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1. Katie Leung on ‘One Child’ and Racism in Media

Katie Leung (Cho Chang) will be back on screen this week in the BBC mini-series One Child. Leung plays Mei Ashley, who was adopted from China by British parents.  As a young woman, Mei learns that her birth mother and biological brother need her help.  She travels to Guangzhou where her brother is on death row after being framed for murder.  (All of this happens during the period of China’s one child policy, which was only revoked last year.)

In anticipation of One Child, Katie Leung sat for an interview with Herald ScotlandShe begins by reflecting on her days filming Harry Potter.  Katie tells Herald Scotland:

“I was so innocent and naive… I think that allowed me to enjoy the moment of being a teenager, part of this massive franchise and not really having a worry in the world. If I was given the chance to go back and relive it, I would probably try to absorb everything around me a bit more.”

Katie also tells Herald Scotland about her relationship with Harry Potter fans over the years.  Some have embraced her and become friends online and regular attendees at her plays.

“It has been incredible because the fans I got to know and love from the beginning have been with me throughout my career,” she says. “They come to see my plays and contact me through social media. When they go to one of my shows that isn’t Potter I get really excited. They have been so supportive and I’m grateful for that.”

Unfortunately, others have not been so kind.  The Herald Scotland reports that one particularly unnerving group in the Harry Potter days started an “I Hate Katie” website to complain about Cho Chang’s romantic involvement with Harry Potter and make racist comments.

“Looking back I can’t remember much about that part of it because I was so in denial of what was happening,” [Katie Leung] concedes. “I put it to the back of my mind. I don’t know if that is the best way to deal with it, but that is naturally what I did in order to move on and be a good actor… I was being judged purely on my looks because she [Cho Chang] is supposed to be a very beautiful girl. This all happened before the films even came out. I thought: ‘Well, I can’t do anything about the way I look, so I’m going to need to do the best acting to make up for it.’”

Katie stills deals with racism at times, even in passive situations.  She tells Herald Scotland:

“There are people who are subconsciously racist and not aware of it…  If I’m in a taxi and asked: ‘Where you off to?’ and I say: ‘I’m going to the airport’, I’ve had the driver say: ‘Oh, your English is really good … It happened not that long ago. You get strangers coming up and saying the one Chinese or Japanese word they know, such as ‘ni hao’ or ‘konnichiwa’.

“It happens on the street or a night out in a bar. It’s sexist and racist, actually. That is something which needs to be addressed, but then again that can be solved through more diversity on our screens.”

With that, Katie Leung points out the problem of racism in film and media.  While in drama school, Katie wondered if she would ever be cast in a Shakespeare play because of her Chinese heritage.  It took a friend to help her realize that “I had been putting myself in a box when I was capable of so much more,”  according to Herald Scotland.  Later, Katie played Portia in The Merchant of Venice at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Leung is delighted that Noma Dumezweni has been cast as Hermione in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, as she noted at A Celebration of Harry Potter in January.  “I was ecstatic when I heard she was going to be playing Hermione,” Katie Leung tells Herald Scotland.  She sees it as a step in the right direction.

“If we are not representing what is in real life on our screens then people are going to remain ignorant, be prejudiced and maintain these stereotypes,” she says. “It could always be better and we are definitely not quite there yet.”

To read more about Katie Leung and BBC’s One Child, see the Herald Scotland article, here.

 

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2. Daniel Radcliffe to star in psychological thriller, ‘Jungle’

Dan Radcliffe certainly has a busy schedule with his upcoming roles in Imperium and Now You See Me: The Second Act, and he is now set to star in Jungle a thriller based on Yossi Ghinsberg’s memoir of his trip to the Amazon.

A young adventurer who trekked into the Amazon with two friends and a guide, Ghinsberg’s expedition soon took a dangerous and deadly turn. The Discovery Channel included Ghinsberg’s story in a docudrama series: I Shouldn’t Be Alive.

The psychological thriller is set to be directed by Greg McLean (Wolf Creek), and Justin Monjo is in charge of the script. Dana Lustig, Gary Hamilton and Mike Gabrawy will co-produce alongside director McLean, with Todd Fellman as executive producer.

The Hollywood Reporter reports:

Screen Australia and Screen Queensland have supported development and invested in the project, which is eyeing a shoot later in 2016 in Australia, among other locations.

“We’re extremely excited about Daniel Radcliffe joining the cast of Jungle,” says Gary Hamilton, managing director of Arclight Films. “He has an enthusiastic global fan base, a wide range as an actor as evident by his diversity of roles and is known for picking out unique and interesting projects.”

Dan is has favoured darker genres after his involvement in the Potter films. The Woman in Black, Kill Your Darlings, Horns and Victor Frankenstein all show Radcliffe’s talent for picking diverse characters to portray, and his latest appearance in Swiss Army Man (which received mixed reviews) depicts his venturing into more ‘unique’ independent films.

His upcoming appearances in Imperium and Now You See Me: The Second Act will add to his diverse array of roles, and with any luck, Jungle will continue to depict his talent!

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3. Dame Maggie Smith’s interview with ‘The Evening Standard’ on winning Best Actress

Last Sunday, Dame Maggie Smith was named Best Actress at the Evening Standard British Film Awards for The Lady in the Van. The Evening Standard caught up with Dame Smith to talk about Sunday’s awards and her wide-ranging career.

On her latest win, Smith remained modest as ever, highlighting the brilliance of the actresses she was up against:

“Quite honestly, the things one was up against, it doesn’t seem fair,” she says. “Brooklyn [starring Saoirse Ronan], and 45 Years in which Charlotte [Rampling] was so terrific, and Sicario [with Emily Blunt], although I didn’t really get that…” 

She puts on a Uriah Heep voice: “I just feel ever so ‘umble. It does seem awfully unfair and I can’t help feeling it’s because I am so old.”

The interview developed more on recent interviews about Smith’s early career conducted by LA Times (read here) and CBS News (here). Smith tells more about her portrayal of The Lady in the Van‘s Mary Shepherd in Nicholas Hytner’s West End production in 1999, alongside writer Alan Bennett:

“I was fascinated by the mystery of her,” says Smith. “And of Alan, the way he coped with it and put up with her. I don’t know who was the oddest. You just wonder where her head was. You think ‘confused’ but she was very clear in what she thought, trying to form these political parties and writing letters to [Seventies TV personality] Eamonn Andrews and all that. 

“As I have got older I wonder how the hell she did it. Honest to God, the filming finished me off and that was sort of deluxe. The van was… cleansed from time to time.” She couldn’t have been the Good Samaritan Bennett was, she says.

A film was immediately mooted in 1999 — “the material is actually more filmic” — but for some reason was only made 15 years later. “Whether it was just that Alan decided he wanted to do it, or Nick nagged him, I don’t know,” says Smith. “It certainly wasn’t me! I didn’t go on about it at all. But I was very pleased to sort of finish her off in a way.” 

The loss of Alan Rickman is also mentioned in the interview, along with the recent passing of Frank Finlay – another member of the first National Theatre company in 1962. Smith starred as Desdemona alongside Finlay (who portrayed Iago) in Laurence Oliver’s Othello:

“One night dear Frank came off stage and he flew to the prompt corner and started tearing at his eyes, like Oedipus,” she recalls. “I got very worried, and went over, and said ‘Are you all right?’. He had terribly bad sight, Frank, and was wearing contact lenses, which he never normally wore, and he said: ‘I’ve just seen Sir Laurence for the first time! And I never want to do it again.’” 

She gives a husky laugh, then says: “You get a bit wobbly, you know, when you get to a certain age. It [mortality] seems to be too near.”

For the first time in her career, Maggie Smith has found herself a lot less busy, and whilst The Evening Standard picks up on the fact that she hasn’t much relished the fame brought on by her roles in Potter and Downton, Smith still finds the quietness ‘weird':

Margaret Natalie Smith was born in Romford but moved to Oxford aged four, her father a pathologist and her mother a secretary who thought young Maggie would never work on stage “with a face like that”. Actually, Smith says, she benefited from not being a “juve”, or ingénue, and has worked constantly, though latterly she’s been stuck playing “’orrible old women”. This is the first time in her career that she hasn’t had a job to go to, “and it’s weird, because suddenly there is no shape to anything”.

On the prospect of taking up future work, Smith says ‘big TV shows’ are out of the option, but on a role in film, she retains her sense of humour and answers:

“I can’t think what the part would be, can you?” she says. “It’ll be another old bag won’t it, hurr-hurr-hurr.”

Smith tends to keep her personal life away from the press, but her spoke briefly about her marriages:

Smith was married to the fiery but rackety actor Robert Stephens for seven years and they had two sons, Toby Stephens and Chris Larkin, both actors “and both out in South Africa at the moment, can you believe, doing this thing called Black Sails, being piratical”. 

After her divorce from Stephens in 1974 she married playwright Beverley Cross in 1975. He died in 1998; Robert Stephens had died in 1995. Smith says it doesn’t get any easier being on her own, especially when fans intrude. But she doesn’t think she’ll enjoy an autumnal romance like the one her friend Judi Dench is having: “No, I don’t think I would get that lucky. I don’t think I would find anybody who would come anywhere near Bev.”

Given how rare interviews with Dame Maggie are, we’re very lucky to have had so many recently! Read the rest of the interview here, and make sure you catch her latest award-winning performance in The Lady in the Van.

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4. Pottercast #256 “The 8th Book”

That’s right, ladies and gentleman, after a long and earned-filled wait, your Pottercast withdrawals are over! Pottercast is BACK! The gang is back and discussing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

The release of the “eighth story,” and now “the eighth book,” has stirred up a lot of conversation and debate. In the latest episode of Pottercast, Melissa, John and Frak give their thoughts and opinions on Cursed Child, its form as a play versus a book, the publishing of the script (or “book”), and the relevance of Cursed Child not being solely written by J.K. Rowling.

Of course, one could not get away without talking about the many Pottermore revelations that have occurred as of late, so there’s a little extra thrown in there about additional Wizarding World content in addition to Cursed Child.

Pottercast episode #256 is available to download through iTunes, here. In order to download the new episode, please subscribe to Pottercast! It’s great to be back!

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5. Pottermore Interviews Eddie Redmayne on “Fantastic Beasts” Set

Today, Pottermore released a new interview with Fantastic Beasts leading man, Eddie Redmayne. The interview talked a little of how Eddie came to be Newt Scamander in J.K. Rowling’s new movie series, and some of the characteristics he shares with Newt. For starters, Eddie actually carries his own brief case and it contains important aspects of his life within it.

Pottermore reports:

 

‘This is actually slightly embarrassing…’

Eddie Redmayne is sheepishly telling me the story of meeting Fantastic Beastsdirector David Yates for the first time. There’s a broad, bright smile on his freckled face as he does.

Eddie has a case. A tan leather case just like the one his character Newt Scamander keeps his beasts in…

‘I’ve had it for about eight years. My dad works in the city and has always had a briefcase. I always did this acting thing for a living, which didn’t feel like a proper job and I wanted something that made me feel like I was doing a proper job and so I got this case. I use it whenever I go on set. I keep my script and whatever mementos I find useful in it.’

 

When Eddie met David Yates, and the Harry Potter director was telling him about Newt’s story and his magical brief case, Eddie became a little self-conscious of his brief case, telling Pottermore,

 

‘I said [to David Yates], “I promise I didn’t know about Newt’s case. I didn’t bring this as some sort of weird method audition – like, don’t worry David, I come with my own case!” And I’m afraid it’s still here, it’s still got my life in it. Not quite as much as Newt has in his case, though…’

 

Telling Pottermore of getting the part of Newt after that first meeting with David Yates, Eddie said it wasn’t a matter of him wanting the role, it was a matter of him getting the role. Pottermore reported,

 

‘David has such a lovely manner and this incredible kindness to him. There was no question I wanted to do this movie. For me, it was a question of whether I’d get the gig. When I read J.K. Rowling’s script, I just had my mind blown. I was so excited by it. The amazing thing was that I found it funny, I found it a thriller, I found it romantic. At the end, I was deeply moved by it.’

 

The entire interview may be read here, keep an eye on Pottermore for more Fantastic Harry Potter news coming soon (hopefully).

 

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6. Preordering “Cursed Child,” Already Number One in Charts

Yesterday, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was made available for preorder shortly after the announcement of its publication. (I preordered a hard copy lat night from Amazon, as soon as they put it out there.) The book, that is not a novel but still a book, of the eighth Harry Potter only took hours to top charts.

Despite being already half-off (available for preorder at only £10.00) on UK book dealer, Waterstones’ website, and the full price of $29.99 for a hard copy on Amazon US, price doesn’t seem to be a factor in it’s success already. Interestingly enough, Barnes and Noble is also making the book available for preorder, already advertising 28% off and offering the book for $21.59.

Both Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s Nook are pricing the electronic book at $14.99. It assumed that Amazon, in the coming weeks (the book has only been available for less than 24 hours) will adjust its pricing to a more competitive number to match the market. (Click on the Amazon and Waterstones links to preorder your copy, and contribute to the chart-topping statistics.)

The book was trending news immediately after its publication announcement, yesterday, as the world exploded with the idea of getting more Potter in print, and the fairness of not having to fly to London to get the rest of the story. Though it never left number one Trending News on Facebook, the byline of the title changed form “Rowling releases 8th Harry Potter book,” to “script of upcoming play reaches No. 1 on book sales charts.” Honestly, who expected any less?

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The book, being published by Little, Brown and Scholastic, and authored by all three script writers (J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany), is being released in both paper copy and electronic versions. Both formats seems to be over taking charts everywhere. Waterstones, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon serving as an example:

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The Gulf News reported on this chart-topping phenomenon and ringed Little, Brown for comment and questioning on whether or not such success would warrant a midnight release party for the books–a phenomenon that Harry Potter introduced to the publishing industry. Gulf News reports:

 

Little, Brown, publisher of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, said it was “too early to say” whether there would be midnight openings this time round, but that Rowling herself would not be doing any events.

As the book topped the Waterstones, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com bestseller lists – where it is already discounted to half price – James Daunt, Waterstones chief executive, said there were “no sweeter three words to the ears of a bookseller than ‘the eighth story’.

“Younger booksellers now face, of course, the dubious prospect of their older colleagues rolling out war stories of Harry Potter launches for the next five months. On 31 July, we will put these into the shade.”

Simon Heafield of Foyles said the bookshop chain was “massively excited at the news and are already putting our heads together on the question of how to mark the occasion in style.”

“It’s great that bookshops will get the chance to benefit from this new chapter of Harry’s story,” he said.

David Shelley, chief executive of Little, Brown, said on Wednesday that Rowling and her team had received many requests from fans who cannot see the play to publish it in book form: “We are absolutely delighted to be able to make it available for them,” he said.

 

The full report may be read here.

 

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7. UPDATE: ‘Cursed Child’ Book to be Published in July, and Jim Kay’s Illustrated ‘Chamber of Secrets’ Announced!

Following speculations, Pottermore and Little Brown UK have just announced that the script book for Cursed Child will be released July 31st (Harry Potter / J.K. Rowling’s birthday)!

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Pottermore reports:

A host of new print and digital publishing has been announced from J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, including a Special Rehearsal Edition of the script book of new stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I & II. 

Print and digital editions will publish simultaneously after the play’s world premiere this summer, and will comprise of the version of the play script at the time of the play’s preview performances. 

Theatre previews allow the creative team the chance to rehearse and explore scenes further before a production’s official opening night. Harry Potter and the Cursed Childopens for previews several weeks before its official first performance on Saturday 30 July and the Special Rehearsal Edition of the script book will later be replaced by a Definitive Collector’s Edition.

The news confirms that fans around the world will be able to join this next venture into the Wizarding World, so don’t fret if you didn’t get tickets to the play!

Pottermore also announced the release of Special Editions, and Jim Kay’s next illustrated edition of Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets!:

Next year will see the publication of four special editions of the first book in the UK, one for each of the four Hogwarts houses. There will also be a brand new edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in 2017, with new content by J.K. Rowling, as well as new formats and editions of the Hogwarts Library books – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Quidditch Through the Ages and The Tales of Beedle the Bard. 

Pottermore doesn’t play favourites, but we’re especially looking forward to nabbing a copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets illustrated by Jim Kay. That’s coming a little sooner, in October 2016, and we’ll be prodding Jim for a look at his latest work soon because we’re nosy like that.

2016 is looking like a huge year – Cursed Child, Fantastic Beasts, more Jim Kay illustrations – what more could we want?!

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8. Daniel Radcliffe Features in Short Film Defending The BBC

Daniel Radcliffe joined celebrities Dame Judi Dench, Steve Coogan, David Oyelowo, Sir Ian McKellen, Naomie Harris, and James Corden in a new video on behalf of The Great BBC Campaign, defending the BBC against cuts.

The video’s slogan is “Don’t let the BBC become a memory. Fight for it”.

Radcliffe thanked the BBC for his first role in David Copperfield, which also featured Dame Maggie Smith, and Imelda Staunton:

“I got to work on the first job I did with Bob Hoskins, Maggie Smith, Ian McNiece, Imelda Staunton, Paul Whitehouse, Emilia Fox, it just goes on and on.”

The film – made by Simon Curtis – has been released before a white paper is published, which will detail the future of the BBC.

Watch the video below!

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9. Dame Maggie Smith wins Best Actress, Emma Thompson dedicates award to Alan Rickman

Dame Maggie Smith won ‘Best Actress’ at the Evening Standard British Film Awards,  for her role as Miss Shepherd in The Lady In The Van.

Emma Thompson won the Comedy award, for her portrayal of Cemolina in The Legend of Barney Thomson. Other nominations in this category included Fantastic Beasts’ Colin Farrell  (The Lobster).

Thompson also gave a heartwarming dedication to Alan Rickman in her speech:

“I’d like to commit this moment in time to dearest Alan Rickman, who many of us are dearly missing tonight. It’s so depressing but there it is, it does happen.

“He always predicted I would end up looking like my mother after a lifetime of Guinness, fish suppers and untipped Players. So thank you.”

The award for best film went to Brooklyn, which features Julie Walters. Walters has been nominated for the ‘Best Supporting Actress’ Bafta (the awards take place 14th February).

Eddie Redmayne and Dame Maggie Smith have also received Bafta 2016 nominations, so keep posted to hear more about the results!

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10. Emma Watson Attend Premiere of “Colonia”

Emma Watson attended the red carpet European premiere of her new film, Colonia. Emma wore a simple, but chic white dress and off-white coat.

Reuters was able to ask Emma a quick question while she attended the premiere. This video can be seen below:

The Daily Mail snapped many photos of Emma and her costars, a few which can be seen below.

 

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Colonia will make its Switzerland and German opening date on February 18, opening in the USA in April. More premiere dates can be seen here at IMDB.

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11. PEN America Updates Website for Gala Honoring Rowling

As Leaky reported earlier this year, PEN America released a press statement, saying Rowling was to be honored with the Allen Foundation Literary Service Award at the PEN America Gala this May. The PEN America website has been updated to give details on the event.

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There will be two honorees for the Gala–J.K. Rowling and Michael Pietsch. The website describes the two honorees, the reason for the reception of their awards, and the event, saying:

 

On Monday, May 16, New York’s literati will gather at the PEN America Literary Gala at the American Museum of Natural History to honor fierce opponents of censorship around the globe. As violence from Mexico to Russia and China to France this year has forced many to consider compromising democratic values in a shortsighted bargain for security, more and more writers—including honorees J.K. Rowling and Michael Pietsch—have joined PEN in defending freedom of expression and the free flow of ideas.

Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling will receive the 2016 PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award for the extraordinary inspiration her books have provided to generations of readers and writers worldwide. Since her rise from single mother to literary superstar, J.K. Rowling has used her talents and stature as a writer to fight inequality on both a local and global level. Herself the frequent object of censorship in schools and libraries across the globe, as well as online targeting, Rowling has emerged as a vocal proponent of free expression and access to literature and ideas for children, as well as incarcerated people, the learning-disabled, and women and girls worldwide.

 

The Gala will take place Monday May 16, 6:30 PM, at American Museum of Natural History in New York.

If there are any Harry Potter fans out there willing to pay between $12,000-$50,000 for a table, you can make your reservations here. Buying a $25,000 or $50,000 table gets you a private cocktail reception with J.K. Rowling. (Though, adding a $50,000 purchase to ones shopping cart is daunting–even if you just do it for kicks and back out before making payment.)

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12. Emma Watson as Dr. Who?

Many Dr. Who fans were sadden to hear that Steven Moffat and Peter Capaldi will be stepping down from their roles with the highly successful TV series sooner than any expected. With a new writer and a new Doctor being introduced to the series in the near future (2018), there have been many interesting suggestions flying around the rumor mill–including rumors of Harry Potter stars filling in the lead role.

With new head writer, Chris Chibnall, will there be a woman Doctor Who? It would certainly shake things up a bit for the series–which has essentially been running since 1963 (the first series ended in 1989, but was brought back in 2005)–as the show has always run under a male lead as the Doctor, with a female supporting actress as the Doctor’s companion.

Popular suggestions in the fan base right now are Benedict Cumberbatch, Ben Whishaw (“Q” from the recent James Bond movies), Richard Ayoade and Chiwetel Ejiofor. But the possibility of having a woman Doctor, for the first time in over 50 years, also opens up the opportunity for a male companion. Two popular suggestions at the moment are our own Harry Potter lead actress, Emma Watson, and Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams.

Emma Watson’s role as Hermione is a relatively fitting character for a female Dr. Who. Emma Watson’s Hermione was incredibly intelligent, independent, and caring. A Doctor Who, traveling through space and time, with expansive knowledge of all of history and the future, acting as a guardian aid in the safety of the universe, and as a leader embodies all of these things.

Though a female Doctor Who’s personality and quirkiness would be much different than Hermione’s, Emma Watson would still be a great actress to select for the role. Of course, even if she is offered the role, it is up to her to accept it.

The changing of gender roles opens up an interesting discussion within the TV series as well as within the industry itself. Please share with us your thoughts and suggestions!

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13. Emma Watson Expands Her Influence

The brilliant Emma Watson’s influence continues to grow!  Over 100,000 people have joined her book club, Our Shared Shelf, on GoodReads, and now news breaks of her appointment at an Oxford college.

The Guardian reports that Emma Watson joins Benedict Cumberbatch and nine others as visiting fellows at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.  The college posted Watson’s bio as a means of introduction:

Best known for her role as Hermione Granger in Harry Potter, Emma graduated from Brown University and attended Worcester College, Oxford. She received a BAFTA Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year in 2014. In the same year she also became a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador advocating equality and promoting education for girls.

Emma Watson also lived in the Oxford area before being cast in the Harry Potter films.

The appointments were announced by the college’s principal, Alan Rusbridger, former editor-in-chief of The GuardianRusbridger writes,

We canvassed names from our own governing body, of people of distinction whom we admired and whom we felt could add to the intellectual and cultural life of LMH.  A small sub-committee then whittled down the names to arrive at the list we are announcing today – which spans science, medicine, the performing arts, literature, feminism, politics, law and policing.

Of the eleven people honored, Rusbridger claims that only one is a serious academic.  All are leaders in their respective fields, including artist Cornelia Parker, musician Neil Tennant (of the Pet Shop Boys), and film director Beeban Kidron.

Lady Margaret Hall hopes that Emma Watson and the other fellows will feel free to drop by the college, join the students and professors for meals in the dining hall, and participate in at least one structured event/appearance/lecture at the college over the course of the three years of the fellowship.  The point is for both the students and the visiting fellows to grow in their knowledge and gain new perspectives.

Please join us in congratulating Emma Watson on this most recent honor!

To read more, visit Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford or The Guardian article.

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14. More Exclusive Cast Interviews from ‘A Celebration of Harry Potter’!

Huffington Post and Hollywood Life have recently published two cast interviews with Matt Lewis, Rupert Grint, Evanna Lynch and Katie Leung following A Celebration of Harry Potter.

Rupert Grint thinks Hermione and Ron would be separated (if not divorced), none of them would overlook a role in Star Wars, and Rupert thinks Cursed Child made a huge mistake.

First up is Huff Post, and their representative really got the cast talking, giving a great introduction about the importance of breaking out of viewing these great actors as their characters:

“What I enjoy as I sit down to speak with the group is how much these adults are unlike their characters (except for maybe Lynch, who is still delightfully Luna Lovegood-esque). It seems obvious, but we’ve such a tendency to want to lock actors into their iconic roles. It is challenge breaking out of that, especially when you’re remembered as being a cute, or awkward, or weird, or chubby kid on screen. Yet each has grown up, and gone on to other acting gigs and new pursuits.”

This interview gave a broad sweep of the actor’s opinions on Fantastic Beasts, their characters, further roles in big franchises and more!

On giving advice to Fantastic Beasts and Cursed Child cast members: 

Matt Lewis: I don’t know how much advice I could ever give anyone. The people who have been cast, as far as I’m aware of, are very, very experienced. They don’t need any advice from me. But I guess just enjoy it. It has been a hell of an experience for me, and everything associated with it: the people, the fans, the environment. It was a good gig to be on! Just enjoy it because there’s nothing else like it, literally in the world. It is unique.

Rupert Grint: I think it’s going to be a very different film, I think. I don’t know much about it, but as Matthew said, just enjoy it. Go with the flow.

Evanna Lynch: I’d say trust David Yates, as well. He always knows better on the film. Sometimes I would go, “Oh, I’m doing terrible, I’m messing up.” He would come along and suggest something tiny, and it would change everything. He is very clever. And he is the one who has transitioned from one to the other. He has the whole picture.

On involving themselves in any large-scale productions again:

Q: This was very much your childhood, and your job growing up. If you had the opportunity now to enter another franchise that would consume multiple years – like Lord of the Rings or Star Wars – would you be reluctant to join that production?

A:

Lynch: No. I loved it. I love the family feel, and the idea you can get deeper into your character over a year. I have been on films that were just three or five weeks, and sometimes I’ve been like, damn, I’d only just started to get into it. It was nice to have something you could develop it, and learn and grow alongside your character. And I just loved the family thing. I got very comfortable there.

Lewis: Hey, if Star Wars come knocking on the door tomorrow, I’m not going to go, “Um no, guys, I’m sorry, I don’t want to do four films, it’s fine.” No, of course not. I’d think about it, and I love Star Wars, etc. But there would definitely be a bit of trepidation in joining a big franchise again for that amount of time. Just simply because I’m really enjoying the diversity of the roles I’ve been given recently. Playing a character is great, but I love the process of finding someone, finding a character, creating and drawing it up. And trying to figure out what makes that person tick. When you do something for however many years, it can start to become – I don’t want to say mundane because it was never boring on the films. But you kind of lose that spark a little bit you get in that first day of school, or on a new job. It is exciting. And I’ve gotten that so often in the last couple years, I’d be reluctant to give that up.

Leung: I kind of agree with Matt. If it goes on for any longer than a certain period of time, you do get really comfortable and feel very safe. Having done all the projects after Potter, it has been a few weeks, a few months for a project. You do really get to know a character, and it is wonderful knowing that, once you stop filming or being on stage and being that character, it essentially dies. So I quite like that. Of course, it depends who the character is you’re going to be playing. But yeah, if it’s Star Wars …

Lewis: Star Wars is welcomed.

Grint: I don’t know. I don’t think it’s put me off. There’s pros and cons. Harry Potter could be at times quite suffocating. It did take up our whole lives. So yeah, I suppose there would be tiny bit of reluctance. Now that I’m out of it, I can see beyond it and it’s nice to have a real life, and do things you want. There’s a lot of freedom in that. But yeah, I think it all depends on the material.

Who knows – maybe a role as another Resistance pilot, or as a key character to unveiling Rey’s mysterious past will come up. Make it happen, Disney!

The Huff Post representative also asked where they’d like to think their Potter characters will be in the future.

As we know, Ron and Hermione were married with two children (Rose and Hugo) at Nineteen Years Later, all of whom attended the 427th Quidditch World Cup in 2014. Ron and Hermione’s relationship seems to be going well – that is, unless you take Rupert Grint’s word for it:

Grint: [laughs] I would expect Ron has probably divorced Hermione already. I don’t think that relationship would have done very well.

Lynch: What?!

Like living in his own, low-rent bachelor pad?

Grint: Yeah. Exactly. He’s living on his own, in a little one-bedroom apartment. He hasn’t got a job.

Lynch: Don’t say divorced. Say they’ve split up. They can reconcile.

Grint: Yeah, they’re briefly separated.

Ron is on Tinder doing horribly…

Grint: Yeah!

Lewis: Living in a one-bedroom studio apartment all alone, doing nothing. He lives in Kings Cross, right in that area.

Evanna took a more career-related view for Luna, and we can definitely see this happening:

Lynch: I think Luna would have an adventure documentary series. She becomes a naturalist, and I think she’d travel the world and have a show. I could be a wildlife narrator.

Like a David Attenborough of the wizard world?

Lynch: Yeah, and she would prove all her creatures exist. Everyone is so dubious of her, and I’d like her to show they’re real.

Anybody else want this to become a mini-series?!

Katie Leung had aspirations for her character – we love her no-nonsense view of Cho:

Katie Leung: I reckon Cho would probably have become a really successful entrepreneur, and really cold and ruthless.

Lynch: Oh my god! [laughs]

[Interviewer] I like this. 

Leung: Yeah, she’s cried all the tears she could cry, and now she’s become real cold and heartless.

Lewis: This is dark! I love this!

[Interviewer] What kind of entrepreneur? She runs a tech company? Or a developer who tears down bachelor pads like Ron’s?

Leung: Yeah, yeah, that! Exactly.

Lynch: Oh…

Matthew Lewis bases his on information he received from J.K. Rowling herself, and even works Rupert’s view of Ron into his vision:

Lewis: Oh god. Neville works at the school, right? So he’s a professor, just enjoying that. Maybe he’s trying to get Ron a job, man. And he keeps throwing it back in his face, like, “I don’t need your help, Neville; Jesus, just leave it.” And I’m like, “Come on, it’s fine, we’ll sort it out, just trying to get you back into the fold.” Yeah, him and Hermione don’t see eye to eye because I’ve taken Ron’s side in the relationship, obviously. They’ve got everyone split off, friends wise. I don’t know who you guys chose? Did you choose Hermione?

Lynch: Ron!

Leung: No, Ron.

Lewis: Are you Ron as well? Jeez, Hermione is thin on the ground with friends!

Leung: Well, I’ll go with Hermione, then.

Lynch: I think Ron would need more help. Hermione would handle herself better.

Grint: Yeah, he’s in a bad way.

[Interviewer] But Ron could have a job as a replacement for Mr. Filch

Grint: Yeah!

Lewis: Yeah, I’ll get you in as the caretaker of the school, man. We’ll sort it out. Don’t worry about it.

Grint: Just get me out there. Just get me out of the house.

Lynch: And we’ll get you back together.

Read the full interview here!

Hollywood Life‘s interview focussed on J.K. Rowling’s newest endeavour: Cursed Child. Rupert Grint thinks they’ve made a huge mistake!:

“Um yeah, I think they made a huge mistake in not casting me,” 

He reportedly said, but of course he was joking – we’re all sure Paul Thornley is going to do an amazing job!

 “No, no. I think it’s going to amazing, that it’s going on, and I can’t wait to see it.”

In a similar vein to his interview with MTV, Matthew Lewis spoke about feeling like his role as Neville was complete:

“I feel like the story arch that Jo wrote and that we tried our best to put on screen was a complete one,”

“I took that journey and finished it the way I wanted to. He will always hold a fun place in my heart, but I don’t feel like there is more that I can do with Neville. I’m happy to leave him.”

Evanna Lynch, however, has something to say about not being cast!:

“I don’t feel that way at all …  As happy as I am that they are exploring the universe and that there are new stories in the universe, I’m so angry I’m not a part of it…100% I’d go back and do more.”

Read the full Hollywood Life interview here

So there you have it – Evanna will soon be portraying a Resistance Pilot, the Wizarding World’s very own David Attenborough, and a West End star (kidding, unfortunately). 

You can read more about cast interviews from A Celebration of Harry Potter here and here!

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15. How are You Celebrating Harry Potter Book Night?

After the Celebration of Harry Potter last weekend, the celebrating and partying continues! Tonight, February 4th, is the night of the second annual Harry Potter Book Night. This is a night of celebrating the Harry Potter books and the significance they’ve made on our individual lives, and the entire publishing industry and literary world as a whole.

There are many celebrations taking place in bookstores, homes, and various other settings around the U.K. and the U.S. Last year, only Bloomsbury publishing provided party kits of the nights events, but expanded the celebration to other countries through Scholastic.

This year’s Harry Potter Book Night also has a special theme–“A Night of Spells.” In theme, Bloomsbury hosted a poll to find Harry Potter fans’ favorite spell from the series. Participants could choose from the following top ten list. Expecto Patronum won!

1. Expecto patronum – to summon up a Patronus
2. Accio – to call an object to you
3. Wingardium Leviosa – to levitate objects
4. Expelliarmus –to disarm your opponent
5. Lumos – to ignite one’s wand-tip to provide light
6. Alohomora – to open locked windows and doors
7. Avada Kedavra – to bring about instant death
8. Sectumsempra –  the incantation for one of the Half-Blood Prince’s spells
9. Obliviate – to make the subject forget
10. Riddikulus  –  to make a Boggart take on a comical appearance and eventually explode

The night is still very young, and the Harry Potter Book Night website has a map of events and activities to participate in. You can find ideas and different celebrations here. Pottermore wrote up about the celebration, wanting to hear about fan’s celebrations. We also want to know! Please share with us your plans for the night!

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16. Happy Birthday Warwick Davis!

Today we honor and celebrate Warwick Davis’s birthday! This Harry Potter actor who played goblins and charms professors and choir directors throughout the Harry Potter films turns 46 today. In honor of his birthday, J.K. Rowling retweeted a picture that show a montage of Davis’s film roles over the years!

 

Join us in wishing Warwick Davis a very happy birthday!

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17. New Trailer for Matt Lewis’s “Me Before You”

USA Today released the exclusive first trailer of Matt Lewis’s (Neville Longbottom) new film, Me Before You. The film stars Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin in the film adaptation of Jojo Moyes’ novel. Matt plays a character named Patrick, Lou’s (Clarke) small-town steady boyfriend before she goes and works for Will (Claflin).

Though Matt’s “obsessed with with sports and diet” character isn’t featured in the new trailer, which focuses solely on the leading protagonists, but it looks like a great spring break flick and we can’t wait to see Matt on the silver screen. The movie premieres March 4.

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18. Demand Prices Adopted for Opening of the ‘Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ at Universal Studios Hollywood

In the run up to the April 7th opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood, the theme park is planning ahead to try to manage operations around this time.

Their new pricing policy will reflect popular demand, so will charge higher for this period of massive fluctuations in visitors (attendance jumped almost 30% in 2011 after the installation of a ride at the Wizarding World in Orlando, and after new installations in 2014 revenue was boosted by double digits).

LA Times reports:

“Under the pricing policy launched Tuesday by Universal Studios, tickets bought at the gate remain $95. But visitors who book tickets online for low-demand days — such as a weekday in February before Harry Potter opens — can save up to $20.

“During weekends and peak demand days during spring break or summer, parkgoers save only $5 by booking online.

“Universal wants people to plan ahead, which will help it manage its operations. Parkgoers can lock in prices by buying tickets online for dates through the end of September. People who procrastinate might see online prices fluctuate depending on last-minute demand.

” “Demand-based pricing not only helps maximize ticket revenues, but also provides a tool to shift price-conscious consumers to less-busy days,” said Michael Erstad, senior consumer analyst at New York-based ITG Investment Research. “Spreading visitations throughout the week may help improve the overall customer experience at the park.” “

Basically, if you’re wanting to be one of the first to see the Wizarding World in Hollywood, be prepared to pay their high prices. Alternatively, plan around these high-demand dates and go at a period expected to be less crowded!

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19. “Bringing the Films to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter” Q&A with the Universal Orlando Creative Team

The final live stream from Universal Orlando’s A Celebration of Harry Potter was broadcast today. The live Q&A featured a panel of members from Universal Orlando’s creative team, who were there to talk about bringing the magic and wonder of the films to life in the theme park. The live stream itself was quite short, and can be watched below.

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Today’s Q&A related to yesterday’s prop discussion in that many of the props used in the films were recreated for the theme park. A few fascinating tidbits were revealed, including that there are 106,000 props in the theme park version of Diagon Alley, and 29-30,000 in Hogsmeade. Universal Orlando’s official Twitter account also posted a few interesting pieces of information during and after the live stream:

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This panel discussion marked the final official event of A Celebration of Harry Potter, but if you’d like to relive some of the glorious details from this magical weekend, take a peek at Pottermore’s highlights.

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20. Eddie’s Wand or Newt’s Wand?

During the Celebration of Harry Potter, many news sites got the opportunity to sit down for exclusive interviews with many of the film experts that were there. Blastr and other interviews there released some vital information about Newt Scamander’s wand in the up coming wizarding world films, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

 

“Bonus: In a group interview conducted separately with Harry Potter propmaster Pierre Bohanna, we learned Newt’s movie wand has lime wood, shell, bone and other elements to reflect his consideration of animals.”

 

How is this? EW released the first large set report from the new films last year, and told fans that Newt’s wand was not made out of any animal products, which begged the question of how it was made–the wand cores revealed in the Harry Potter series were Phoenix feather, dragon heart string, unicorn hair, Thestral tail hair, Kneazle whisker, and veela hair, all are considered “animal products.” Other known wand cores include coral and dittany stalk.
I think it is responsible to say that bone is considered an animal product, as all animals have bones. Being a zoologist, it was presumed that no animals were harmed or killed, or even died by natural causes, in the making of Newt’s wand. Is it possible for the prop to be made out of different materials than the cannon wand of the story? Most wands in real life are made out of synthetic material, so that doesn’t seem to make any sense.EW reported: “His wand, too, is deliberately simple and wooden.”

 

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21. Leaky Fans on the Ground at the HP Celebration- Part 1: Chelsea

Unfortunately, this last weekend, Leaky wasn’t able to attend the Harry Potter Celebration in Orlando. However, we do have marvelous Harry Potter fans who follow our site, and we invited them to share their experiences of the celebration.

Chelsea Kleven, a Senior Production Editor for a Central Florida newspaper, was the first to share her experience with us. The following review of the Harry Potter celebration is written by Chelsea Kleven. (Click to enlarge photos)

 

I had no expectations for the Harry Potter Celebration weekend. My friend Amy and I had heard about the Harry Potter Celebrations before, but had never been to one. We live an hour from Universal Studios and both have annual passes to the park, and this year, we decided to see what it was all about. We figured it would be over-crowded and impossible to do anything all day, but since we have been to the park and experienced this many times before, we didn’t mind.

Amy and I both work for a daily Central Florida newspaper. I’m a designer, and she has a design background but now works on special projects and social media. We are both HUGE newspaper nerds, which inspires our love for the Daily Prophet (even though it seems Daily Prophet is written by many crooked journalists in the books.)
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We headed straight for Hogsmeade Village when we got to the park, though we normally go to Diagon Alley first (that way you can ride the train from King’s Cross to Hogwarts like you would at the start of a school year. We’ve given this a lot of thought.)
When we looked up the schedule for the Celebration events, we discovered there was a graphic design panel happening in about 45 minutes in Hogsmeade. Perfect! We had just enough time for a ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, and run over to the panel. 
For as big of a Harry Potter fan and design nerd as I am, I had absolutely no prior knowledge of Minalima, the graphic design duo behind the Harry Potter films. Their talk was short and sweet, but still awesome. I had no idea what being a graphic designer for a film was like.
They began with a short video showing clips of their work as seen in the films. They discussed how many people don’t realize how every paper, poster, package … everything!…has to be created by a graphic designer. 
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Minalima spent a large amount of time creating a realistic world for these characters to interact in, but often, their work is rarely seen in the final film. For example, they said they spent 7 months working on all of the elements for Fred and George’s shop, when it was only seen in the film for about a minute and 30 seconds.
They weren’t bitter about this at all though. They seemed thrilled to have been a part of the films, and lucky to help bring authenticity to the magical world. Another example of their hard work was how they designed all of Hermione’s books for Deathly Hallows. However, the books, too, were never even seen in the film. All they got was a sound of the books falling over in Hermione’s beaded bag. 
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They discussed how the parks were such a dream for them, because they were now able to show their work in a place where people were able to really stop and look at it. Park-goers could pick up boxes, look at advertisements on the walls of Diagon Alley, and really absorb the detail that went into everything.
The duo also discussed their favorite pieces to create, which were the Daily Prophet and The Marauders Map. The Daily Prophet is my absolute obsession, so I was busy snapping hundreds of pictures of all of the close-up images of the Daily Prophet and didn’t absorb much of what was said about it.
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As far as the Marauders Map, they really reiterated how they wanted to pump the personality of the characters who created the map into their design. It wasn’t about their personal design aesthetic, it was about bringing authenticity to the object. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs were crafty and intelligent, and they wanted the map to be a reflection of those qualities.
The map was drawn BY HAND based off of architectural maps that had been created for the set. The hand drawings were scanned in and developed into what you see on film. When the map was  first created, there was a small mistake on it. They had included the Room of Requirement. Someone on the team realized that the room was not supposed to appear on the map, and went back through the whole process to take the room out.
After the graphic design panel, Amy and I headed over to the other park where the Harry Potter Expo was located. After chatting with some people at the design panel, we learned there was a wall covered in Daily Prophets at the expo and we had to check it out. We went first to Diagon Alley and had lunch at the Leaky Cauldron, complete with a Dragon Scale beer, and (it is our tradition on every visit) we sat on the stoop of the Daily Prophet office and took a photo.
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We didn’t have to wait very long to get into the expo, though it was pretty crowded. We caught a glimpse of people being sorted into houses by the sorting hat on the way in. 
The expo wasn’t quite as large as we were expecting. There was a large stuffed Fluffy you could take photos with, and a large Fawkes perched from the ceiling. A giant Lego replica of Hogwarts and some other movie props were on display. A wall blank wall was available for fans to write “What Harry Potter means to you.”
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There was a booth handing out posters of the cover of the illustrated Sorcerer’s Stone, and a place to take a Quidditch themed photo. At the Pottermore booth, there was a large map of the new wizarding schools around the world. [Click to enlarge photo]
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Minalima had a booth set up as well, which was where the Daily Prophet wall was. Amy and I took about 394 photos in front of it. Mira Mina and Eduardo Lima were there signing prints they had for sale. They also had a spread of some of the movie props they had designed, such as a copy of Advanced Potion Making, a stack of Qibblers, and pamphlets on “When Muggles Attack.”
There was a cool display of school letters hanging from the ceiling and trailing on the floor, that was previously featured in their gallery exhibit last month. The graphic designer in me was overjoyed.
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There was a studio tour at the expo as well, but the line was incredibly long so Amy and I decided to skip it. And it was lucky we did, because when we left we realized the cast Q&A panel had just begun nearby. We stood towards the back of the crowd, but we still could not believe we were actually seeing the cast answer questions. We had no expectations going into the day of even catching a glimpse of them, so it was an awesome surprise.
Overall the day was amazing. There had been a lot more to do and see over the whole weekend, but we were completely happy with the little bit we got to experience. Maybe next time we’ll try and see more of the events – I highly recommend making a visit!
Chelsea took video of the Q&A that took place in the early afternoon. This cast Q&A was not live streamed, exclusive for those at the celebration. A similar cast Q&A that night was made available on live stream. In this clip the actors talk about their fears and if they have conquered them. The topic of spiders led to asking Rupert to rap, but Matt came to Rupert’s rescue with his own spider story. Apparently Matt is more afraid of spiders than Rupert, and no he definitely has not overcome that fear.

 

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22. New Teasers for ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’, featuring Alan Rickman and Helena Bonham Carter.

Yesterday, Disney released two new teasers for Alice Through the Looking Glass, in the run-up to the film’s release in May.

The beloved Alan Rickman’s voice is heard in the clips, and the late actor will make his final appearance in the Alice In Wonderland sequel as the voice of the Blue Caterpillar. Helena Bonham Carter also appears in the teasers as the Red Queen, and the Cheshire Cat, voiced by Stephen Fry.

‘You’ve been gone too long, Alice. There are matters which might benefit from your attention’, Alan’s voice drawls ominously in the first teaser. ‘Friends cannot be neglected’.

‘You’ve been gone too long, Alice.’ he says, again in the second Hurry Up clip. ‘There are matters which cannot be neglected… Hurry.’

In this second teaser, Helena Bonham Carter’s ‘Hello, Alice.’ is followed by a very Bellatrix-esque evil laugh, and something that sounds fittingly like a yelled ‘I want her head!’.

The sequel takes place three years after the first instalment – a short summary of the plot is as follows:

“[Alice’s] quest to rescue the Mad Hatter from a heartbreaking end against the pressures of a ticking Chronosphere, a device that powers all of time itself”

See Alice Through the Looking Glass in cinemas from May 27th, 2016. A plethora of Potter actors will be making appearances in the film, which you can read about here. Take a look at the ‘First Look’ trailer below!

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23. NEW Harry Potter POP! Vinyl Figures announced!

Funko announced the newest Pop! Vinyl characters in their wave 2 exclusive Harry Potter collection yesterday, and Matthew Lewis is already showing his off!

The first is a Barnes & Noble Exclusive Pre-Release – an absolutely adorable Neville Longbottom (with Trevor, too!), which Matthew Lewis posed with in his recent post (his moustache will be making its latest appearance in Happy Valley):

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The next is equally as adorable – Sorting Hat Harry Potter:

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Qudditch Draco Malfoy‘s Pop! Vinyl is pretty suave, we think: 6881_HP_Quidditch_Draco_hires_large

 

And the new Trizward Cedric Diggory is what all the Hufflepuffs have been waiting for!

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Neville and Harry are Barnes and Noble exclusives, whilst Cedric and Draco are exclusive to Hot Topic.

These characters will be released in March, and we can’t wait! Let us know what you think via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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24. Matt Lewis in “Happy Valley”

News on Matt Lewis’s (Neville Longbottom) new role in BBC One’s popular dramatic TV series, Happy Valley, is starting to emerge. Radio Times gave insight into the second season of Happy Valley, which is to make its season premiere next week, February 9, at 9:00 PM.

We’ve noticed that new mustache on Matt’s up lip, and it has already made its appearance in his role as Sgt. Drum Drummond in Ripper Street. Pictures released by Radio Times show that the ‘stache is staying, and will also star as apart of Matt’s character in Happy Valley.

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Matt is joining the Happy Valley cast with another face that is familiar to Harry Potter fans. Shirley Henderson, who plays Moaning Myrtle in the Harry Potter series, will be joining ranks with the killer Sarah Lancashire’s Catherine Cawood is hunting for. Matt will be playing a character named Sean Balmforth.

Not much is known about Matt’s character, Sean Balmforth. The BBC recently released an extended media pack full of interviews with the cast, including Matt, who offered a little insight into his new character. The BBC interviews reported:

 

“Q: How would you describe your character?

“A: Sean has had a bad start in life and it’s defined him in ways that are out of his control. He’s not an alcoholic, as in he doesn’t need it to function but he is well on his way to becoming one. He’s angry and lost and finds it difficult to express his emotions which when coupled with his drinking can become a tinderbox.

“Q: Was your character challenging to play?

“A: It was tough to get into his mind. I can’t say too much without giving away parts of the story that we will discover along the way with Sean but he’s in a very dark place and it gets worse for him throughout. Getting into the mind of somebody like that with those problems and those thought processes was daunting. Luckily I had a superb cast and crew around to help out.”

 

Matt talked of his experiences on set, why he chose to take on this roll in Happy Valley, and being able to watch and learn from the show’s the two leading ladies.

 

“Q: What appealed to you about this project?

“A: Sally Wainwright and Sarah Lancashire. I hadn’t seen the first series until after I’d been cast but I knew the sheer talent involved in the project and how successful the first series had been. I’d worked with Sarah and Siobhan Finneran about 20 years previous and the chance to do that again was amazing. The opportunity to work with Sally and the complexity of the character she had created meant I couldn’t say no even if I wanted to.

“Q: Are there any anecdotes you can tell us about that happened during filming?

“A: There was a wonderful moment off set when the crew were setting up and Sarah and Siobhan were talking about a big scene they had coming up in a few days. Sarah half knew it and Siobhan hadn’t really looked at it. They decided to run it together and I feel so fortunate that I was there to watch it. It was a big scene, about ten pages or something and after about 4 or 5 pages Siobhan had gotten as far as she’d prepared. Sarah kept going and so Siobhan basically guessed what her character would say in the situation and it just fit. Every single time it fit and Sarah had a cue and was able to keep going with her dialogue. It was mind-blowing, they inhabit their characters so well and they work off each other like real sisters. It was such a pleasure to watch. I wasn’t there for the actual shooting of the scene a few days later but I bet it was a corker.”

 

As to the other Matt Lewis film and tv appearances we can look forward too,

 

“I shot a film for Warner Brothers called Me Before You a few months before Happy Valley so that’ll be out in 2016 and I’ve just finished a new season of Ripper Street which is also on in 2016. Filming on the next season of that starts late January so I’m growing my 19th century sideburns and moustache back as we speak.”

 

More on Happy Valley, including an interview with Shirley Henderson as she discusses her character, can be seen in the media pack, here, and on the Happy Valley BBC program web page, here. Thanks to MuggleNet for reporting the scoop. The trailer released for Happy Valley can be seen below.

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25. Analysis of Newest “Fantastic Beast” Clip, Everything We Know so Far

This last weekend, Pottermore released a new clip from behind the scenes of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them at the 3rd annual Harry Potter Celebration. They also included an analysis of the video, that basically reiterated what the video showed.

However, we Potter fans know that these things reveal much much more, if one only looks close enough. The following is an analysis of the behind the scenes clip from “Fantastic Beasts” and a cumulation of everything we know so far. We actually may know a lot more than we think…

First, Let’s Talk Characters

The full cast list on the Fantastic Beasts IMDB has gotten long. It includes gala dinner guests, MACUSA receptionists,  witches and wizards (uh, duh), upper class wealthy people, lower class hard working citizens, criminals, a candy store girl (?), exterminators (exciting! Are they big beasty exterminators?), executioners (scary!), factory workers, bank workers, aurors (of course), jazzy people (it is the Roaring 20’s, full of wizard Gatsby parties), gangsters (New York Wizard Mob?), customs officials (immigration to the US has always been a big thing, but there was a big wave in the early 1900’s), Senator Henry Shaw and a Henry Shaw Jr., and journalists (hopefully not the Rita Skeeter kind)! There are even people cast as “beasts”–we have a big foot (Sasquatch) and Edd Osmond has been cast as a Demiguise:

Wow. All those characters make quite a story! But what do we know about the characters with names?

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[Picture: Dan Fogler as Jacob stands in front of a drugstore/soda fountain/candy shop]

Remember Modesty? According to the WB Casting call out, we know that Modesty as,

“a haunted young girl with inner strength and stillness. She also possessed an ability to see deep into people and understand them. Modesty met Newton Scamander during his travels in New York, at which time she was between the age of eight and twelve.”

Ron Perlman plays a character named Gnarlack–sounds wizard worldly.

Samantha Morton as “Mary Lou” is the leader of the “Second Salemers.” EW described her character as, “The narrow-minded leader of the fanatical Second Salemers, a group looking to expose and destroy wizards and witches.”

Ezra Miller plays Credence, or as EW revealed, “Perhaps the cast’s most mysterious character. He’s Mary Lou’s troubled adopted son.” One can make a lot of speculations about what that means…

Let’s take a look at Graves, “a powerful auror and the right-hand man of the American wizarding world’s president,” whom we now know as President Seraphina. We saw, in the first trailer, Katherine Waterston’s Tina Goldstein approach, nervously and somberly, the MACUSA leader and a congress of people to make a case for Newt. This serious looking President is probably not a friend of our Newt; he is stirring up a lot of trouble in an already dangerous and tumultuous society with No-Maj relations. Graves, by default is probably not a friend of Newt’s either.

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Similar to the trio in Harry Potter, we know that there are four main characters. We’ve known this since the EW report last year, but they stressed this in the second clip. Pottermore highlighted this with a quote from David Heyman, saying, “This isn’t just Newt’s story; Jacob, Tina and Queenie are all at the centre of it. ‘All four central characters are outsiders. Part of the journey of this, for each of them, is coming into themselves,’ says David Heyman.” With the EW report last year and this clip, we actually know quite a bit more about this quartet.

Jacob Kowalski (played by Dan Fogler) is just a little blue collar No-Maj, returning home from war and wanting to start a bakery….and accidentally finds himself on a magical adventure.

EW had described him as: “An optimistic No-Maj (aka Muggle) factory worker/aspiring baker who gets introduced to the wizarding world when he meets Newt. Fun fact: He’s the Harry Potter franchise’s first Muggle main character.”

In the new clip, Dan opened up about his character Jacob, saying: ‘Jacob is back from the war and now he’s trying to get his life together and open up a bakery. He just happens into this very magical situation,’ he says. Dan also believes that Potter fans will ‘feel the nostalgia and the love they have for the movies in a whole new light.’

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We assume that the simple bedroom that we see Eddie sitting in is Jacob’s, some how the two are very good friends. Or at least Jacob is holding Eddie’s case a lot…

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Actually, Newt hardly ever seems to have a hand on his case. No wonder some of the beasties get out!

 

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Newt needs to be more responsible with that case. He looses it a lot. He looses the contents of it…it’s a good thing he’s a Hufflepuff, and must be well adept at finding things.

Half of the new quartet is made up of Tina and Queenie Goldstein. Tina will eventually become Newt’s wife, but until then this is what we know.

EW: Queenie is “Tina’s younger sister and roommate, a big-hearted free-spirit “legilimens” who can read minds.” Porpentina, or Tina, is described, “an ambitious worker at the Magical Congress of the United States of America (aka MACUSA, the U.S. version of the Ministry of Magic) who meets Newt. Tina is relegated to an office well below her abilities after she stood up for the wrong person. She longs to fight for what’s right.”

Pottermore wrote:

Alison [Queenie] also has some interesting comments about the relationship between the Goldstein sisters: ‘You have two sisters, who have raised each other and have a very deep bond.’ We can’t be sure but this shot makes it look like Alison knows what Katherine is thinking. Which is entirely possible –  after all, she’s playing a Legilimens.

Katherine says her character Tina is ‘very soulful; she has a lot of heart and strengths and courage.’

Tina’s career at MACUSA has stalled but she’s certainly at the heart of this story. We saw some very intense moments with Tina, wand in hand and looking very serious indeed. ‘The job we have to do is to make it seem natural and you kind of have to ignore your own sense of wonder watching it,’ says Waterston.

 

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Awe how sweet…now what about Tina’s future trouble maker husband, Newt Scamander? The two have a couple of wonderful moments together it seems, though with the trouble Newt causes, I doubt it was love at first sight.

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Newt is the leading man, and EW described him as, “An eccentric globe-hopping English “magizoologist” wizard who’s far more comfortable around beasts and creatures than he is around other people. Comes to New York on a quest with his case full of magical habitats containing rare and endangered species.”

We already know Newt doesn’t keep a good eye on that magical case of his, and little beasties escape and reek havoc. As Eddie says in the new feature, “‘And this one catalyst sets in motion this sort of insane amount of events that just cause chaos. And at the core of it, is this quartet.’”

Let’s Talk Set

1926 New York, MACUSA…we’ve actually seen quite a lot of it! From the photos EW first revealed on set of Fantastic Beasts, to the behind the scenes snippet that just came out, we see lots of the streets of New York.

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Looks like they wander into a barn at one point…perhaps to capture a beast? And then goof around and pretend to be beasts…

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But what about MACUSA? We got our first description of MACUSA from EW upon the release of the official Fantastic Beasts movie poster:

“1. ARCHITECTURAL WIZARDRY: The Magical Congress of the United States of America is hidden from Muggle view inside the very real Woolworth Building (New York’s tallest structure in 1926). Wizards enter through an ultra-fast-spinning revolving door into a grand lobby. While this Fantastic Beasts stage is a rather massive 250 feet long and 50 feet high, the ceiling will be extended with special effects to reach nearly 700 feet to represent “an empty cathedral of light, a hugely impressive, brilliantly lit space,” says production designer Stuart Craig.”

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“2. THE PHOENIXES OF THE ORDER: J.K. Rowling’s screenplay included these four golden phoenix statues (two unseen) that bracket the MACUSA entrance, paying homage to those who died during the Salem witch trials – a major traumatic event in the history of American wizard and No-Maj (a.k.a. Muggle) relations. Notes Craig: “Throughout, the magical world is grounded in the context of the Muggle world, born out of things familiar and real.”

“3. GOLD, NOT JUST FOR SNITCHES ANY LONGER: Loosely based on the interior of the Gothic art-deco American Radiator Building in midtown Manhattan, the MACUSA design includes a heavy use of gold to “bring a richness to the decoration. Given that this is the seat of power of the government in the magic world, it’s appropriate that it is gilded.”

“4. MAGICAL HERALDRY: The official MACUSA emblem, based on the U.S. presidential seal, includes the etching of an American flag combined with an abstract phoenix

 

The behind the scenes trailer gave us a clearer picture of MACUSA and its phoenixes, and weird Puritan statues in the middle:

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We also get a first (fuzzy) glimpse at the MACUSA seal:

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During the Harry Potter Celebration, Pottermore and J.K. Rowling released a lot of information about wizarding schools around the world. We know from previous J.K. Rowling tweets that the North American (USA?) Wizarding school, Ilvermorny, will be featured in the first Fantastic Beasts films. The description and detail of the other schools–Castelobruxo (Brazil),  Mahoutokoro (Japan),  Uagadou (Africa)–is amazing. One can only hope that future Fantastic Beasts films will travel around the world to these schools too. J.K. Rowling says to keep watching Pottermore for more details….

 

Let’s Talk Wands…

Newt’s wand was originally thought to be “vegan.” It was “simply wood,” according to EW. Why vegan? Because Newt was a zoologist who cares lot about animals, loves them and connects with them more than people, so his wand would be “vegan.” However, the recent reveal that Newt’s wand was made from lime wood, shell, and bone, seems to contradict that original theory. Bone definitely doesn’t make it vegan.

What wands are made of is important. But wands look like is even more appealing to fans (because, of course, by this time next year we will be buying replicas of them). In the new video, we actually see many of the characters’ wands up close.

Newt shows off his quite a lot throughout the two small videos we have.

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Tina becomes more brave about using her wand, and even does magic in front of a No-Maj! Don’t worry, it’s just Jacob…a wounded Jacob.

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Queenie’s and Graves’ wands have a little flare to them. They each have shiny handles, though we are sure specifics about those will come later:

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Let’s Talk Beasts…

The troublemakers. We actually haven’t seen any of the “fantastic” beasts yet. There have been a couple beast castings (see above) and EW did release a small list of beasts we can expect to see. Those beasts include a Niffler, Ashwinder, Lethifold, Augurey, Bowtruckle, Crup and Merepeople. Descriptions of all of these creatures can be found in book, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It would be really bad if an Ashwinder got into that barn the quartet is in…Other than that, we have a beastie Fantastic Beasts logo, and that is about it.

I think that pretty much sums up all that we are allowed to know of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them so far. The two videos we have so far can be seen below. Enjoy! We will update you with more news when we can!

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