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1. Warwick Davis’ ‘Star Wars’ Career Continues

Throughout the years, Warwick Davis has appeared in three different Star Wars installments as five different characters. He has become a familiar face to those who follow the movies and is due to return this December in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as a new character, rumored to be called Bistan.

The actor appeared as different characters in 'Return of the Jedi,' 'The Phantom Menace' and 'The Force Awakens.'

The news of Warwick’s addition to the Rogue One lineup comes just weeks after it was confirmed that Darth Vader himself would be making an appearance in the film, which is set immediately prior to the events in the franchise’s first outing, A New Hope.

With his first Star Wars appearance as Wicket the Ewok in 1983’s Return of the Jedi, and his latest appearance as Wollivan in last year’s The Force Awakens, fans are excited to see what he will bring to the screen this time around. See more about his new role here.

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2. Harry Potter Adult Cast Acting Round Up #2

All of the Harry Potter actors, or alums, have been keeping busy doing what they do best–acting! In a series of “round ups” we will be doing our best to summarize the acting projects of all the Harry Potter star alums, many movies, plays and other projects–many of which sound amazing and may peak different Harry Potter fans’ interests.

Fiona Shaw (Aunt Petunia Dursley) joined the cast of the SyFy channel’s upcoming horror series Channel Zero: Candle Cove. The mini-series, set to premiere this fall, is based off Kris Straub’s online short story of the same title. Channel Zero: Candle Cove will be a mini-series made up of two 6-episode seasons. Season two is scheduled to be released in 2017. Variety Media describes the story, saying:

“[Channel Zero: Candle Cove] centers on [protagonist Mike Painter’s] obsessive recollection of a mysterious children’s television program from the 1980s – and his ever-growing suspicions about the role it might have played in a series of nightmarish and deadly events from his childhood…Mike Painter, a child psychologist who was a child himself when he witnessed the mysterious disappearance of his twin brother, Eddie, and four other children from their small town, Iron Hill, in 1988. Decades later, he is compelled to return to his hometown to investigate what really happened all those years ago, only to find that it – whatever it was – may be happening all over again. 


“Shaw also stars as Marla Painter, Mike’s mother and a widow. Marla is shocked when Mike returns home and is reluctant to relive the events of the long-ago disappearance of her son and the other children of Iron Hill.”


Bill Nighy (Minister of Magic Rufus Scrimgeour) will be gracing the stage of London’s National Theatre as he joins the production of “Stuff Happens.” The production will be a rehearsed reading, with Bill Nighy set to play the Narrator. The production will only take place for one night, July 6, on the publication day of the Chilcot Inquiry report. The play’s author, David Hare describes the play (which was first performed in 2004):

“In 2004 Nicholas Hytner said the National Theatre could not call itself by that name if it did not have a play about the invasion of Iraq in that calendar year. He was right. And now, 12 years later, when the inquiry into those events is to be published, it seems appropriate to mark the event by presenting the play which first laid out the diplomatic process leading to the most controversial foreign policy decision of my life time.”


Julie Walters (who played the beloved Molly Weasley in the Harry Potter films) has joined the cast of a film adaption of Peter Turner’s memoir Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool. The Hollywood Reporter describes the film, saying:

“The story follows the playful but passionate relationship between Turner (Bell) and the eccentric Oscar-winning actress Gloria Grahame (Bening). What starts as a vibrant affair between a legendary femme fatale and her young lover quickly grows into a deeper relationship, with Turner being the one person she allows herself to turn to for comfort and strength. When Grahame — known for roles in films like The Big Heat, Oklahoma and The Bad and the Beautiful — collapses and refuses medical attention, Turner is forced to take her into his chaotic and often eccentric family home in Liverpool.”

Julie Walters will play the role of Peter’s mother. Production on the film began today.

9781509818211Film Stars Don-t Die in Liverpool


Next on the list, Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy) has joined the cast of the up coming film, The Death of Stalin. It is currently unknown what role Jason Isaacs will play within the film, which is based off of a graphic novel of the same title. Variety reported:

“‘The Death of Stalin’ has everything: comedy, tragedy, truth, lies, life, death, bravery and cowardice. All under the shadow of Stalin’s Terror. So I’m really pleased we have an amazingly multifaceted cast who can give us all these things and more. It’s an unbelievable ensemble — great actors, brilliant comedians, fantastic personalities — and together they give us all the horrific drama and base absurdity of the crazy last days of Stalin and the power struggle to succeed him.”

“’The Death of Stalin’ is based on true events and set in the days following Stalin’s collapse as his core team of ministers tussle for control; some want positive change in the Soviet Union, others have more sinister motives. Their one common trait? They’re all just desperately trying to remain alive,” according to the press statement.”


Along the lines of the comedic, Emma Thompson will making an appearance as an OBGYN in the Bridget Jones’s Diary sequel, Bridget Jones’s Baby. It is absolutely hilarious. Her character was debuted on the newest trailer for the film, which was just recently released. It can be seen below! The synopsis of the film states:

“After breaking up with Mark Darcy (Firth), Bridget Jones’s (Zellweger) “happily ever after” hasn’t quite gone according to plan.  Fortysomething and single again, she decides to focus on her job as top news producer and surround herself with old friends and new.  For once, Bridget has everything completely under control.  What could possibly go wrong?

Then her love life takes a turn and Bridget meets a dashing American named Jack (Dempsey), the suitor who is everything Mr. Darcy is not.  In an unlikely twist she finds herself pregnant, but with one hitch…she can only be fifty percent sure of the identity of her baby’s father.”

Bridget Jones’ Baby hits theaters September 16.

Unfortunately, after facing healthy complications and taking the advice to lay off working, Harry Potter’s John Hurt (Mr. Ollivander) announced he had to withdraw from his involvement in the newest production of The Entertainer. Mr. Hurt said in his statement:

“I have recently been in hospital with an intestinal complaint and although I am much improved and on the road to a full recovery, my doctors have advised that it is too soon for me to undertake a lengthy and arduous stage role.

“It is therefore with great sadness and disappointment that I must withdraw from The Entertainer.”

The play is a Kenneth Branagh (Gilderoy Lockhart) production. The Telegraph reports:

It is not yet clear who will replace Hurt in the role, though an announcement is expected soon.

Previews of the play, in which Kenneth Branagh plays Archie Rice, begin at London’s Garrick Theatre on August 20. This is the last play of Branagh’s year-long residency at the theatre.

This was to be the first time Hurt had appeared on the London stage in 10 years. In February, he described himself as “proud and privileged” to be involved in the project.

“I am thrilled to be invited to play Billy Rice in this production of what I believe to be one of the great plays of the 20th century,” he said.

The Entertainer will play at the Garrick Theatre from August 20 until November 12.


Helena Bonham Carter sat down for an interview with Market Wired. She discussed loving to dress up in crazy costumes for characters that were vastly different from her–acting as an escape from herself. Helena talked of experimenting with her wardrobe and keeping parts of her past characters’ costumes. Market Wired reported:

“I want to dress up. I don’t want to look like me. I want to feel I have escaped me. Like this one (Alice Through the Looking Glass) is easier to watch because I really don’t look like me. I wish I had special effects in every movie,” the Brit says.

“Oh yes, it’s completely therapeutics,” she says. “I am not naturally very angry. But is quite tiring to be continuously angry, so it took a lot of sugar and caffeine. It’s amazing that you don’t have to pay for the therapy, but you get paid.”

“In daily life, you can use them as costumes, I think. They are a bit magical, and they can have the ability to transform you. Not necessarily just totally from the outside, but it can solicit something else from the inside.”

Bonham-Carter, who has played in over six of her ex-husband´s movies, says she has kept some of the costumes that she wore over the years.

“I should have kept more, because sometimes you do get attached. But you know what I tend to keep?” she laughs. “My character’s underwear. So I have the bloomers and the camisoles. You want to keep something, but it has more to do with letting go of the character.”

More of the interview can be read here and seen below!

Last but certainly not least, Warwick Davis (Griphook, Flitwick) will be a guest on a panel at a Star Wars Celebration Europe in London! The Celebration with take place next week, July 15-17. To learn more about scheduling, visit Collider.

Many thanks to our friends at MuggleNet for the heads up!


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3. Tom Felton and Warwick Davis on Theme Parks, ‘Fantastic Beasts’ and ‘Cursed Child’

Adding to the torrent of great interviews from the grand opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Hollywood this week, SnitchSeeker have posted interviews with Tom Felton and Warwick Davis,  on which attraction they think should be added to the park.

Tom Felton stayed loyal to his character, saying he’d love to see Malfoy Manor, and even said he’d agree if he was asked to be involved in the process of making it!:

I would like to see Malfoy Manor – obviously a bit biased there. I think it would maybe make a good ghost house or some sort of like spook train or whatever. There’s enough dark sides of that house to scare any child, I think. Yeah, there’s more look forward to. Something tells me this isn’t the end of it.”

On Fantastic Beasts, Tom Felton was confident that the newest venture in the cinematic Wizarding World will live up to Potter fans’ standards:
SnitchSeeker: What are your thoughts about the Fantastic Beasts series? What are you hoping to see, as a fan, as part of the series?
 No expectations. I haven’t thought about it. I know it’s the dream team. You’ve got Heyman, Yates and Rowling back together, so they can’t really do much wrong, I don’t think. I have every faith in their ability to convert Jo’s work to the best of their abilities. I just think it’s exciting that she’s keeping the flame going, in a different sense. She’s creating more content.

SnitchSeeker: What would be your advice to that cast, just coming into this fan base, for Eddie Redmayne and everybody else?
 I don’t think they need to take advice from us. We don’t share any similarities, really. At 9 and 10 years old, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. They know exactly what they’re getting themselves into. And Eddie’s an Oscar-winning actor. The last thing he needs is advice from me.

Tom also spoke about his career choices, and projects he’s currently involved in:

SnitchSeeker: What do you have coming up, project-wise?
 Something released? A few things this year. There’s an animation film called, Sheep & Wolves, there’s a British spy film called, Stratton and a film that I just did with Troian Bellisario, an American drama called, Feed. I have no idea when any of these films will be out, but I know they will be at some point. This year’s going to be mostly commercial.

SnitchSeeker: You pick so many different projects. How do you choose them? What motivates you?
 Just people. I don’t particularly go for character or story. I mean, it all plays a part, but I’m more interested in working with people that I get on well with. I don’t consider the outcome to be the reward or the result. I just purely base it on my experience, and what comes out of it is really neither here nor there to me. If the Harry Potter films were a complete failure, I still would have loved them as much as I did. So yeah, just enjoying the experience.

Watch SnitchSeeker’s video of the interview below, and read the full interview here.

Warwick Davis also told us what he’d add – he takes a dark route, similar to Tom – it’d definitely be interesting to see some sort of haunted mansion-esque ride with the darker places in the Wizarding World featuring somehow!:

SnitchSeeker: If you had a voice in how to expand the Wizarding World here or in Orlando or even Japan, what would you like to see come to life?
 I would like to see Azkaban. I’m intrigued about what goes on in Azkaban. We hear about it but we never really get a chance to see in Azkaban. So I think that’d be interesting.

SnitchSeeker: How would you envision it?
 A dark experience, wouldn’t it be? It’d be spooky, kind of like a Haunted Mansion-type thing that they have at Disneyworld. You go through and it’s one of those exploratory rides that takes you through. Lots of shocks and stuff, and really into special effects.

Speaking on Fantastic Beasts and Cursed Child (which Warwick admitted he’d love to have a part in),  Davis seems just as excited as Tom, with all the trust in Jo Rowling and Jack Thorne to give us amazing stories, and links this to the abilities of the theme park to add to the Potter stories in ways we’d never imagined:

SnitchSeeker: So Fantastic Beasts and Cursed Child, it’s basically a new chapter in the entire Wizarding World. What are your thoughts on it – starting with Fantastic Beasts?
 Fantastic Beasts will, I believe, give us another glimpse into the Wizarding World J.K. Rowling’s imagined. That’s quite exciting, isn’t it? It’ll be a slightly different perspective of that world. I’m looking forward to seeing the movie.

SnitchSeeker: Have you poked J.K. Rowling to get her rolling there? Because we know there are goblins in Fantastic Beasts?
 You don’t know who to drop hints to, these days. I used to do that with Star Wars. That was my old trick. If there’s a character, I would hope that they would ask me to do something. As I said, I’m just excited that they’re actually going to make some more stuff that gives us another look into that world. 

As do things here in the Wizarding World. Forbidden Journey is a chance to experience further adventures – something you don’t see in the movies. So all of this stuff expands on it. The play in London will also do a little bit more of that, as well. It’ll be a slightly different glimpse into the world.

SnitchSeeker: So what advice would you give to the actors in Fantastic Beasts, as somebody whose been surrounded by millions of fans over the years? They’re about to hit that, as well.
 They’re certainly going to find it an interesting experience. And one I should imagine they’re preparing themselves for because, obviously, when we made the first Harry Potter film we knew the books were really successful, there were two books out at that point. 

We never had a concept of how successful the movie was going to be. And then the fact that we were going to go and make eight in total. So at this point I imagine they actually have some idea like, “Yeah, this could be pretty huge, this.” But, you never can tell, but they’re always going to be known for being cast members in Fantastic Beasts. That’s what’s going to happen.

In terms of projects he’s working on, Warwick is very secretive – SnitchSeeker try to get us some hints, but to no avail, unfortunately! We look forward to the eventual revealing of his role in films to come:

SnitchSeeker: So what’s coming up for you, project-wise?
 I’m in loads of stuff at the minute. Much of it I can’t talk about, which is a shame, but rules of secrecy exist quite prominently in the film industry now. There’s lots of exciting things, but stuff I can’t talk about. Sorry.

SnitchSeeker: Possibly back in Star Wars?
 Again, I couldn’t talk about it.

Again, see SnitchSeeker’s interview with Warwick below, and read the full interview with him here.

Catch more with Tom, Warwick and other Potter actors from the event here and here!


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4. Evanna Lynch on Zombies, Warwick Davis on ‘Cursed Child’ and More From The Wizarding World in Hollywood!

The red carpet event celebrating yesterday’s grand opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Hollywood took place on the 5th April.  Leaky fans were on the ground covering the event, which you can read about here, but of course there are more interviews with the Potter cast than we can count!

Here are some of the best below:

Entertainment Weekly sought after the actor’s questions for J.K. Rowling since the series finished filming.

James and Oliver Phelps wanted to know what happened to George after Fred’s death:

OLIVER: I think with George, it would probably be what does he do with the company. Like, does he expand it? Or does he just keep it as homage to his brother? Or does he go, we’re going to open it up elsewhere?

JAMES: Did he franchise it?

Oliver Phelps came up with a great theory regarding Fred’s ultimate fate, which he told Seventeen:

“I think he’d dive into the family business even more and try to make it even better in Fred’s memory, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Fred was a ghost in the shop.”

Tom Felton told Entertainment Weekly that he missed Draco, and had endless compliments for J.K. Rowling regarding the character:

There’s a beautiful understanding between him and I, I think. I miss him. I miss him a lot. But Jo has such a wonderful way of making these characters so rich and full anyway. I suppose all the things that I don’t know are assumed. But I also know that Jo is an endless wealth of knowledge so if I ever have anything that was puzzling me, I know she’d be more than happy for me to ask her. You’ve got me picking my brains now. I’ll have to message her tomorrow.”

Evanna Lynch obviously had the most questions about Luna – being a huge fan of the books, she wanted to know more about Luna’s family:

I think the big blank is her mom. I’ve always wondered what she’s like. We’ve just been told her name is Pandora and that she died doing an experiment, and I just wonder, I really am curious what was her relationship with Luna? Because obviously she’s so close to her dad, and I find that there’s always one parent that you have more in common with or that you confide in more, and I wonder … was that her mom? Or just what kind of person she was.”

Make sure you catch the full article from Entertainment Weekly here.

You can also read a hilarious exclusive interview with Tom Felton playing ‘Marry, Snog, Stupefy’ with Bustle here, and a snippet from the interview below:

“When given three names of Harry Potter characters, Felton must choose which he’d most like to marry, snog (kiss), and stupefy, which, according to Harry Potter wiki, to stupefy someone means to “render a victim unconscious and/or halt moving objects.” So basically, it’s a less morbid version of the “kill” option most muggles are accustom to.

But before I can give him three options, Felton declares: “I’d snog Bellatrix.” …. I remind him of the rules — I give you the three options, Tom — and we begin.”

MSN also spoke to Evanna Lynch, about the roles she is currently looking for, which appear to steer away from ‘darker’ roles in shows such as The Walking Dead:

“I really just want to do characters a I really love,” Lynch told AAP on the red carpet at the grand opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in California.

“There are other scripts that come along and I see them but I don’t really have the passion unless I connect with the character.

“I am sick of zombie movies, all these things about undead people. I want things that make the world lighter rather than scarier.

“Everyone says it’s so good but I hate zombies and that kind of violence.”

She also commented on J.K. Rowling’s constant development of the wizarding world – which we know she is excited about and understandably wanting to be involved in! Evanna spoke about what she’d like to see from any sequels involving Luna:

“She (Rowling) has created another world and made it so rich and varied and interesting and I feel like it will never end,” Lynch said.

“I’d love if she did a sequel, I would love to know more about Luna and I feel like there is a lot more to explore.

“I would love a wildlife show with Luna and a documentary series.”

Read the MSN interview in full here.

She revealed her thoughts on whether she thought the pairing of Neville and Luna should have gone any further to Movie Pilot:

“Definitely not. I think he’s very much a homebody, a stay-at-home dad. And Luna wants to go out and explore the world and different creatures, and I think she wants to have several different relationships and not be committed forever. Neville would want a good sturdy wife who cooks, and that’s not her.”

Evanna also gave Extra a VIP tour along with James and Oliver Phelps, which you can view below:

Warwick Davis also attended the event, and spoke to Hollywood Life about the how he’d feel about appearing in Cursed Child. Of course, he’d be more than thrilled:

“To be back in something that has been created by J.K. Rowling and something that goes on to have a life beyond that is exceptional and it would be lovely to do that!”

“I love performing, I am an actor. This is what I love doing So however I manage that and have that manifest itself is a great pleasure!”

He also revealed his aspirations for TV:

“It would be to have a chat show, I mean that is my last bucket list to take on”

“I have done everything else in my career that I have wanted to take on and what I want to do but the chat show still remains elusively something that I would still love to do and a thing that I think I could do very well!”

Read the full interview at Hollywood Life here.

SnitchSeeker also caught up with James and Oliver Phelps to ask them about the theme parks, and about the newest ventures into the wizarding world (Fantastic Beasts and Cursed Child). They posted a video of the interview (below), and you can catch their transcript here.

Make sure you catch our full coverage of the event at this link!

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5. Leaky at the Red Carpet Premiere of the Wizarding World in Hollywood

Tuesday night, Harry Potter stars, Hollywood stars, the esteemed John Williams and many CEOs gathered to celebrate the red carpet premiere of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Hollywood. The new Harry Potter theme park opens today, April 7.

Leaky had two very willing Leaky and Harry Potter fans, Christina and Jeasica, were on the ground for Leaky, covering the event as our volunteer freelance reporters! Christina and Jeasica were on the red carpet, asking our favorite Harry Potter stars, and several others, questions.

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Many stars were in attendance for the event, and answered a few questions on the red carpet. As the press release stated, those guests included:

John Williams conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick), Tom Felton(Draco Malfoy), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), and James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley), Stuart Craig (Production Designer, Harry Potter films and “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter”), along with Hollywood celebrities, including Chris Hardwick (comedian/host, “Talking Dead”), Vanessa Hudgens (“Grease Live”), Sarah Hyland (“Modern Family”), Mindy Kaling (“The Mindy Project”), Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight), Alanna Masterson (“The Walking Dead”), Ed O’Neill (“Modern Family”), Thandie Newton (Crash), Greg Nicotero (Executive Producer, “The Walking Dead”), and Billy Bob Thornton, among others.

Also attending are Larry Kurzweil, President, Universal Studios Hollywood; Tom Williams, Chairman & CEO, Universal Parks & Resorts; Mark Woodbury, President, Universal Creative; Ron Meyer, Vice Chairman, NBCUniversal; Kevin Tsujihara, Chairman & CEO, Warner Bros. Entertainment and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti.

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Film director and producer Stephan Spielberg, who had an interest in adapting the Harry Potter books to film in the early stages of developing movie rights, was also in attendance. Spielberg was not chosen to direct or adapt the first Harry Potter film, as Jo and Warner Bros. felt Chris Columbus was a better fit. Mr. Spielberg was accompanied by Larry Kurzweil, Tom Williams, Mark Woodbury, and Kevin Tsujihara on the red carpet:

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Jeasica and Christina conducted brief interviews with the stars. The video clips of this can be seen below.

The first is with Warwick Davis, talking about his favorite part of the Wizarding World theme parks. We were excited to watching John Williams conduct the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra too!


The red carpet questioning was followed by a beautiful ceremony. The presidents and CEOs of Universal and Warner Bros, and the Mayor of Las Angeles gave speeches about the theme park and the magic it will bring to the Hollywood area. John Williams and the Harry Potter stars were introduced.

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Leaky’s Jeasica and Christina had great seats to watch the introduction ceremony, and captured these clips of the speeches.

Tom Felton, Evanna Lynch, and Warwick Davis entered stage the same way all other guests and speakers entered. The Phelps twins–in proper Fred and George style–rolled in, driving the Weasley car:

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The ceremony included a performance by the Hogwarts frog choir, and concluded with a magnificent light show on the castle that featured all four Hogwarts Houses, and was accompanied by John Williams conducting the L.A. Philharmonic!

One of the ever-mysterious Pottermore correspondents was at the event, reporting on the Harry Potter site’s behalf. They too, talked to stars and captured beautiful photos of the event.


Pottermore talked with Billy Bob Thornton on his visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. He was there with his daughter, who is a big fan of the series. Pottermore reports:

‘She’s really into it,’ Thornton admitted. ‘Half the stuff she talks about, I don’t know what it means. She and her best friend have secrets they won’t tell us about. I think they take something out of Harry Potter and they invent their own worlds.’

With a string of iconic roles under his belt, does Mr Thornton think he would make a good wizard?

‘Well, I’ve been called a wizard, and a few other things, so who knows? I’ve cast a spell or two in my time.’



Pottermore talked to other stars about who they thought were Hollywood wizards, saying:

‘Blake Lively,’ affirmed Jaime Camil, of Jane the Virgin fame. ‘I saw her Instagram today and she said she was up to no good.’

Comedian Chris Hardwick has clearly thought about this question before.

‘[George] Clooney is definitely a wizard.’ He announced. ‘It’s the smoky eyes. Clooney is definitely a guy that was, like, President of the Hogwarts school newspaper. President of everything.’


Pottermore also caught up with the Harry Potter cast, and talked to them about the nostalgia of visiting the Harry Potter theme parks. Pottermore reported:


‘You just feel immersed in it,’ James admitted. ‘You forget you’re not at Leavesden Studios filming. You still feel – I don’t mean to be cheesy – but the magical thrill of it.’ In full Fred and George style, James and Oliver even turned up to the bash in the iconic, blue Ford Anglia.

While Warwick Davies waxed lyrical about how much he loved the Butterbeer, Evanna Lynch, who is famously a huge fan of the books, was simply soaking in as much atmosphere as possible.

‘When I see new things in the park, I get excited and I feel spoiled that I get to go wherever I want,’ she enthused. ‘I love coming back here every time.’

‘It’s a bit like walking through your old school’, [Tom Felton] told us. Felton promised to return often, and recalled that, last week, he had wandered around for about an hour without anyone noticing. 

‘Hogwarts as a whole is a wonder to be around, so the fact that we have it a few meters behind us all is special.’

‘It’s my childhood,’ the actor added.


To read the entire Pottermore account of the night, and see the beautiful photos they uploaded, read the original article here.

You may view the entire ceremony here:

Wednesday, the the Harry Potter stars gathered for a media panel and one-on-one interviews, and the park opened to the general public (and press) in the very early hours of this morning.

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Evanna Lynch told Leaky’s Christina, coming off the Ride of the Hippogriff, that she enjoys the out door rollercoaster. We do too, Evanna, we do too!

James and Oliver Phelps answered questions for Harry Potter’s official Facebook page. This video can be seen below:

#JamesPhelps and #OliverPhelps are live at #WizardingWorldHollywood in Universal Studios Hollywood! #24Live

Posted by Harry Potter on Wednesday, April 6, 2016


Warwick Davis and Evanna Lynch were next in the Facebook hot seat. They too answered fans’ questions, and this video can be seen below:

Warwick Davis and Evanna Lynch are live at #WizardingWorldHollywood Universal Studios Hollywood! #24Live

Posted by Harry Potter on Wednesday, April 6, 2016

More photos of the night–the gorgeously lit Hogsmeade grounds and Hogwarts castle–may be seen below.

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About our volunteer freelance writers:

Christina is 33, and a single mother of two, who lives in  Apple Valley. When she is not being an epic Harry Potter fan, and attending events for Leaky, she is a mechanic on the tatical vehicles for the Marine Corps civilian side. She described her experience in the new Harry Potter theme park, saying:

You are a muggle who has imagined a wondrous place filled with magic and mystery. You are a muggle who wanted to befriend a wizard, dragon, or maybe a hippogriff. Wait no longer Muggle, for I have seen that magical place that you have been waiting for. That place has finally come to Universal Studios Hollywood as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park.

As you follow the footsteps of Professor Albus Percival Wolfric Brian Dumbledore, you enter into a familiar, magical far away land. You will forget you’re from the old muggle world and immerse yourself into a world that has not been seen by the Muggle kind. A world that as you might considered to be unreal. It is quite the opposite here at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter—the theme parks make the imagined real.

Jeasica said “It was such an amazing experience thank you so much for the opportunity. Both the frozen butter beer and regular were fantastic! The food tasted just as it smelled AMAZING!!! The rides were just as expected fun and made you feel like you were flying with the characters.”

Some footage of this morning’s general opening can be seen below. Fans dressed up as their favorite characters–including wearing Luna’s Gryffindor Lion hat.The press joined the crowds at 5:30 this morning, before the sun rose:

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Fox News reporters were also dressed up in their house robes, interviewing fans.

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6. Red Carpet Event: Wizarding World Hollywood

Tonight, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal’s Hollywood theme park is hosting their Red Carpet Premiere. Universal Studios has a live update available on their Twitter. The event has a live feed streaming through YouTube, which can be viewed below.

Leaky is proud to have two of our fans at the event, Christina and Jeasica,  volunteering as free lance writers for us. The press call is at 4:30 pm PT, so we will be hearing more soon.

According to the Wizarding World Press Release, the following people will be in attendance at the red carpet event:


Legendary Oscar, Emmy, Golden Globe, BAFTA and Grammy award-winning composer John Williams conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra; Harry Potter film talent, including Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick), Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood) and James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley), Stuart Craig (Production Designer, Harry Potter films and “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter”), along with Hollywood celebrities, including Chris Hardwick (comedian/host, “Talking Dead”), Vanessa Hudgens (“Grease Live”), Sarah Hyland (“Modern Family”), Mindy Kaling (“The Mindy Project”), Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight), Alanna Masterson (“The Walking Dead”), Ed O’Neill (“Modern Family”), Thandie Newton (Crash), Greg Nicotero (Executive Producer, “The Walking Dead”), and Billy Bob Thornton, among others.

Also attending are Larry Kurzweil, President, Universal Studios Hollywood; Tom Williams, Chairman & CEO, Universal Parks & Resorts; Mark Woodbury, President, Universal Creative; Ron Meyer, Vice Chairman, NBCUniversal; Kevin Tsujihara, Chairman & CEO, Warner Bros. Entertainment and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti.


Please stay tuned to Leaky for more!

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7. Hunting the Neutrino

By Frank Close

Ray Davis was the first person to look into the heart of a star. He did so by capturing neutrinos, ghostly particles that are produced in the centre of the Sun and stream out across space. As you read this, billions of them are hurtling through your eyeballs at almost the speed of light, unseen.

Neutrinos are as near to nothing as anything we know, and so elusive that they are almost invisible. When Davis began looking for solar neutrinos in 1960, many thought that he was attempting the impossible. It nearly turned out to be: 40 years would pass before he was proved right, leading to his Nobel Prize for physics in 2002, aged 87.

In June 2006, I was invited by The Guardian newspaper to write his obituary. An obituary necessarily focuses on the one person, but the saga of the solar neutrinos touched the lives of several others, scientists who devoted their entire careers chasing the elusive quarry, only to miss out on the Nobel Prize by virtue of irony, chance, or, tragically, by having already died.

Of them all, the most tragic perhaps is the genius Bruno Pontecorvo.

Pontecorvo was a remarkable scientist and a communist, working at Harwell after the war. When his Harwell colleague Klaus Fuchs was exposed as an atom spy in 1950, Pontecorvo immediately fled to the USSR. This single act probably killed his chances of Nobel Prizes.

In the following years, Pontecorvo developed a number of ideas that could have won him one or more Nobels. But his papers were published in Russian, and were unknown in the West until their English translations appeared up to two years later. By this time others in the USA had come up with the same ideas, later winning the Nobel Prize themselves.

Amongst his ideas, one involved an experiment which Soviet facilities could not perform. But most ironic were Pontecorvo’s insights about neutrinos.

Ray Davis had detected solar neutrinos – but not enough of them. For years, many of us involved in this area of research thought Davis’ experiment must have been at fault. But Pontecorvo had another theory which indicated that like chameleons, neutrinos changed their form en route across space from the Sun to Earth. And he was right. It took many years to prove it, but by 2000 the whole saga was completed. Davis duly won his Nobel Prize, but so many years had elapsed that Pontecorvo by then was dead.

So although my piece for The Guardian began as the life story of Ray Davis, Pontecorvo was there behind the scenes to such an extent that it became his story also. It is also the story of John Bahcall, Davis’ lifelong collaborator, who, to the surprise of many, was not included in the Nobel award.

The lives of these three great scientists were testimony to what science is all about: as Edison put it, genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.

A final sobering thought to put our human endeavors in context: those neutrinos that passed through you when you started reading this article are by now well on their way to Mars.

Frank Close OBE is Professor of Physics at Oxford Univeristy and a Fellow of Exeter College.  He is formerly Head of the Theoretical Physics Division at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, and Head of Communications and Public Education at CERN. He has written several books including The Void, Antimatter, 0 Comments on Hunting the Neutrino as of 1/1/1900

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8. advent song doodle

A bunch of different things today! Here's an interview I did for Dan Berry at The Comics Bureau, do go over and have a look! The Comics Bureau have been running a whole host of interviews with people in the comics community, including one with my studio mate Gary Northfield.

Congratulations to Darryl Cunningham for finishing his comic strip about climate change! You may have read his book about mental health issues, Psychiatric Tales; go over to his blog and read his strip. I'm sure, as always, it will garner loads of debate, and Darryl looks very fetching in his red snowsuit.

Here's an extended doodle I did of an advent song I rather like. That is, I love the rousing first two lines of every verse, then after that, I think the tune wanders a bit. Charles Oakley wrote it in 1870, and it's the sort of thing I bet gave Tolkien a buzz. I could have spent days putting together my little island. If I ever go to prison, designing islands and continents is one of the ways I will while away the time.

I finally managed to write and pencil my contribution to the Birdsong/Songbird comics anthology. (Find out about the first edition here.) I thought I wasn't going to have time to do it, but I had a sudden burst of energy late last night and did it all at once, then finished it up in Greenwich Park this morning, using one of the trees as reference. It's about a tree with passive-aggressive issues, and when I showed it to Gary just now, he burst out laughing, then told me I was totally mental.

One of the views I needed for the comic was looking toward the Royal Observatory, but the fog obscured it completely. Lovely morning, though. In places, the fog was so thick, I felt rather excitingly lost.

A bunch of the DFC crew and mates met up on Friday, and I got to see a folder of Rob Davis's work on his graphic novel adapation of Don Quixote. So amazing! Here's some original artwork he brought along. You can find out about his work-in-progress over on the SelfMadeHero website, read an interview with Rob over at The Comics Bureau and his Best of the Year Picks over on the FPI blog.

Keep an eye on the Super Comics Adventure Squad blog to see what the DFC gang get up to!

James Turner, Rob Davis, Gary Northfield

Not just stuff like this.

Faz Choudhury, Rob, Rian Hughes, Viviane Schwarz

Alex Milway, Gary, Rob's friend Geraint

Just a few more foggy pictures from the park.

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9. Rest in peace, Troy Anthony Davis

By Elizabeth Beck Neither Sarah nor I have met Troy Anthony Davis. I first met his family in about 2003, which was about 18 years into his death sentence when Sarah and I were working on In the Shadow of Death: Restorative Justice and Death Row Families. At the time, his sister

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10. E! Online to Live Stream Harry Potter Celebration in Orlando

A red carpet event will be held on Saturday, Nov. 12 for the Blu-ray/DVD release of "Deathly Hallows: Part 2" and E! Online will be live streaming the event beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT.

The event is part of Warner Bros. and Universal Orlando's celebration of the Harry Potter films, which will be taking place next weekend, Nov. 11-13, at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The festivities will mark a decade since the release of the first film and promote the release of the final Harry Potter Blu-ray/DVD, "Deathly Hallows: Part 2."

Guests confirmed to attend the event include actors Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy), James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), Helen McCrory (Narcissa Malfoy), Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick), Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley) and director David Yates.

Leaky will also be on hand to provide full coverage and interviews with the cast and crew, so stay tuned!

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11. Harry Potter Cast to Make Appearance at Harrods on Dec. 1

James and Oliver Phelps (Weasley Twins), Jessie Cave (Lavender Brown) and Warwick Davis (Flitwick/Griphook) will make an appearance at Harrods' Harry Potter shop on December 1st to meet fans and sign copies of "Deathly Hallows: Part 2" on Blu-ray Triple Play.

The event will start from 5:30 p.m., but only 300 wristbands will be handed out beginning at 10 a.m. Below are instructions for fans interested in attending the meet and greet with the cast:

Due to the limited time available, access to the queue will be strictly limited to 300. Wristbands will be issued from 10am at The Harry Potter Shop at Harrods on the day of the event on a first-come, first-served basis with a queue starting at Door 3 of the store.
"Deathly Hallows: Part 2" will be released on Blu-ray/DVD on December 2 in the U.K. It is currently available in stores in the U.S.

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12. nelson exhibition at london's cartoon museum!

You just can't keep Nelson within the pages of a book! Here's the most recent contribution to the collaboration with Blank Slate Books, from my fab studio mate Lauren O'Farrell (aka Deadly Knitshade). The story in the book goes up to 2011, but Lauren's taken it to 2012, when Nel writes a book about her little brother, Sonny. We all got to see her creation for the first time at the Cartoon Museum, at the launch of an exhibition of comic roughs and final artwork from our book. You can see some of our pictures on the wall behind Lauren... exciting!

Look at all the detail Lauren put into this! She was up til 4am the night before, making these tiny polaroid photos of scenes from the book. The exhibition runs until late February, so do pop by for a look! It's just a couple streets away from the front of the British Museum.
Edit: I just found out that you can bid on Nel at the Gosh Comics party on Friday, and the profits will go to Shelter's charity for the homeless! Go look at Lauren's amazing post about her Knitted Nel.

Speech! Speech! Here are our fab editors and fellow creators Woodrow Phoenix and Rob Davis, the original two who mused about the Nelson book idea on Twitter and then took it forward with our whole gang of 54 creators. (My web designer, Dan Fone, took the photo.)

A lot of us listened to the speeches from the first floor:

Here's Woodrow's mum, proudly holding our new book. Mrs Phoenix is more of a legend than all of us put together: she's fostered more than 200 kids, founded loads of programmes in the community, and was the first black woman in Britain to be awarded the MBE, in 1973, which she turned down unless the council would agree to give her a house for her foster children. And they did. (I once rang up Woodrow when we were both working on the DFC and caught him on the way to Buckingham Palace, where he was taking his mum to collect her OBE.)

Here's my fab studio mate Ellen Lindner signing a copy of Nelson. She tackled the 1970 slot in Nel's life, three years ahead of my 1973 story, with former DFC colleague (and contributor to the new weekly Phoenix Comic!) Jamie Smart and our studio mate Gary Northfield taking the years between our comics.

Photo by Dan Fone

We were all very proud to see our artwork hanging on the walls. I was surprised that curator Anita O'Brien decided to use my pencil rough instead of my inked page. But she made good sense when she explained that the pencil had a lot of life and looked very different from the final artwork, so it was m

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13. Cast Sum Up Harry Potter in Two Words, Behind the Scenes Look at Stunts in "Part 2"

Yahoo! Movies asked members of the cast from "Harry Potter" to sum up the series in two words. The answers ranged from "crazy fun" to "bloody brilliant." Find out who said what by watching the video at this link. Cast members who participated included Evanna Lynch, Mark Williams, Jason Isaacs, Warwick Davis, producers David Heyman, David Barron and director David Yates.

MSN UK also released an exclusive behind the scenes clip focusing on the stunt doubles for Daniel Radcliffe and Tom Felton while they shot a scene from the Room of Requirement. Watch it below or over here.

&lt;a href="http://video.uk.msn.com/watch/video/harry-potter-and-the-deathly-hallows-part-2-clip-msn-exclusive/2ts8l8yo?src=v5:embed::" title="Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 clip (MSN Exclusive)" target="_new"&gt;Video: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 clip (MSN Exclusive)&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/object&gt; "Deathly Hallows: Part 2" is now available on Blu-ray and DVD in the U.K. and U.S.&lt;/body&gt;&lt;/html&gt;

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14. Harrods Blu-Ray and DVD Launch Interview: "You'll remember Potter as people's childhood" [Full Transcript]

Yesterday, 1st December, Leaky attended the Blu-ray and DVD release event at Harrods, where 300 fans had their copies of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" signed by Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick and Griphook), James Phelps (Fred Weasley), Oliver Phelps (George Weasley), Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley) and Jessie Cave (Lavendar Brown). Attendees at the launch event received goody bags stuffed with t-shirts, scarves, the film's soundtrack, stickers, keyrings and more! Leaky was given the opportunity to ask the actors questions in a press roundtable shortly before the signing and you can find the full transcript of that interview below, with the audio and photographs from the event to follow later this evening.

Update: Full audio of the interview can be heard right here!

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" is (finally!) out on Blu-Ray and DVD in the UK from today, 2nd December.

Interview with Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick and Griphook), James Phelps (Fred Weasley), Oliver Phelps (George Weasley), Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley) and Jessie Cave (Lavendar Brown) at Harrods, London on the 1st December 2011.

What was the last scene you filmed on the very last film?
Warwick Davis: I think it was something to do with the dwarf and whats-his-face…

WD: Yeah! Don't quote me on whats-his-face! [Sorry Warwick!] That was my last day on what was officially the last day, that was my last day.
Oliver Phelps: Mine was filming with James on the battlement sequence when Fred and George see Voldemort's army coming in. That was all done ad lib and that was quite cool.
James Phelps: Same!
Jessie Cave: Mine was my death scene. Which is quite fitting, really.
Mark Williams: Mine was the Great Hall, the big Great Hall scene, mine was the same day as Alan Rickman's and Thewlis' and a lot of other people, a lot of us wrapped at the same time.

Rosi for Leaky: Because [James and Jessie] had big death scenes, or seen death scenes, do you feel that meant you had more of a final end to your time on the films than maybe other people will have had?
WD: Clever!
MW: See, you don't get away with anything with this lot.
JC: I definitely -- it was really nice kind of ending even though I was--
MW: Nice?!
JC: Not nice! Sort of…
MW: Nice as in precise.
JC: Yes, precise! Precise ending, full stop.
JP: For me it kind of seemed like a normal scene because I didn't do anything but it was the fact that because it was in the great hall--
MW: Did you fall asleep?
JP: I did in rehearsals yeah. Because we've filmed in the great hall for like ten years, we've shot so many things there so it just seemed like another great hall scene to be honest with you, but on reflection I guess it was a fitting end. Luckily it was in the last movie and not the first.
WD: I died and then I was alive again. It's funny because when you do these death things you want to look good and I said to David Yates, I could be death like this [twists self] I gave him a few options, but he went for the most contorted one, you see, which was really uncomfortable and I just lay there for six hours watching Voldemort strut up and down. But it was quite funny because on one occasion they put so much blood everywhere, you can't really see in the film, but there was gallons of this fake blood all round--
MW: --it was really slippery--
WD: and Ralph slipped on it at one p

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15. Pubicity Romp with Katie Davis

Katie Davis

Do you get twitchy at the thought of Twitter? Do mailing lists make you want to write an angry letter to the editor? Do QR codes sound like French to you?

Let Katie Davis sort out all the ins and outs of publicity for you. In her new book, How to Promote Your Children’s Book, Katie covers everything possible in a whirlwind tour of the current landscape of publicity. It’s not an in-depth tutorial, but a rapid fire survey which helps you understand the possibilities of each publicity effort, so that you can prioritize where you want to put your efforts.

Here’s a look at the Table of Contents

  • Plotting Your Strategy
  • Are you Out of Print?
  • Where are You?
  • Join Up!
  • I’m a Twitter Twit!
  • Give More Than You Get
  • Being Selfishly Unselfish
  • Your Website and What’s Wrong With It
  • Working with a Designer
  • The Secret Sauce
  • A Fake Angry Letter about Facebook
  • Ways to Build SEO
  • Mailing Lists
  • Blogging
  • Newsletters
  • Book Festivals
  • School Visits
  • Book Store Appearances
  • Skype Visits
  • Love Your Library
  • Printed Giveaways
  • Book Trailers
  • Shine the Power of YouTube
  • Contests
  • Launch Parties: Real v. Virtual
  • Unexpected Ways to Promote
  • QR Codes and How to Use Them
  • Media
  • Do’s and Don’ts
  • The End. . . of the Book
  • Questions and/or Feedback
  • Resources
  • Independent Book Stores
  • Book Bloggers

What has Katie left out? Nothing!
BTW, the Book Trailer chapter mentions my ebook, The Book Trailer Manual.
So, go and read and prioritize your publicity efforts for your next book!


Here’s the thing. Katie has offered to giveaway a copy of this new resource for publicity. Leave a comment below with the URL of your favorite book trailer. I’ll look them over, pick MY favorite book trailer of what you offer and decide who gets the giveaway. Deadline to post is midnight on Monday, February 20.

Other Stops on the Blog Tour Schedule


Feb 3 – Creative Spaces
  • Feb 6 – DearEditor.c

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  • 16. comics at hay!

    Hurrah! We got comics into this year's Hay Festival! Here are our two fabulous editors (and fellow contributors!) Woodrow Phoenix and Rob Davis, holding a lovely copy of our graphic novel, NELSON.

    If you follow my blog, you will have seen loads about NELSON and our launch events already, but if not, here's a little peek:

    NELSON's a comic book for adults, in which 54 of Britain's top creators each took a day in the year of a woman's life and, basically, we created a person. I got 1973, when Nel was five years old. So Rob Davis had taken 1968, the year Nel (and her brother, Sonny) were born, and made a comic, then Woodrow Phoenix took 1969, my studio mate Ellen Lindner took 1970, Jamie Smart took 1971, and another of my studio mates, Gary Northfield, took 1972. I read all of their comics, then decided what would happen in the next year of Nel's life, and created three pages of comics about her first day at school, in 1973. The book continues like that, with creators each taking a year until 2011, when Rob, who's initial idea it was, brings it back to a close.

    Here we are on Hay's Starlight Stage - me, Woodrow, Rob and Kristyna Baczynski talking with actor and journalist Lisa Dwan.

    There was already lots going on at Hay when we arrived! We met up with Oliver Jeffers in the Green Room, who urged us to come along and paint on his Jumpers wall. We saw MP Tom Watson and got him to come along and paint with us.

    Oliver Jeffers, Lisa Dwan, Woodrow Phoenix, Kristyna Baczynski, Tom Waton, Sarah McIntyre, Rob Davis

    It was funny, because we'd been having a big debate in the van about the way Oliver always puts matchstick legs on his characters, even the big hefty ones, like a bear. Our camp was very divided on whether we liked that schtick or not. Rob didn't know Oliver's work, so when he looked it up his website on his phone, he laughed to see the very first image was Oliver's book, Stuck, which we all decided was the past tense of having stick legs.

    The idea was that everyone would paint a jumper on one of the little bean characters, then sign at the bottom. Here's a Gruffalo jumper by Axel Scheffler, who was just leaving when we arrived. And you can spot a few signatures below, including Ian McEwan and Salman Rushdie.

    Kristyna (whose name I learned is pronounced "kriss-TEN-ah", like the number ten), Lisa and Rob having a go at painting:

    And Oliver drawing up a few new characters for us to paint. I didn't quite hear the directions, that we were only supposed to paint a jumper, so I gave mine a bi

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    17. Warvick Davis to Star in Bhojpuri film

    Warvick Davis (Professor Flitwick) has joined a Bollywood cast for a film called Chingari. The film is to be produced and directed by Shrey Shrivastav, who confirmed that Davis would be playing "a journalist from an international channel, who is doing a documentary on Bihar police", as well as have a cameo in the film. Warvick Davis will be traveling to Mumbai to play his roles. IBNLive reports:

     "He is doing a cameo in the film. He plays a journalist from an international channel, who is doing a documentary on Bihar police. In the film, he is shown to have come down to do some research and we have a couple of interesting comedy sequences with him."

    ... the director says, "I know Warvick through common friends and when we spoke to him, we realised that he was very keen to do a Bollywood film."

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    18. 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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    19. Illustration Friday: Polar

    5 Comments on Illustration Friday: Polar, last added: 5/4/2007
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    20. Quoteskimming

    Another Sunday, another batch of quotes for you. With related open letters, because I felt like mixing it up a bit today.

    First, one about books and readers that caught my eye in this article in today's New York Times*. Usually I like what Mr. Jobs has to say about advances in technology, but this bit in an article about Amazon's wireless reading device, the Kindle got my goat:

    ". . .when Mr. Jobs was asked two weeks ago at the Macworld Expo what he thought of the Kindle, he heaped scorn on the book industry. 'It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is; the fact is that people don’t read anymore,' he said. 'Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year.'

    To Mr. Jobs, this statistic dooms everyone in the book business to inevitable failure."

    Dear Mr. Jobs: Those of us who do read more than one book a year read a lot of books. Last year was a slow year for me owing to all the research I did, and I still read over 100 books. And book readers are still in the majority. Please send my goat back.

    On first drafts
    From an article by Bonita Pate Davis in the November/December 2007 SCBWI Bulletin:

    "First drafts attempt to capture coalescing ideas into a semblance of order. They barely rise one step above the primordial soup. Still, no matter how rough, those first drafts come nearest to capturing the pure essence of ideas and feelings."

    Dear Ms. Davis: I sure hope all the writers I know can find a copy of the Bulletin and read your article on page 16. Your thoughts are cogent, you make wonderful points about first drafts and your use of language is wonderful. Your reference to "The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam" and the Romantic poets just clinched this as a work of genius, in my opinion

    On writing with integrity
    In the same issue of the SCBWI Bulletin, Susan Salzman Raab interviewed last year's Newbery award-winner, Susan Patron. The question was "From your perspective as an author whose book has been challenged and as a former librarian who has defended other people's books, what would you recommend to authors who are afraid that a book they're writing may be controversial?" Here's an excerpt from Patron's answer:

    As writers we choose each word with care so that it conveys our specific meaning, mood, emphasis, style, etc. And we write with respect for the reader's intelligence. We're doomed if we permit the specter of sensors or critics to enter our creative process. We must not let those crows of fear caw into our ears as we write, or we won't hear the genuine inner voice that we need to access in order to write honestly and well.

    Dear Ms. Patron: Thank you. Thank you for your words, which all writers need to hear, and for your integrity, grace and humor. Thanks also for fighting back when the crows of censure/censorship came cawing over the innocent use of a correct anatomical term.

    Next, this quote on poetry from Ted Hughes, which I discovered over at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast the other day:

    Because it is occasionally possible, just for brief moments, to find the words that will unlock the doors of all those many mansions inside the head and express something — perhaps not much, just something — of the crush of information that presses in on us from the way a crow flies over and the way a man walks and the look of a street and from what we did one day a dozen years ago. Words that will express something of the deep complexity that makes us precisely the way we are, from the momentary effect of the barometer to the force that created men distinct from trees. Something of the inaudible music that moves us along in our bodies from moment to moment like water in a river. Something of the spirit of the snowflake in the water of the river. Something of the duplicity and the relativity and the merely fleeting quality of all this. Something of the almighty importance of it and something of the utter meaninglessness. And when words can manage something of this, and manage it in a moment, of time, and in that same moment, make out of it all the vital signature of a human being — not of an atom, or of a geometrical diagram, or of a heap of lenses — but a human being, we call it poetry.

    Dear Jules and Eisha: Thanks for all the excellent posts you guys do, including reminding me about books I should read and books I have read.

    Dear Ted Hughes: From what I understand, you weren't always a nice guy. But I really like what you said here about poetry and language. So thanks.

    On memory, a quote from Jane Austen's Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, the ITV version of which will be appearing at 9 p.m. tonight on most PBS stations.

    Tonight's version features Billie Piper as the "insipid" Fanny Price. Pictured with her from left to right are Joseph Beattie as Henry Crawford, Joseph Morgan as William Price, and Blake Ritson as Edmund Bertram. This movie features excellent performances by Beattie and his screen-sister, Mary Crawford, as played by Hayley Atwell, and by Maggie O'Neill as Mrs. Norris.

    If any one faculty of our nature may be called more wonderful than the rest, I do think it is memory. There seems something more speakingly incomprehensible in the powers, the failures, the inequalities of memory, than in any other of our intelligences. The memory is sometimes so retentive, so serviceable, so obedient; at others, so bewildered and so weak; and at others again, so tyrannic, so beyond control! We are, to be sure, a miracle every way; but our powers of recollecting and of forgetting do seem peculiarly past finding out.

    Dear Jane: Thank you for this book, which I happen to like, even if some members of your family did find Fanny to be a bit of a prig. There are a number of people who lead long-suffering lives, and the thought that all might turn out well for them is encouragin. I also like how the book can be read as allegory, with Fanny in a Job-like position, and various characters representing the 7 deadly sins: Lust (Maria Bertram), Gluttony (Tom Bertram), Greed (Mary Crawford), Sloth (Lady Bertram), Wrath (Sir Thomas Bertram), Envy (Rushworth), and Pride (Mary Crawford). At least that's how I'm assigning the roles today, although some of these folks do double-duty, and I've not assigned a particular sin to one of the most despicable characters in the book, Mrs. Norris, who seems to have Greed, Wrath, Envy and Pride in abundance. Also unassigned? Our "hero", Edmund Bertram, to whom I assign the sin of being annoyingly obtuse. But I digress, dear Lady, and I've gone on too long. I hope my friends will watch the latest cinematic adaptation of your fine book.

    *You may need to sign up for a free account to read the NY Times online. I can't tell for sure because, well, I already have one.

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    21. Swish and Flick on the Lights of Christmas with Warwick Davis

    Actor Warwick Davis will be bringing a bit of holiday magic to those in the UK this year as the Professor Flitwick actor is set to turn on the holiday light display this year in Peterborough. The local paper reports "The Yaxley film star – who played Professor Filius Flitwick in the Harry Potter movies – will switch on the festive display on November 19 at 7pm...The stage will be placed outside... Read the rest of this post

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    22. “I am Troy Davis”

    Troy Davis has been on death row since 1991 for the alleged 1989 murder of a police officer in Savannah, Georgia. Now, key prosecution witnesses have come forward and admitted that their original testimonies were not truthful. On June 23, an evidentiary hearing began, and a ruling on Troy Davis is expected not long after legal briefs are filed on July 7th. Here, Elizabeth Beck* and Sarah Britto** remember the death row sentencing of Troy Davis, the ongoing controversies, and consider what it means to be the man accused of a crime he may not have committed.

    As eyewitnesses inside the Savannah courtroom tell a judge that they lied 19 years ago, people are gathering outside wearing tee-shirts that read: “I am Troy Davis.” On the surface, being Troy Davis means that any one of us might find ourselves wrongly accused of a crime we did not commit. For Troy Davis, it began with a life-changing accusation 19 years ago. Following the testimony of nine witnesses and no physical evidence linking him to the crime, it led to his death sentence. A judge is now hearing the recantations of seven of the nine individuals who originally testified against Troy Davis. Can an innocent person be put to death if all procedures are properly followed? What constitutes new evidence? What kind of pressure are witnesses placed under to create state’s evidence? These questions only scratch the surface of what it means to be Troy Davis.

    What does it mean to be Troy Davis? Being Troy Davis means saying goodbye to your family three times in two years, before last-minute interventions spare you from the death chamber each time. It means knowing that your sister, Martina Correira, despite her own battle with cancer and chemotherapy, has worked every day for your release and that she has been working alone for most of that time. It means knowing that your mother, Virginia, may have to stand by as your casket is lowered into the ground. Being Troy Davis means constantly worrying and fearing about the impact of your life on your loved ones.

    The best-case scenario means that even if you are one day freed and recognized as innocent you will have lost 19 years. You will have to grieve the loss of those years as you relearn the meaning of freedom. You will have to negotiate a new world where computers, SMS texting, and sprawling strip malls are casual aspects of everyday life. Employers may look at you with suspicion and, like many other exonerees, you may be given no monetary compensation. It means that you will always miss the friends executed before you, and anguish over those who will be executed after you are free. Worst-case scenario: you will be executed for a crime you did not commit.

    Being Troy Davis means that your life is intimately intertwined with the life and death of Officer Mark Allen MacPhail (whose murder you have been accused of), and the pain and suffering of his family and friends. The trauma of this connection will bind your families together forever. While our legal system attempts to sort through this case and establish the winners and losers, the agony of the process and the toll it takes on all involved parties remains unaddressed. As we think ab

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    23. Tanita Davis's Coretta Scott King speech

    Remember how I've said many times now how brilliant my friend Tanita's speech was at the Coretta Scott King awards breakfast? The word that most often comes to my mind when I think of her and her speech is "magnificent". And now you can sort of see for yourself. It's not a video of her speech, which would convince you in a trice, but it's her approximation of what she said. And I can tell you that her approximation matches my wobbly memory of the morning.


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