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By: Lizzie Furey,
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Throughout 2016 we’ve featured oral history #OriginStories – tales of how people from all walks of life found their way into the world of oral history and what keeps them going. Most recently, Steven Sielaff explained how oral history has enabled him to connect his love of technology and his desire to create history.
The post In the oral history toolbox appeared first on OUPblog.
Hey, I was in a podcast with Margaret Dunlap, Paul Cornell and John Scalzi (edited by Dave Probert from Geek Planet Online)! You can listen to us chat about what we do over on the Cornell Collective website.
I returned to the WROTE Podcast recently for a 2-part discussion of reading and writing queerly
with Dena Hankins, SA "Baz" Collins, and moderator Vance Bastian. (Previously, I did a solo conversation
The strength of the discussion is also what makes it sometimes awkward and even contentious: we all have utterly different tastes, touchstones, and experiences. I'm not a natural fit for such a conversation, as I don't think of myself as a "consumer of queer content", but rather as a reader/writer who sometimes reads/writes queer stuff. I hardly ever seek out a book only
because it's about a queer topic or has queer characters, and I only ever set out to write such a thing if I'm writing for a specifically queer market, which rarely happens.
As I say in the program, if a book's not trying to do something new and different, and if it's not aesthetically interesting
to me, I'm unlikely to read it. Why bother? I've got more books than I have time to read already, and I'd rather read an innovative and thought-provoking hetero book than a familiar, conventional queer book.
Barthes gets at this in The Pleasure of the Text
, presenting a fairly familiar Modernist case, one that describes well my own textual pleasures and (very occasional) moments of bliss:
The New is not a fashion, it is a value, the basis of all criticism.... There is only one way left to escape the alienation of present-day society: to retreat ahead of it: every old language becomes old once it is repeated. Now, encratic language (the language produced and spread under the protection of power) is statutorily a language of repetition; all official institutions of language are repeating machines: school, sports, advertising, popular songs, news, all continually repeat the same structure, the same meaning, often the same words: the stereotype is a political fact, the major figure of ideology. Confronting it, the New is bliss (Freud: "In the adult, novelty always constitutes the condition for orgasm").
...The bastard form of mass culture is humiliated repetition: content, ideological schema, the blurring of contradictions — these are repeated, but the superficial forms are varied: always new books, new programs, new films, news items, but always the same meaning. [trans. by Richard Miller]
This is not, of course, what most readers want, and what is New to one is not New to another. My pleasure is your boredom, my bliss your pain. Nonetheless, I wish more queer writers today were more interested in finding new forms and shapes and styles. I mention in one of the episodes Dale Peck's new anthology, The Soho Press Book of '80s Short Fiction,
which is queer in that it is not heteronormative in its selections, putting Dorothy Allison, Robert Glück, and Essex Hemphill alongside Raymond Carver in a way no other anthology I'm aware of has done. What the anthology also does is show that many American queer writers were, once upon a time, interested in a truly wide range of aesthetics. Peck's anthology can only gesture toward those aesthetics, since it has to fit many different purposes between two covers, but it made me think about the ways that queer artists have for so long been the ones to embrace vanguards. (Queer Modernism is often the most interesting Modernism, for instance.) To be queer is to be outside the norm, and thus to be outside the norm's language and forms.
I ended the first episode with a point that right now seems to me the most important one: If we want to identify as a queer community (I'm not sure I do), and we really want to do something for the queer world generally, we should be advocating for queer writers from outside the U.S. and other relatively safe, progressive places. The two books I mentioned in the last moments as ones I'd be reading if I had time to read stuff other than things for my PhD are Under the Udala Trees
by Chinelo Okparanta
by Saleem Haddad
. There are likely many others I don't know about.
If there is a value in queer reading communities, then those communities must not replicate the insularity
of most American readers. If you want to be a politically and socially intentional reader, as describing yourself as a queer reader
(or consumer of queer content
) suggests you do, then your political and social intentions as a reader can't begin and end with you staring at a mirror.
Finally, I got into a bit of a disagreement with Baz Collins about Hanya Yanagihara's A Little Life
, and for my perspective on that book, my initial post about it
remains my most substantial declaration of love.
By: Jerry Beck,
Blog: Cartoon Brew
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The directors of "Sausage Party" talk about the challenges of selling an R-rated animated feature in Hollywood, producing a film on a fraction of the budget of other studios, and knowing when you've gone too far in an R-rated cartoon.
The post ‘Sausage Party’ Directors Conrad Vernon & Greg Tiernan On Making 2016’s Most Outlandish Animated Film appeared first on Cartoon Brew.
I have a two-year-old son. He is very cute. He is also the most stereotypical boy reader I’ve ever encountered in my life. Trucks, trains, construction equipment, you name it. Unsurprisingly he’s also keen on community workers so every other day we read through Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go. Or, when we’re feeling a bit jaunty, we’ll reach for Everything Goes On Land by Brian Biggs. Combine that with his other relatively new obsession with the Brownie and Pearl books (also illustrated by Mr. Biggs) and you’ll understand that Chez Bird is The House That Biggs Built.
When I heard that Mr. Biggs had a new series coming out from Abrams called Tinyville Town, I was naturally curious. What’s interesting about the books and the series is that rather that conform to the usual Scarry model, the stories examine “the city” as a concept in and of itself. So we had a talk about it and the more he spoke about it, the more interesting it became. The end result is this interview. Bear in mind that this isn’t just about Brian’s work on the series. In the course of this interview he delves into some really interesting ideas about the influence of Italo Calvino, city planning, what Sesame Street did along these same lines, and what we mean when we say something is “timeless”. I urge you to pay particular attention to what he has to say about gender roles and picture books as well.
By the way, I usually do interviews where the interviewer (me) and the interviewee (in this case, Mr. Biggs) are represented solely by their initials. Today, for obvious reasons, that’s not going to work out.
Betsy Bird: I’m interested in how this series tackles the idea of “the city” as more than just one of those random places that people live. Historically, Americans mostly lived in the country. Now we mostly live in cities but books that convey how interconnected we all are to one another there aren’t all that common. So what was the impetus for starting this series in the first place? And what, if you’ll forgive me, makes it different from your average everyday Richard Scarry fare?
Brian Biggs: To be honest, the argument could be made that the impetus for Tinyville Town came from a blog-entry you wrote about Everything Goes back in 2011. That series was definitely about vehicles, but I think you were on to something when you wrote that the first book, Everything Goes On Land, was really about my love for cities. Three years later, when I was playing with the idea of a series of little books about people and their jobs, it occurred to me that this, too, was potentially an excuse to draw another city and explore the streets and buildings within.
I’d put it on the record that Italo Calvino is just as big an influence here as Richard Scarry, and that’s not something you can say for just any board-book for three-year-olds. I read Invisible Cities when I was living in Paris, in 1991, just after college, and the book adjusted the way I looked at these random places that people live, as you write. I could close one eye, and Paris was a chaotic mass of people moving about, with no order, no sense. I could look with the other eye, and it was a latticework of streets and alleys with recognizable patterns and clear intents of the designers. I could squint, and imagine the connections between people in my neighborhood, from the taxi drivers to the family that ran the Chinese restaurant below my building to the woman who operated the laundry across the street. I don’t want to get carried away here — Tinyville Town is not a philosophical prose poem on the nature of our existence. But when later that year I left Paris for the Fort Worth suburb of Euless, Texas, I was able to find these stories there as well. Euless and Paris are nothing alike, yet they are. People go to sleep there, and wake up there, and go to work there, and live their lives there.
When I was a kid, I watched a lot of Sesame Street. Sesame Street did a great a job of finding connections and figuring out how to make a Brooklyn city block relevant to this kid watching tv in Little Rock. That neighborhood sure looked different from my neighborhood. But what I identified with were the people who lived there and their relationships to one another. Bob and Maria and Gordon, and even Oscar and Ernie and Big Bird, interacted with one another in ways that I did and my parents did with neighbors, and the guy at the grocery store, and the mailman. It wasn’t lost on me that, years later in Texas, what Euless and Paris had in common were those same people living vastly different yet very similar lives.
So, Sesame Street is a show that teaches numbers and the alphabet, and entertains kids so their parents can get the laundry done. But it’s much more than that, isn’t it? By hanging these lessons on this setting and with these people, Sesame Street teaches us so much more. Yes, Tinyville Town began as a simple series of little books about people with jobs. A day in the life of a fire fighter, and a veterinarian, and a librarian, doing the things that these people do. And while it might be difficult to explore the nature of existence and sociology in 24 pages, I’m hoping that these influences and these roots give me a stage that’s a little bigger than what might be immediately visible, and a setting in which I might be able to do a little more than count to ten.
Betsy: You’ve done books that take broad concepts and then define them in simple terms that no one else has really thought of before. Your “Everything Goes” series, for example, was both broad and meticulous. Are you doing something similar here?
Brian: Oh, sure. At least, I hope so. The structure of the series is built on this very idea. The larger picture books in the series, “Tinyville Town Gets to Work” being the first, are about the town. How the people of Tinyville Town work together to get something done. These books are the “broad” you mention. The smaller board books are the “meticulous,” each telling the story of one citizen of Tinyville Town. Visually, Tinyville Town doesn’t fill the page the way that Everything Goes does. There aren’t the hidden details and birds with hats. The surprises reveal themselves more slowly and are more relevant to the stories of this town.
Betsy: I mentioned Scarry earlier, and I suspect that of all the classic children’s authors of the past he’s the one you get compared to the most. We’ve this feeling that he’s “timeless” in some way (though anyone who has ever eyeballed Ma Pig’s Jane Fonda-esque headband in Cars and Trucks and Things That Go would take issue with that statement). “Timeless” is a goal of a lot of authors. It’s a kind of key to perpetual publishing. Is that something you consciously think about when you make a series like this one or does it not concern you?
Brian: It does concern me, and I’ve had discussions with Traci, my editor, about ways to make Tinyville Town “timeless.” But I haven’t really worked out exactly what this means, or even whether it is a good idea or not.
For example, one of the first things I decided about this series was that there are no mobile phones in Tinyville Town. When we see a group of people standing at a bus stop waiting for the bus, they were going to be reading books and newspapers, not staring like zombies at their smart phones. I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I saw someone waiting at a bus stop with a book, but there is just something about that scene that I could not bring myself to include. On the other hand, I think readers really like to see things like that they recognize. Early on, in the first Everything Goes book, I have a driver cutting through traffic, talking on his mobile phone. Kids often point this particular detail out. They know it’s something you’re not supposed to do, and they love it on the next page when we see the same driver pulled over by the police car, getting a ticket. Twenty years from now, will a reader know what the heck is going on there? Will we get pulled over in the future for talking to our robot helpers on our telepathic com-links while our automated flying Google cars get us from place to place? Will this scene render Everything Goes dated and dull?
When I was researching firefighters for Tinyville Town, I learned that firehouses aren’t built with sliding poles any more, for insurance reasons. And the firehouses that do have them, don’t use them. But when you talk to kids about fire stations, a pole is still among the first things they want to see. I gotta have that pole, even though it’s an anachronism. So, what is it that makes a book “timeless,” anyway? Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel was one of my favorite books when I was a kid. I had no idea what a steam shovel was, and that book was big-time dated when I read it in the 1970s. But I loved it. It’s timeless. Not because a steam shovel was still a relevant piece of cool construction technology, but because the theme of “new and improved” versus familiar and reliable, and the David and Goliath story buried in that book will always be relevant.
Betsy: So I did this post the other day about gender and how construction workers (and even their equipment) are shown to be both male and female or simply male. Some folks wrote in saying they’d never seen a female construction worker in all their livelong days. You, however, do give professions of every sort dual genders (I was always quite grateful for the female pilot in Everything Goes in the Air). How do you reconcile this with a real world that isn’t always as gender neutral as we’d like it to be?
Brian: I’m going to quote a friend here, who told me that “even if it isn’t seen, that doesn’t mean it’s right and it doesn’t mean things should stay that way. If kids can see it, it’s easier for them to imagine being it.” This friend recently became one of the few female electrical linemen in Philadelphia. A while back, when she saw some early sketches I’d posted for I’m a Firefighter, she pointedly asked me why there were no women working at the Tinyville Town fire station. I couldn’t believe I’d let this get by me. And I was so so happy she’d pointed it out. But did I ask myself how many women really are firefighters? Do I need to go by all the fire stations in Philadelphia to see how many women work there before I can include them in my book?
This ties in directly with the discussion about timelessness, doesn’t it? Ten years ago there was this big brouhaha when someone noticed that the Busytown books he was reading to his kids were different from the ones he had when he was growing up. At some point the publisher had redrawn many of the characters and even some complete scenes to reflect a more modern sensibilty. A father bunny rabbit had joined a mother bunny rabbit in the kitchen preparing dinner. The “pretty stewardess’” job description had changed to “flight attendant” and the “pilot” was no longer “handsome.” The mouse in the canoe was no longer wearing the potentially offensive and stereotypical feathered headdress, and a menorah had been added onto the holiday celebration. These changes came along right around the time I was reading Scarry’s books to my own kids, and as a responsible parent, I was pleased. There was a part of me, the sentimental child within, that wondered if I should be angry at this absurd kowtowing to political correctness, but do I want my daughter thinking that flight attendants are supposed to be pretty? Do I want my son to think that husbands are supposed to be waited on by their wives? These books aren’t supposed to be snapshots of a particular time. They’re not Little House on the Prairie.
Before 2008, one could set a tv show in the near-but-still-far-away future by having a U.S. President be African American, or female. It was maybe somewhat conceivable, but it hadn’t happened yet. Now, there’s a fairly good chance we’re going to elect a female president this year, which would mean that in 2020 there will be a generation of kids who don’t know how impossible this so recently seemed. To these kids, those 43 previous white guys are mere history. That’s just amazing to me.
People have never seen a female construction worker? They’re not paying attention.
Betsy: What’s the ultimate goal with this series?
Brian: Well, of course, the ultimate goal is to create an entertaining, satisfying series of books that kids like to read over and over again. I actually don’t think much about teaching lessons when writing these things, and I don’t think that reflecting the world I live in, or I want my kids and eventual grandkids to live in, is any sort of political agenda, and certainly not a hidden one.
I don’t expect Tinyville Town to be some kind of a catalyst for change. Really, I just want a kid to read I’m a Firefighter, make loud siren noises as the fire truck speeds through town, and cheer when the fire at the bakery is put out at the end. If she then goes to bed thinking “I want to be that,” well, that’s just gravy, isn’t it?
I want to thank Brian for taking quite a bit of time to put down these thoughts for us today. Tinyville Town Gets to Work hits shelves September 6th alongside the board books Tinyville Town: I’m a Veterinarian and Tinyville Town: I’m a Firefighter. And yes, in case you were wondering, there is a librarian on the horizon as well:
By: Jerry Beck,
Blog: Cartoon Brew
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Mark Osborne talks about why he said no to directing the project at first and why working in CG can drive a director crazy.
The post Interview: Mark Osborne’s Personal Journey On ‘The Little Prince’ appeared first on Cartoon Brew.
By: Storie Chastain
Blog: The Leaky Cauldron
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Ever since Harry began his journey, we’ve been told that “The wand chooses the wizard.” But, on set of the Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them movie, the actors got to design their characters’ wands themselves.
“I sort of assumed that I would have a wand sort of plopped in my hand,” Eddie Redmayne tells Entertainment Weekly. But when he found out he got to choose the wand for the main character, Newt Scamander, he put a lot of thought into the design.
“These amazing props designers come, and then you have really a quite intricate discussion with [director] David Yates about what qualities Newt has,” Eddie continued. He wanted Newt’s wand to match his personality, to be a reflection of who he was. Eddie didn’t want the wand to be too complex of a design, Newt isn’t a “showy guy”. But he did want the audience to be able to see the history in it, all that it’s been through, with scratches and burn marks up and down the ash wood.
But for the handle, they were sort of talking about whether it should be horn or leather, and I didn’t like the idea of like animal products being used, given that he’s a zoologist. So in the end, they came up with this idea of sand shell… and it has a slightly mother-of-pearly feel. So we had all these discussions and went back and forth with designs, and when the thing arrived I was pretty excited. My inner 9-year-old was having a disco, and then I was actually presented with it!”
Read the full interview with Eddie Redmayne here! Be sure to catch Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in theaters November 18!
Making an independent animated short is hard. But what if you had the power of Pixar’s animation toolset and renderfarm behind you?
The post How Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj Made The Independent Short ‘Borrowed Time’ Inside Pixar appeared first on Cartoon Brew.
By: Emma Pocock
Blog: The Leaky Cauldron
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We have been covering the unveilings of exclusive material at San Diego Comic Con’s Fantastic Beasts panel – first a trailer, and now an exclusive Q&A event with the cast – featuring a question from Leaky!
Present at the event were: Director David Yates, Producer David Heyman, Ezra Miller (Credence), Collin Farrell (Percival Graves), Eddie Redmayne (Newt Scamander), Katherine Waterston (Tina Goldstein), Dan Fogler (Jacob Kowalski) and Alison Sudol (Queenie Goldstein).
In the U.K., fans (and Leaky) were in the Great Hall at Leavesden Studios to take part in the live stream Q&A, where Fantastic Beasts costumes and props were being flaunted – unfortunately only for this exclusive event. Georgia and Gemma represented Leaky in London, so keep posted for more updates on this!
Carianne and Tabitha attended Comic-Con in San Diego on behalf of The Leaky Cauldron, Carianne managed to ask what Eddie, Katherine, Dan and Alison’s favourite parts about the wizarding world are:
Alison answered “Anything is possible, and also that it’s a beautiful world, it’s close enough to our world that it feels real and yet the possibilities and just the wonder of it, on just the tiniest little details how magic is sort of workaday in the world is just constantly inspiring”
Katherine says “I think the idea of a parallel universe is just something I think we can all relate to. Of course children have that sense and we kind of grow up and we are kind of bred out or encouraged to stop thinking that way and stop seeing the beauty and the possibility and the magic around us, and to consider it in this much more literal way that there could be a simultaneous world happening around us that we might not be conscious of, that we might be able to notice if you tune into it or look for it … I love that idea”
Presenter Edith Bowman asked what it was like in San Diego when the brand new trailer was shown to audiences, and Eddie Redmayne jumped straight in with his answer, clearly excited to be at such a huge event:
“You hear so much about Comic-Con, the moment you actually walk on stage, it’s like no sensory experience you can possibly imagine – it’s so overwhelming, but so exciting”
According to Redmayne, there were people dressed as Newt Scamander in the audience!
Ezra Miller’s character has been kept closely under wraps (he does, however, feature in the new Fantastic Beasts poster), so his answer was understandably more discrete:
“I can’t tell you my favourite scene” he says, but said his favourite thing about working on the film was working with Collin Farrell, Eddie Redmayne and Samantha Morton (Mary Lou).
Alison Sudol says she is a “big Harry Potter fan” so is obviously excited to be promoting Fantastic Beasts at such a great event. “You can’t help but feel like a kid” she says, “It is magical, it’s magical to be a part of this world and to have a continuation of the universe that we all fell in love with, but it’s something new, something different”
Dan Fogler is a loyal Comic-Con fan, who says he’s been attending the event for probably the past 15 years, and compares the excitement of attending 2016’s event to 2015:
“Last year I didn’t have much going on … then I got the call from my agent saying you know, ‘Next Comic-Con’s gonna be a lot different’, and they were right.”
Pottermore asked the first time Eddie Redmayne learned to use a wand, which apparently happened in what turned out to be a slightly awkward experience during screen tests for the film:
“I remember David said very kindly ‘Ed, just choose a wand’ and I was like *HUGE GASP*. What was extraordinary was that your inner 9-year-old has waited for this moment all your life, and I picked the thing up, and I got complete stage fright. I had no idea what to do with it – it looked really odd in my hand so in the end I actually went back and looked at some of the Harry Potter films and looked at Dan and Emma and Rupert’s work and thieved an idea or two!”
Alison Sudol echoed this ‘stage fright’, saying that she was also concerned about whether the wand was actually magic, but that after the initial shock is over with “it becomes quite addictive” – apparently she’d found herself actually walking around at home with a wand!
Katherine Waterston said that the muscles involved in wand work were a surprise for her, saying she got a case of ‘wand elbow’.
SnitchSeeker then asked Eddie Redmayne what makes Newt Scamander a true Hufflepuff. Eddie said he’d recently taken the Pottermore sorting test:
“I’d been holding off doing it for an age because I couldn’t believe it would actually work, and I was sorted into Hufflepuff and it was the most exciting moment of my life”
“It’s his heart – he’s a complicated, knotty, at moments spiky character, but he has a wonderful heart and a passion for his creatures, and I suppose it’s those qualities which I associated with a Hufflepuff”
You can view the trailer and the full Q&A in the video on the Fantastic Beasts below, and check out our break-down of the trailer here!
Thank you to Carianne for asking Leaky’s question, and to Alison Sudol and Katherine Waterston for answering it! Many thanks to Tabitha, who joined Carianne and represented Leaky at SDCC 2016, and Gemma and Georgia, who joined the festivities at Leavesden Studios in London on Leaky’s behalf–thank you!!!
Jamie Parker, Paul Thornley and Noma Dumezweni are currently portraying Harry, Ron and Hermione on stage in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which opens for official performances on July 30th. The outside of Palace Theatre has been slowly growing into a masterpiece, adding more Potter-themed decorations in preparation for preview performances coming to an end. The new trio spoke to The Telegraph about their thoughts on how the process is going so far, and their reactions to being a part of a global phenomenon.
“It was absolute craziness, people were so pumped up” Paul Thornley said, on seeing people wait outside the theatre prior to the first preview performance.. Noma simply stated: “This is quite big.”
Jamie Parker later says:
“That benign attention and pressure has been the wind at our backs,” he says. “The audience [mostly aged 25 to 35] have encouraged us and willed us to succeed the whole way. Generally in the theatre you spend some portion of the performance convincing people they have done the right thing in buying the ticket; that this is the play they want to watch. Never in our lives have we been able to hit the ground at full sprint like this.”
Paul Thornley is just happy it’s a solid job:
“It’s extraordinary to be in a new show in the West End and know you’re not going to close,” says Thornley. “That’s nice.”
This interview actually took part in the very room where Thornley, Parker and Dumezweni discovered that they had made the bill – the basement bar of the Palace Theatre. According to The Telegraph, being a part of the Potter stories instantly had an impact on the three actors’ lives:
“All three actors are discovering the transformative powers of Potter even before the show officially opens next Thursday. “My children finally think I’m doing something worthwhile,” says Thornley, who has two daughters, Katy-Ann, 16, and Florence, eight. “That’s glorious. I could be playing Hamlet at the RSC and they wouldn’t give a monkey’s, but Ron Weasley… it’s got currency in the playground. Suddenly I’m worth talking to.”
The actors were sworn to keep their wizardly identities secret until the cast was announced, but Thornley mistook the release date and told Florence a week in advance. “By which time she had told most of her class, her teacher and anyone else who wanted to know that her dad was Ron Weasley. So keeping the secret starts at home for me. I learnt a big lesson. She’s gorgeous but she’ll make a terrible spy.””
On J.K. Rowling asking preview audiences to #KeeptheSecrets:
“The hashtag KeeptheSecrets is a beautiful thing,” says Dumezweni, whose nine-year-old daughter, Qeiva, took her insider responsibility so seriously that she asked: “Can I tell them it’s in two parts?”
“J K Rowling is not a King John,” says Parker. “She doesn’t assume disloyalty. She assumes the fan base want to protect the secret. Spoilers are inevitable. If you’re looking for them, you’re going to find them. But it’s still overwhelmingly easy to turn up to the theatre knowing nothing about it.”
Noma then sums up the feeling of 2016 in a few beautiful sentences – we’re getting Fantastic Beasts and Cursed Child all in one year, and we know that this play won’t let fans down:
“There’s a communion,” says Dumezweni. “When the lights go down we’re all in there together and that’s what the keeping of secrets is. These people in their gut and their soul have travelled with Harry and Ron and Hermione and the other characters for years.”
Paul Thornley has been in Les Miserables, but we’re glad to hear that he believes “Being a wizard is the best job ever”. The trio tell The Telegraph that the audience are often audibly in awe of the performances, Parker calling the sounds ‘a goldmine':
“All you want is a story that people want to be told. Of course we’ve got lots of toys and bells and whistles but it is not merely spectacle. What people care about is the internal life of these characters, the development of relationships and all the pressures and crises they experience. If we’d thought it was a big, cynical toys-only production, I’m pretty sure we’d have had nothing to do with it.”
The actors then discuss the plot of the play (don’t worry – no spoilers!):
“As soon as you bring a child into the world, you feel guilty,” says Thornley. “Am I doing it right? Am I doing it wrong? It continues. There are different problems all the way through. That comes across hugely in the play. It’s clever and it’s complex and it’s troubling sometimes because you empathise with these problems.”
Dumezweni and Thornley in particular faced backlash when their casting was announced, entirely based on their appearances (Rowling herself, their co-workers and other Potter alumni have since backed their performance as actors, giving them their full support). The Telegraph documented their reactions:
The actress [Dumezweni], who collected an Olivier award for her role in A Raisin in0 the Sun, and recently excelled in the title role in Linda at the Royal Court Theatre when Kim Cattrall had to pull out, treats the fuss with disdain. “You are looking at me. This is the skin colour I have. You choose to use the word ‘black’. I am just an actress playing Hermione.” She is pleased that mothers regard her as a beacon for their mixed-race daughters.
To quislings who don’t think Thornley is red-headed enough to be Ron Weasley, the actor replies: “I am ginger in my soul.”
Cursed Child will be opening officially next Thursday (30th July). Read more over at The Telegraph here!
Harry Potter’s enduring feud with classmate Draco Malfoy has left many fans curious about the relationships between the rivals’ children at Hogwarts. Anthony Boyle–Draco’s son Scorpius Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child–opens up about Scorpius’ childhood and a surprising friendship in a new interview.
“He’s grown up in isolation in the Malfoy Manor and hasn’t really spoken to anyone in his peer group. He’s just been alone with his books reading about Harry Potter and Albus and all of these different people.”
Anthony reveals that in Cursed Child, Scorpius does something quite uncharacteristic of the Malfoy clan by befriending a Potter.
“Suddenly, Albus comes into the [Hogwarts Express] carriage. Rose Granger-Weasley doesn’t take too kindly to him. She thinks he’s a bit odd, because he is! But Albus [Potter] quite likes him, and the friendship sort of begins there.”
Hear more from Anthony in the video below:
Read the full interview on Pottermore.
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Yesterday, Evanna Lynch attended the Giffoni Film Festival held in Salerno (Italy), after starring in My Name is Emily, which featured in the Generator +16 competition at the event. Of course, many Potter fans attended the festival to ask questions, but Evanna also had some wisdom of her own to share.
Evanna was part of the Potter community long before she was cast as Luna at 14 years old, so it makes sense that she’d have ideas about where she would have liked the plot to go. The bonus of being cast was that J.K. Rowling was right there, available to speak to about ideas, and maybe get a few hints at the story along the way. Evanna did not waste this opportunity, telling Rowling a very interesting idea she’d had for the development of Luna’s character:
“I’ve always had so many ideas about the narrative developments that one day I went to the writer to propose her a love story between Luna and the Headmaster … I told her I didn’t mind the difference of age between them, instead, I thought they would be a nice couple. She replied: ‘It’s not about the age. In any case, the relationship would be impossible because he is gay’. That’s how I found out about one of the greatest revelations of J.K. Rowling”
When asked about the decision to cast Noma Dumezweni in Cursed Child (which opens officially on July 30th), Evanna gave sensitive, thoughtful reasoning behind her answer:
“I consider it to be the right decision. Hermione is a libertarian in spirit, she fights for those in difficulty, it makes total sense to imagine her as part of a minority. One of the most beautiful things about J.K Rowling, which for me is a point of reference, is the way in which she uses her characters to send a message”.
She later reaffirmed this answer:
“Hermione’s feature is her desire to help the defenceless, like house-elves, thus it makes perfectly sense her being part of a minority. Such a choice proves that J.K. Rowling wished to give a strong social message through her work. As far as I’m concerned, it’s talent that counts, not skin colour”.
She also had a few words to say about Luna’s sense of social justice:
“Luna doesn’t give a darn about people’s prejudices, she is a free spirit and she also helped me fighting my insecurities, just like she’s doing with million people in the world. This is the reason why I decided to embrace important causes in my following projects. For example, I acted a wicked girl who hates homosexuals in G.B.F. Because I felt awkward whilst giving life to her pettiness, I understood that my character would have succeeded in proving the premises of the film true.”
Evanna is an aspirational young actress, who likes to take on challenging roles – her troubled character in My Name is Emily illustrates her desire to portray complex characters who tell a story. However, she also sets herself personal challenges in her career:
“I always look for new challenges and I’ve got a long list of actors I’d like to play with. First of all is Benedict Cumberbatch because I’m a fan of his TV Sherlock”
Of course, as a Potter fan herself, Evanna would never give up another chance to play Luna:
“I am not ready to abandon the character entirely and I think I would be jealous if it were assigned to someone else”.
Later she also said of Cursed Child:
“ Should anyone make a film based on the stage play I would whip into it. The truth is that I can’t say goodbye to my character, and I hope to play it again, maybe in an older version”.
We all know that Evanna loves her cat – her Instagram is almost exclusively photos/videos of Puff, so when a fan awkwardly proposed to her at the event, her reply was believable:
“We’ll talk about it again in ten years’ time, now I’m giving all my time over my kitties, indeed, I wish to open a cattery very soon to welcome them all and spend all my money on their safeguard”
Lynch also advised young aspiring actors to “read a lot and broadly, stay pure and be yourselves; this will help you in a world that is not always easy”.
She also gave advice to younger fans in the audience:
“Be sympathetic to your parents, explain them your dreams and help them understanding the reasons why you want to experience new things. Sometimes, they might forbid you to dye your hair or wear some clothes but they do it in good faith to protect you. My mother, who is here with me in the hall at Giffoni, gave me strict rules but she also left me free to find my way, so I realised that my adolescence rebellion was not a pique but instead a desire to understand who I was”
Read more over at the Giffoni Film Festival website and ANSA, and see photos of Evanna at the event below!
A little while ago I had the privilege of reading Sarah Beth Durst's latest fantasy novel for middle grade readers, The Girl Who Could Not Dream--the tale of a girl whose parents distill, bottle, and sell dreams out of a secret room in their... Read the rest of this post
After portraying Dean Thomas in the Harry Potter films, Alfred Enoch has been starring in US drama How to Get Away With Murder, and is currently taking a break from TV to play Edmund in a filmed, critically-acclaimed theatrical production of Shakespeare’s King Lear, which will also star Don Warrington.
Huffington Post took some time to catch up with Enoch as part of their Wise Words interview series:
When and where are you happiest?
Working. Theatre, particularly, being on stage. Not that I like it more than TV, but the release of being on stage is very exciting to me. There comes a point when you go on and it’s beyond any rehearsal or correction, you just have to commit. When you’re in the wings, and you have to go on, it can be very freeing, but you have to trust that you’ve done enough work. I find that exhilarating.
What would you tell your 13-year-old self?
Rejoice. Don’t worry about it. It doesn’t matter that much. Throw yourself into it, and don’t check yourself.
What 3 things are at the top of your bucket list?
Go for a really long walk, Camino Del Santiago or something that big.
Do more plays.
Go back to Brazil.
What was the last good deed or act of kindness you received?
We’re about to start shooting the next season of this TV show ‘How to Get Away With Murder’, and everyone is so enthused to see each other. I’ve been in a different continent, other people have been travelling for work, scattered to the winds and now we return. There’s a lot of warmth when everyone gets back together.
Alfred also spoke about his wider beliefs – what happens when we die, good advice to live by, and occasions when he’s felt like we might live ‘in the presence of something bigger than ourselves':
“I love walking in London, and architecture is a big thing for me. I like the idea of the past happening in a certain place, I find it elusive and I love to try to bridge that gap between then and now. It can be a city, or equally the wilderness, but it can have that same feeling. In Malibu a while ago, I went for a walk with my parents, the sun was setting, and it just felt… immense.
Equally, I felt like that doing ‘Lear’ at the Royal Exchange. It’s a fantastic theatre, it has this dome and we used to come down from the dressing room, full of excitement and adrenalin, about to open a show, after all the work. I remember coming down the first few shows, looking up at glass dome which hangs over the theatre module, and feeling the wonder.”
Enoch’s appearance in King Lear: The Film will be available on demand in the UK and internationally for three months here. The film is a Talawa Theatre Company, Royal Exchange Theatre and Saffron Cherry TV production, in association with Lion Eyes TV and commissioned by The Space.
Royal Exchange Theatre gives more details:
“Captured at the Royal Exchange Theatre in May 2016, King Lear played to sell out theatre crowds during its run, winning 4 and 5 star reviews across the board and was described by the Guardian as ‘as close to definitive as can be’.
The original ‘intelligent and theatrical’ (Guardian) stage production was directed by Michael Buffong (A Raisin in the Sun, Moon on a Rainbow Shawl, All My Sons) and was a co-production between Talawa Theatre Company and the Royal Exchange Theatre in association with the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.”
Read more here, and watch a promo below!
More than simply being one of Harry Potter’s best friends, Ron Weasley is an iconic character in his own right. In a recent interview with the Pottermore correspondent, Paul Thornley–Ron Weasley in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child–took the time to share a little about what it’s like.
“It’s massive. It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever been involved in, probably for all of us. I don’t know if I was aware of the enormity of the world of Harry Potter.”
He also talks about Ron’s relationship with Hermione nineteen years later, and how their differences play a part in their marriage’s success:
“Their marriage is pretty strong. I think she despairs of his rather scattergun approach to life, and he doesn’t really worry about anything. It’s a good balance between the two of them, between someone who’s slightly more focused and someone who’s more relaxed.”
Being that the Cursed Child story centers around Albus Potter, Rose Granger-Weasley, and their generation, it’s a given that there are a few new faces to see. Of the newcomers, Paul says:
“The old guard still knock about. But it’s a beautiful mixture of following your old mates but then also falling in love with a few new characters.”
Even as a cast member, Paul still strives to keep the secrets to keep the magic alive for first-time viewers of the play–to his children’s dismay!
“I’ve read [the Harry Potter books] with both my children. I’ve got an older one who’s read all of them and an eight-year-old who’s beginning to get into it. It’s so exciting for both me and the children, but I don’t want to tell them anything about [the play] because I want them to experience it when they see the show. I keep being peppered with questions when I come home from work!”
Hear more from Paul in the video below:
The more we hear about the story, cast, and production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the more excited we get to experience this chapter of the story ourselves! Read the full article on Pottermore.
By: Jerry Beck,
Blog: Cartoon Brew
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Chris Renaud talks about comic influences on "The Secret Life of Pets," Illumination's unconventional workflow, and the studio's fluid production process that allows humor to be added in during every stage of production.
The post Director Chris Renaud On ‘The Secret Life of Pets’ appeared first on Cartoon Brew.
Francoise Mouly "said to me on several occasions that she doesn’t really want to be doing what other book publishers are doing. Why should I? There’s lots of them out there doing that. Let’s try some new stuff. That is her attitude. She loves experimentation."
With so many new comics, TV shows, and films out there; it’s easy for even the most open readers to fall down a jaded hipster hole of “meh” when something comes along that tells a bold tale. Dark Horse Comics is set to launch a new crime drama series in August sure to grab even the […]
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Nearly 60 musicians were enlisted to create the recent "Steampunks" musical episode of Nick's "Harvey Beaks."
The post ‘Harvey Beaks’ Composer Ego Plum: Modern Animation Deserves Orchestral Music appeared first on Cartoon Brew.
"If you’re going to make a comic book make the most comic book comic that you can comic."
David Yates, the director of The Legend of Tarzan and the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them did a Q&A with USA Today and told how he pulled off two massive blockbuster releases in one year.
When asked about what exactly attracted him in the script for The Legend of Tarzan, Yates responded that the screenplay, written by Adam Cozad and Craig Bewer, caught his attention due to its “fun elements that you would enjoy when you went into the movie theater” – elements like action, great landscapes and amazing animals. Yates mentions also being excited about the prospect of working in Africa and producing a type of action/adventure/romance film that he hadn’t seen for a while.
The Legend of Tarzan relies heavily on the use of CGI and according to Yates the biggest challenge he faced was creating the world of the movie and making it feel romantic and heightened, yet believable.
Yates was still in the process of filming The Legend of Tarzan when he got the script for Beasts sent for him. Once the filming of Tarzan ended, Yates moved directly to working with Beasts. He gives special credit to his editor Mark Day, who according to Yates, had one machine that had Tarzan on it and one machine that has Beasts on it, which allowed Yates to switch between the two all the time. While the work load seems heavy, Yates says that working on the two films was:
“All doable, all perfectly fine, but literally there wasn’t a single day when I was working Beasts that I didn’t at least peek at Tarzan in some shape or form.”
While to some extent working on the Fantastic Beasts felt like a homecoming to the Harry Potter world familiar to Yates, he says that the experience felt different, because this time around it is not Hogwarts and it is not about kids, but rather about grown-ups, as a result of which the film deals with “very adult themes”.
The Legend of Tarzan premieres in United States on Friday July 1, 2016. The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will hit theaters later this year on November 18th.
Radio Times writes that Daniel Radcliffe has not completely ruled out the possibility of returning to his iconic role as Harry Potter.
In light of the expansion of the wizarding world via Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Radio Times asked Radcliffe whether he would consider the possibility of playing Harry Potter as an adult, to which Radcliffe responded:
“It would depend on the script,” he said. “The circumstances would have to be pretty extraordinary. But then I am sure Harrison Ford said that with Han Solo and look what happened there! So I am saying, ‘No,’ for now but leaving room to backtrack in the future.”
Radcliffe definitely has his hands full at the moment, with the press of his new releases Now You See Me 2 and Swiss Army Man. He is also the star of Imperium, an upcoming thriller that is scheduled to be release on August 19, 2016 in limited release and through VOD. In 2017 Radcliffe can be seen in Greg McLean’s thriller Jungle which started production in April 2016 in Australia.
While we might not see Daniel back in the wizarding world for a good while, it is good to know he is still keeping that option open for the future.
Being the son of The Boy Who Lived isn’t always easy according to Sam Clemmett, the actor portraying Albus Potter in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Clemmett goes as far as to describe the relationship between Harry and his middle child as “fractious”, and being that Harry Potter is as famous in the Wizarding World as he is in ours, it’s not hard to see why.
Of the father-son relationship, Clemmett says:
“There are issues. It’s like having a massive celebrity figure as a dad. People react to you in different ways whether you want that attention or not. Whether you are able to live up to that person or not, it affects your self-esteem.”
Clemmett also joins a number of other Potter alumni in defending the casting of Noma Dumezweni as Hermione in Cursed Child–a decision that has been the topic of much discussion as of late.
“The films have painted a picture of the Harry Potter world and it is hard to put that aside. But JK Rowling never specified ethnicity in the books. Noma is a brilliant Hermione and does a wonderful job and tells the story beautifully — and that is all that matters.”
Sam Clemmett and the rest of the cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child continue to charm audiences at the Palace Theatre. For those of you who have seen the play, we ask that you please remember to #KeeptheSecrets in the comments!
Read more from the interview at Digital Spy and Standard.
Katherine Waterston and Alison Sudol feature in Fantastic Beasts as sisters, Tina and Queenie Goldstein. The Pottermore Correpondent caught up with them to ask about their auditions, and how they manage to portray the bond between the sisters so well.
According to Pottermore, Katherine Waterston and Alison Sudol were cast as the Goldstein sisters after Eddie Redmayne had been cast as Newt, and David Yates was looking for two actresses with a ‘very specific type of chemistry’. Alison Sudol describes the moment they showed that they were the right fit:
‘We were introduced and it was kind of like, “Okay Katherine, this is Alison. Alison, this is Katherine. Why don’t you have a seat on that couch and be sisters?” We were both like, “Right, okay!”’
‘And so I [Alison] sat down and something happened: I just looked at Katherine’s face and felt incredibly empathetic towards her. In this scene, she – Tina – was suffering and I could see that. I started playing with her hair, and plaiting her hair, and it was a really emotional moment for both of us.’
But, according to Katherine, it wasn’t the first time she’d seen Alison act:
‘The truth is that I saw Alison in a scene first. I got to watch her work a little bit before we did the improvisation, so I already knew she was a really good actor,’ Katherine says.
‘So I went into the improvisation knowing I was with someone who would be able to hold up their side of the bargain. With things like that when you’re nervous and you’re auditioning, to know you can trust your partner gives you confidence you might not otherwise have in that situation.
‘I think that made a big difference.”
J.K. Rowling’s focus on family, love and relationships in the Harry Potter series has continued to be a prominent theme in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and it seems we’ll get to see another side to this in the sisterly relationship between Tina and Queenie in Fantastic Beasts.
Katherine Waterston says that being a sister makes the role slightly easier to play naturally, given that she knows all the quirks of such a close bond:
‘I have a whole life’s history of that feeling of being a sister. That’s really what it comes down to with acting like this: it’s trust and love. We both felt that connection on the first day, Alison and I. But also, I’ve got a sister. I am a sister, so it wasn’t tricky to call on that. Sometimes my sister and I have come downstairs wearing the same outfit or we’ve called our mom at exactly the same time. There’s something witchy about being sisters anyway, don’t you think?’
Read the full article here!
If you haven’t seen it already, catch the sisters in the Fantastic Beasts trailer here, and read an interview with Katherine Waterston on working with David Yates here.
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I talked with Mike once before about Battlepug, and was happy to do it again following its recent grande finale. I asked him more about the process for his webcomic, how he feels about ending it and his Image series Revival. Read on to learn how Mike’s grown as an artist and his experiences concurrently drawing […]