only. If you wish to enter, please visit SnitchSeeker’s page, here.
Last Sunday, Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort), received the Legend Award during the Empire Awards ceremony. Having starred in more than 30 films, Fiennes was recognized for his extensive body of work–especially for his Oscar-nominated, BAFTA winning role in “Schindler’s List.” His other award winning movies include “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” and “The English Patient.” Ralph Fiennes has also taken on the role of director for films, such as “The Invisible Woman” and “Coriolanus.” He is also well known for his role in the Harry Potter films as Lord Voldemort, and as the new “M” in the James Bond films. Variety reported last week,
Previous Empire Legend Award recipients include Tim Burton, Helen Mirren and Tom Cruise.
Empire’s editor-in-chief Morgan Rees commented: “When you look at the body of work he has given us, both on screen and behind the camera, he has achieved so much. I can’t think of anyone who deserves this award more. Ralph Fiennes is truly an Empire Legend.”
As reported previously, the casting list for next year’s first release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, remains a mystery. However, that doesn’t stop speculations and rumors. A few weeks ago Dr. Who’s Matt Smith was the hot topic of discussion on possible leads for the films. This week it is Luke Newberry. The In the Flesh star is a self-professed Harry Potter geek (like the rest of us), and actually filmed scenes as Teddy Lupin for the “19 Years Later” segment of the eighth film–these scenes ultimately did not make the final cut. Even though Luke said that it would be an honor to be considered for the role, he refuses to make any confirmations on the subject, one way or the other. Radio Times reports:
#LukeforNewt! That’s the Twitter campaign started by Luke Newberry fans (some of whom may or may not work in the RadioTimes.com office) who think he’d be perfect for the part of JK Rowling’s magizoologist Newt Scamander in the upcoming Harry Potter movie spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
“Of course! It would be incredible just to be considered for that role,” he tells RadioTimes.com. “It’s a world that I’m familiar with and love – I love Harry Potter – so yes I’m very grateful to my fans for thinking of me, it’s a great honour… Yes, yes, I’d love to!”
When asked whether any formal approaches have been made, Newberry refuses to be drawn but it wouldn’t be the first time he’d been considered for a role in a Potterworld movie.
“That was the most exciting week of my life and to get the chance to play Teddy Lupin was just amazing,” says Newberry. “[It was] gutting [having my scenes cut]! It was my dream! But I was technically there, on set.”
Our close sister-site, MuggleNet, is hosting MuggleNet Live–the largest Harry Potter Expo in the UK–in London, April 18, 2015. There will be many special guests at this amazing Harry Potter event. According to MuggleNet, there will be 19 special guests, including 15 Harry Potter Actors, such as: Alfred Enoch (Dean Thomas), Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick), Chris Rankin (Percy Weasley), and Natalia Tena (Tonks). Other guests include Harry Potter Wand Choreographer, Paul Harris, Art Director, Gary Tomkins, and Graphic Designer, MinaLima. There are only about 100 tickets left to this exciting, and magic-filled experience, so hurry up and buy your ticket! The banner for the even can be seen below!
The Leaky Cauldron was once the most trusted name in Potter. It still is, but we could use a little more help with restoring Leaky to its full glory in this post-Potter age. As Melissa reported a while ago, Leaky had a lot of expected downtime as we prepared to make many changes and updates. A lot of changes have been made recently to the site–we moved servers, we updated to WordPress, we adopted a new coding system, we learned that John Noe is Leaky’s hero, etc–and the brand new site is now (mostly) functional! After Melissa’s post last August, about new life at Leaky, we learned that we need more than just a new website to keep up the Most Trusted Name in Potter, we need more staffers! The Harry Potter books and movies are completed, but Harry Potter news is never ending. Every actor is involved in new film projects, as well as many other activities, and Jo Rowling will never stop writing (novels, screenplays, Harry Potter prequel stage productions, new Pottermore material, her new obsession with Twitter–her life depends on the written word).
Here at Leaky we are looking for more Editors to help us keep up with all this never-ending Harry Potter news. We want Leaky to be up to date, on top of it, and the first to post news as much as possible. Above all we want to be recognized as the Most Trusted Name in Potter. Long time Harry Potter lovers, and Leaky users are always welcome. If you are interested in joining the Leaky Cauldron staff please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, with your name, brief bio, Harry Potter experiences, and writing/journalistic background. We look forward to hearing from many of you soon!
Alan Rickman is known for not being the subject of many interviews. However, BAFTA seems to be lucky. Rickman’s interview is to be a part of BAFTA’s “Life in Pictures” event–where many big name stars (such as Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, etc.) sit down for talks with BAFTA. The event is April 15. The Variety reports:
Rickman began his acting career in theater, where his credits include a Tony nomination for his performance in the Royal Shakespeare Company production of “Les Liaisons Dangereuses.” His feature film debut came in the 1988 alongside Bruce Willis in “Die Hard.” Since then he has appeared in more than 40 films, including the Harry Potter series, “Sweeney Todd” and “Love Actually.”
Rickman was awarded a BAFTA in 1992 for his role as the Sheriff of Nottingham in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.” In the same year, he was also BAFTA-nominated for his lead role in “Truly, Madly, Deeply.” He received two further BAFTA nominations in 1996 and 1997, for “Sense and Sensibility” and “Michael Collins,” respectively.
Rickman made his directorial debut in 1997 with “The Winter Guest,” starring Emma Thompson and Phyllida Law. He recently directed and co-wrote his second feature film, historical drama “A Little Chaos,” in which he also stars with Kate Winslet and Stanley Tucci. The film premiered as the Closing Gala at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival, and opens in the U.K. on April 17. Focus Features recently removed the pic from its release schedule in the U.S.
Rickman will next be seen in “Eye in the Sky,” co-starring Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Colin Firth and Barkhad Abdi, and will reprise his role as the Blue Caterpillar in “Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass.”
As reported previously here on Leaky, J.K. Rowling’s Harvard Commencement Address is being printed in book form. All proceeds of the little, yet powerful, 80-page book will go towards Lumos, as well as university-wide scholarships for potential Harvard students. The book is available for preorder, and will be published April 14, 2105. Amazon’s summary of the book reads:
In 2008, J.K. Rowling delivered a deeply affecting commencement speech at Harvard University. Now published for the first time in book form, VERY GOOD LIVES presents J.K. Rowling’s words of wisdom for anyone at a turning point in life. How can we embrace failure? And how can we use our imagination to better both ourselves and others?
Drawing from stories of her own post-graduate years, the world famous author addresses some of life’s most important questions with acuity and emotional force.
Sales of VERY GOOD LIVES will benefit both Lumos, a charity organization founded by J.K. Rowling, which works to transform the lives of disadvantaged children, and university-wide financial aid at Harvard University.
AskMen is known for posting lists with themes such as “The Top 99 Most Desirable Women.” This year, claiming to be “better than that,” they changed their theme to give notoriety to outstanding, inspirational women. Emma Watson was voted as the number one most outstanding woman, according to the list. AskMen gives criteria used to make the list, by posting a video on their site below the article, the video titled “How We Chose the Top 99?”. AskMen writes why Emma is outstanding, saying:
Hermione Granger is courageous, loyal and moral to a fault — she embodies the best of J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world. So it’s fitting that the little girl who was cast to play her back in 1999 would grow up to become a woman not so different from the fictional heroine she embodied. The 24-year-old Watson has noble pursuits in mind. Her alignment with the United Nations’ HeForShe campaign has made her the face of feminism right now, and she’s helping change the way men think about women. Now that’s power.
Emma Watson is so many incredible things at once — rich, successful, famous, stylish, beautiful, intelligent, personable, kind. And yet, rather than be content with a life of luxury, she’s thrown her back into a serious social issue in an effort to shift the way our society treats women. — James Bassil, AskMen Publisher
In the recent days, even after Jo tweeted that she didn’t take offense to a fan’s question on Dumbledore’s sexuality, many news sources are still praising J.K. Rowling for her “great come back,” her amazing “shut down,” her “burn” of the fan’s opinion that she did not see Dumbledore as gay, always seeing a possible connection between Dumbledore and McGonagall. As J.K. rowling said herself, the question was not offensive, it was “gentle” and “her response was very sweet.” The media continues to misrepresent the following Twitter interaction between Jo and fan, @anakocovic21:
@anakocovic21 Tweeted in reply “Amazing answer…Yes you are absolutely right. Such an inspiration!!!”
After fans following the conversation began rallying for Jo’s response, with the perspective of the response being a quick quipped “shut down.” Jo defended @anakocovic21, saying:
Matthew Lewis took a trip back to his hometown to work with students in an acting class at Grammar School at Leeds. He and his brother, Anthony, to help judge a competition at the school. Matt expressed a lot of praise at the talent of the students, saying that the experience was exciting for him and he was impressed by the work and creativity of the participants. The Yorkshire Evening Post reported:
The pair visited the Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) to host workshops and teach pupils about preparing for television and stage auditions.
“It has been really nice to get back up to Leeds. We were both really impressed with the standard of work and creativity. TV and film is such a different discipline and it was nice to try and break that down and see how the students handled it and they all did really well. There is so much stuff that I know now, that I just had to pick up along the way. So we try and teach the stuff that we would have found useful when we started out.”
The performing arts school was launched in Leeds last year by his brother Anthony, 31, at the Yorkshire College of Music. It follows on from the success of Totally Lit College in London, and is aimed at 11 to 19-year-olds.
Artistic director Anthony is also an actor and has starred in Emmerdale, The Syndicate and Torchwood and has more than 20 years’ experience in the business.
He said: “It was fantastic for GSAL to invite Matthew and myself. After years working, it’s great to pass on some of our knowledge to the next potential batch of young actors. The students all really took on board the advice and we had some great feedback. It all went really well.”
“The purpose of the workshops was to look at a different style of acting to the theatrical work that the students were familiar with.
“Using mine and Matthew’s experiences working over the years, we explained the main differences between working to a large audience and then playing to a camera, which is a far more intimate experience.
“We also discussed the practical side of working as an actor.”
Rumors have started to catch fire and spread quickly about the casting of the lead character in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. As of now, Warner Bros and J.K. Rowling have revealed nothing about the Fantastic Beast films, other than they will be filming at Leavesden and that J.K. Rowling is writing the screenplay. With the first movie scheduled to be released next year, production beginning soon (filming is set to start this summer), and still no word of who is gracing the cast list. However, many sources have been spinning rumors of who will play the lead. The current favorite is Matt Smith, most commonly known as the 11th Doctor of the Doctor Who series. Hypable (http://www.hypable.com/matt-smith-fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them/) reports:
Full disclosure: this rumor was started by British tabloid newspaper The Sun. Unfortunately, they are notoriously known for throwing out crazy rumors they know will be picked up by gullible fans like us.
But once in a blue moon, their sources really exist and the rumor turns out to be well-founded, so we’re going to go ahead and let ourselves imagine the possibility: Matt Smith might be playing Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Matt Smith, of course, is best known for playing the Eleventh Doctor in Doctor Who. He can next be seen in Terminator: Genisys, and also has a zombie movie titled Patient Zero(no, not Prisoner Zero!) coming up. He has signed up for several more Terminator films. His schedule is probably pretty packed.
And yet, when The Sun says that Smith is interested in Fantastic Beasts, we believe it. Not only is Smith a huge Harry Potter fan, but with the screenplay written by J.K. Rowling herself and David Yates returning as director, everyone’s predicting that this movie is going to be a huge success – both commercially and critically.
The Irish Examiner added fuel to the fire that The Sun started, saying:
The former Doctor Who star is said to be “favourite” to play adventurer and “magizoologist” Newt Scamander in the Harry Potter spin-off film, reported The Sun.
There is already a Change.org petition for film bosses to offer Matt the role.
Benedict Cumberbatch has also been linked to the role.
The Times has released one of it’s “Top Influential People” lists. This list was comprised of the Top 30 Most Influential People on the Internet. With her recent activity on Twitter, more this year than in the recent years, J.K. Rowling has been named one of the thirty. Even on her Twitter, J.K. Rowling has the means of spreading her inspirational messages. The Times said:
The author, 49, has given Harry Potter a new life online, answering fans’ questions, teasing future project and revealing uberviral plot extras to her 4.2 million followers on Twitter. Among the buzziest ones: a riddle about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the Potter spinoff screenplay she’s writing, and the fact that there are Jewish wizards at Hogwarts. She’s also especially giving on her fansite, Pottermore, which crashed last July after Rowling posted a new story about Harry Potter as a 30-something.
In the past few days, PETA has been raising awareness for the owls used on the set of the Harry Potter movies. These owls are now a part of the Leavesden Studio tour exhibits. Fans can pay to see the owls used throughout the films, the cat that held the role as Crookshanks, and other animals introduced in the Harry Potter films. The Mirror posted a video from PETA’s website, and expressed PETA’s concerns. The video shows contradictions between what the bird trainer did/said, and what the trainer was supposed to say/do. At one point during the video, the trainer encouraged guests to touch the birds, and in the next segment, followed protocol and asked visiting fans not to touch the owls. The BBC also reported Warner Bros. response to PETA’s voiced concerns.
From the Mirror (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/harry-potter-studio-tour-owls-5379260):
Secret footage shot by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals shows the birds in tiny pens chewing their tethers, shaking their heads and apparently being made to do tricks for the crowds.
A trainer at The Making of Harry Potter tour also allegedly told visitors to buy their own owls, claiming they are inexpensive and “do not have to have a licence”.
Peta director Mimi Bekhechi, told the Sunday People : “Confining frightened owls to tiny cages where they can only chew at their tethers in frustration goes against every message of respect and kindness that JK Rowling’s wonderful books taught us.”
In a letter to Warner Brothers , which runs the tour, Peta’s Yvonne Taylor claimed: “The ‘trainers’ supervising the tour showed gross negligence both in handling the birds and in ensuring public safety.
“As well as the tricks, they actively encouraged flash photography.
“Owls have especially acute vision and find blinding camera flashes extremely distressing – this can be seen in Peta’s footage as they respond by desperately chewing at their tethers and shaking their heads.
“A trainer cajoled people to touch the frightened birds, ignoring signs telling people not to touch the birds.
“As experts will tell you, as well as being stressful for the owls, this also interferes with the natural oils in their feathers that keep them warm.
“One trainer tells visitors, ‘Please don’t touch the owl… I have to say that!’ even though these powerful and extremely agitated birds could easily have injured someone.
The BBC wrote of Warner Bros. response to the letter from PETA (http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-32010842):
In response, Warner Bros Studio said: “The owls that appeared in the Harry Potter film series occasionally come to the studio tour.
“They appear for short periods and are exclusively handled by the experts at Birds and Animals, the company that owns and trains them. We have asked them to review this matter.”
A spokeswoman for Birds and Animals said: “The welfare of our birds and animals is our number one priority and we want to ensure they remain stress-free and healthy.
“The owls are always given regular breaks and closely monitored by a vet. Now that we have had the opportunity to see the footage, we have instigated a review of the issues raised.
“We will take appropriate action to ensure that the birds and animals always receive the very best care.”
In celebration of the new Hogwarts Express expansion at Leavesden Studio tours, J.K. Rowling has posted new writings on the Hogwarts Express in the first moment of chapter six, in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The new writings reveal how students many centuries ago, used various, often disastrous, methods of getting to Hogwarts at the beginning of term. Discover which Minister of Magic proposed the controversial idea of using Muggle transportation, here.
In celebration of the Hogwarts Express expansion at Leavesden Studios, J.K. Rowling has posted new material about the Hogwarts Express on Pottermore. Once has to journey back to the Philosopher’s Stone (Sorcerer’s Stone), to the Hogwarts Express scene to unlock the new reading. J.K. Rowling writes of how students of Hogwart’s distant past, used to travel to school by various, often disastrous, methods. Find out which Minister of Magic suggested the controversial idea of using new muggle transportation. The new readings can be found here.
Dan Radcliffe is one of many stars inline to be featured in the 49th season (series, in the U.K.) of the British satire, Have I got News for You. Dan will be featured in the first episode of the season, on Friday, April 10. The Belfast Telegraph reports:
It is going to be Harry Potter And The Missing Words Round next month when Daniel Radcliffe presents long-running satire show Have I Got News For You.
The actor, who shot to fame playing the boy wizard in the films based on JK Rowling’s books, will take the hot seat in the first episode of the 49th series of the BBC show. His appearance, on Friday April 10 will be followed a week later by Only Connect quizmaster Victoria Coren Mitchell.
The BBC has posted a clip of Tom Felton’s meeting the Super Fans documentary. The clip features Rupert Grint, as he walks out of a side of building to great a crowd of fans awaiting his arrival. One of those fans in the crowd is a poorly disguised Tom Felton. The hilarious encounter can be seen below. Tom Felton’s documentary airs on BBC 3, on March 23, 2015 at 9 PM GMT.
J.K. Rowling recently took a trip to Nepal, where she was invited by the British Embassy to introduce a program organized by The British School in Kathmandu. While at the school last Friday, Rowling read excerpts of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and answered questions–energetically interacting and engaging with over 400 audience members. Images of Rowling answering questions and meeting fans began to appear all over Twitter. Following her visit to the school, Rowling attended a private ball Saturday evening. eKantipur reports:
Best-selling British author and creator of beloved boy wizard Harry Potter , JK Rowling , spent Friday morning at The British School in Jhamiskhel, Lalitpur, for the school’s book week. Speaking to a captivated audience of over 400, the famed writer read out an excerpt from her first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
“It was an amazing experience seeing JK Rowling. I loved the way she spoke and the wonderful manner in which she conveyed each and every character in the book,” said Kritika Agarwal, a student at the school. The sixth-form student asked Rowling questions regarding her books and her inspiration. Rowling replied that she had enjoyed reading since she was 5 and she knew she wanted to become an author ever since.
News of Rowling’s arrival in Kathmandu broke on social media on Friday morning during her appearance at the school, along with photos of the best-selling author answering questions for the school newspaper. Describing the event as inspiring, Agarwal said that it felt great asking the celebrity author about her humble background and how she started off the story that has captured the hearts of millions, adults and children alike.
A student wrote of her experience of meeting her favorite author:
We always dream of seeing our childhood heroes in person, but what happens when you finally get to see the person that created the series that made up 90 percent of your childhood? What happens is that you hyperventilate, then you become numb and then you realise that you have a rather large, obnoxious smile plastered across your face. And then you cry. WhenJK Rowling first stepped into the hall at my school, I froze.
My friend next to me began whooping and cheering, along with the rest of the school, whilst I sat there, tears welling up in my eyes as I watched Rowling climb up the steps and take her seat.
As the hubbub settled, Rowling took to her microphone and began reading a passage from her first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. She read what is, in my opinion, one of the most significant moments in the entire series, when Harry gets his first wand from Olivander’s.
Rowling finished the passage, ending it much too quickly. But even if she had read for hours, it would’ve felt too short. Then, she was open for questions. So came the first question, and the second, third, and so on and so forth. To each and every student who asked a question, she made sure to swivel on her heavy four-legged chair and answer directly.
She never steered her answer away from the question she was asked and regularly made personal jokes, both Harry Potter -related and otherwise.
I spent a good 40 minutes of the hour laughing at her delight at seeing so many Harry Potters, Hermione Grangers and various Harry Potter -related characters in the audience and how she would react to some questions and become so immersed in answering them.
In that short hour, I saw first-hand what made Rowling so beloved, beyond the magical world and the beloved characters she has created. She was immeasurably down-to-earth and to have had the pleasure and privilege of seeing her and having her read to us in person was an indescribable experience, never to be forgotten.
In the future, when my friends and family ask me if listening to JK Rowling still remains one of my most unforgettable and memorable moments, even “after all this time?” my simple reply will be, “Always.”
As of Rowling’s attendance of the private ball, eKantipur wrote:
Renowned author JK Rowling attended a private ball organised to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the British Gurkhas at Hyatt Regency in Kathmandu on Saturday, as fans waited outside the venue to catch a glimpse of the creator of the famous Harry Potter series.
According to Major Manoj Mohora of British Gurkha Nepal, the invite-only programme, where Rowling was the chief guest, was one of the first in the series of events lined up for 2015 to mark the 200 years of the Gurkha soldiers in the British Army.
Outside the front gate of the Hyatt Regency were a group of Harry Potter fans holding placards that read “ JK Rowling is our queen”. They were barred from entering the hotel premises.
A few of Rowling’s fans managed to sneak in and got a chance to see the famed author as she passed through the lobby in a red evening gown.
“She is a very private person,” said a member of Rowling’s entourage, specifically requesting fans not to approach her. “She understands that there are fans who want to meet her, but this is a private trip and she is with her family.”
Photos of Rowling at these events have been reposted from Twitter by SnitchSeeker, and can be seen by following the link below, as well as The Baltic Review. Hyper Link to these articles is currently not working, but the sources of this article are:
Please visit these articles to read them in their entrity
Huffington Post took a trip to the new Hogwarts Express exhibit at Leavesden Studio tour, and was able to take a few very beautiful photos of the scarlet red steam engine that is near and dear to our hearts. The Hogwarts Express exhibit, a 20,000 square foot expansion to Leavesden, officially opened to the general public last week. The photos from Huffington Post can be seen here (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/hogwarts-express_5506deede4b00d7437871ced).
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Tom Felton’s documentary on superfans aired this evening on BBC 3. Tom Felton Meets the Superfans premiered at 9 PM GMT, and Twitter has been bursting about it ever since. The documentary aired exclusively for the UK, and a UK audience. As Leaky is US based, we have been unable to view the documentary, and are unable to write our own review. However, we would love to hear reactions from those of you who were able to watch the show this evening! (Even if you missed it, the show is available on BBC 3 iPlayer for UK residence.) Please share your reactions and comments, and collectively we will write a review of the show together. Tom Felton has been retweeting fans reactions on Twitter, a few examples may be seen below. Many fans seem to be reacting with awe, and other positive effects.