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It’s Official: Emma Watson Playing Belle in Disney’s Live Action ‘Beauty & the Beast’
Posted by Megs

As we’ve been reporting since 2012, Emma Watson has officially been cast as Belle in Disney’s upcoming live-action version of Beauty & the Beast!

“I’m finally able to tell you that I will be playing Belle! It was such a big part of my growing up, it almost feels surreal that I’ll get to dance to ‘Be Out Guest’ and sing ‘Something There.’ My six-year-old self is on the ceiling – heart bursting. Time to start some singing lessons. I can’t wait for you to see it.”

The film was originally going to be done by Guillermo del Toro and Warner Bros. but now is in the hands of Disney. Bill Condon is directing the film and the script will be written by Stephen Chbosky, who directed Emma in The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

We will post more as the story develops!

Filed Under: Emma Watson
Platform 9 3/4 Extension of Warner Bros Studio Tour Opening in March
Posted by Megs

Click to view full size image
It has been revealed this morning that this coming March Warner Bros. Studio Tour London will be expanding! This extension is set to include a recreation of Platform 9 3/4 AND the original Hogwarts Express stream engine! Some concept art for the addition may be seen in the gallery.

This March, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter will unveil a 20,000ft2 expansion, including the original Hogwarts Express steam engine and a recreation of Platform 9 ¾. The new, permanent section will offer a glimpse into how some of the films’ most iconic scenes were created as well as give visitors the chance to climb aboard the train’s carriage and to pose with a luggage trolley as it disappears through the platform wall.

Throughout the Harry Potter film series, British steam train no. 5972, ‘Olton Hall’, was used as the Hogwarts Express. Scenes featuring the working engine – including the very last scene to be shot, in which a grown-up Harry, Ron and Hermione wave their own children off as they head to school – were filmed on a soundstage at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden and on a track running the full length of the Studios’ 100-acre backlot. The 78-year-old red engine will return to the series’ production home this spring and will be displayed on a realistic set of tracks, with steam billowing as visitors step onto the platform.

Officially opening on Thursday 19th March, the new, must-see section has been redesigned and will be built by many of the crew members who worked on the most successful film series of all time. Every inch of the platform’s glass roof, yellow brick walls and luggage racks, designed by Oscar® and BAFTA winning Production Designer Stuart Craig, will be painstakingly reassembled by a team led by Construction Manager Paul Hayes and dressed by Set Decorator Rosie Goodwin. Oscar® and BAFTA winning Special Effects Supervisor John Richardson will rig the locomotive with special effects steam.

Visitors will be able to walk along the train’s adjoining carriage and sit in the interior carriage set that was used during filming (complete with ‘windows’ that demonstrate the process used to create iconic train scenes from the films such as the escape of Harry’s first Chocolate Frog and the Dementor attack). A selection of prop luggage will be on show and visitors can find out which character owned which items by turning an interactive dial (characters include Hermione Granger, Draco Malfoy, Luna Lovegood and more). A train-themed souvenir shop will also be open on the platform, stocking a wide range of goodies inspired by the Harry Potter films and, specifically, the Hogwarts Express.

Sarah Roots, Vice President of Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, commented: “We can’t wait to open our first expansion, Platform 9 ¾, just before the Studio Tour’s third anniversary in March. The Hogwarts Express had a starring role in the films so we’re excited that it will be taking centre stage in the new area. It’s the piece that visitors have most requested to see and we’re expecting a fantastic response.”

Stuart Craig, Production Designer on all eight Harry Potter films, added: “The Hogwarts Express was the setting for many iconic scenes, from Harry, Hermione and Ron’s first meeting in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to the moment the trio’s children embark on their first journey to school 26 years later. The wizarding world doesn’t have a need for modern technology so we knew a traditional steam engine would make the perfect school train. Before we began filming in 2000, we scoured the country and found ‘Olton Hall’ at a preservation centre in Lancashire; realising pretty quickly that it was exactly what we had been looking for.”

The new Platform 9 ¾ section, featuring the original Hogwarts Express, will open on Thursday 19th March and entrance will be included in the standard ticket price.

Filed Under: Harry Potter Leavesden Tour
Video: Emma Watson’s Speech for the HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 Program
Posted by Megs

Back in September, Emma Watson announced the UN Women’s HeForShe campaign. Earlier today, she delivered another speech encouraging world and corporate leaders to take action for gender equality during the kickoff of a HeForShe program launch at the World Economic Forum at Davos on January 23rd, 2015.

She says: “The groundswell of response we have received in support for HeForShe tells us we are tapping into what the world wants: to be a part of change. Now we have to channel that energy into purposeful action. The pilot initiative provides that framework. Next we need all country leadership, as well as that of hundreds of universities and corporations to follow HeForShe’s IMPACT 10x10x10 so as to bring an end to the persisting inequalities faced by women and girls globally.

A press release for states:

The HeForShe campaign’s IMPACT 10X10X10 initiative is a one-year pilot effort that aims to engage governments, corporations and universities as instruments of change positioned within some of the communities that most need to address deficiencies in women’s empowerment and gender equality and that have the greatest capacity to make and influence those changes. Each sector will identify approaches for addressing gender inequality, and pilot test the effectiveness of these interventions for scalability.
[…]
“HeForShe exemplifies UN Women’s groundbreaking leadership on gender equality. We know where change is proving hardest. The HeForShe IMPACT Initiative puts responsibility for change right where it matters- and spotlights leaders who can make it happen. The founding Champions from industry and government will pave the way for others to join in, using the pilot initiatives to streamline decision-making on relevant and successful activities,” stated UN Women Executive Director and Under-Secretary-General Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. “Ultimately we need everyone to get involved if we are to turn the tide.”

Filed Under: Emma Watson
Harry Potter Stars’ Hand-Drawn Doodles to be Auctioned for Charity
Posted by Megs

Stars from the Harry Potter films have, once again, put pen to paper for this year’s National Doodle Day, benefiting Epilepsy Action, a registered charity in England. Epilepsy Action exists to improve the lives of people living with epilepsy by providing practical support and information in a number of ways – over 1.1 million people used our services last year.

Famous faces from the Harry Potter film series have been busy doodling in the hope their squiggles can raise much-needed cash for charity.

Stars including Bill Nighy (Rufus Scrimgeour), Tony Maudsley (Grawp) and Julian Glover (Aragog) have put pen to paper for this year’s National Doodle Day on Friday 6 February. The celebrities’ scribbles will feature in a ten-day eBay auction, beginning on National Doodle Day, to raise funds for charity Epilepsy Action.

National Doodle Day, which is supported by Dodo Pad, publishers of the original family ‘doodle’ diary, aims to get as many people doodling as possible. The event raises money to help support the 600,000 people across the UK with epilepsy. Last year’s auction saw doodles by Harry Potter stars fetch almost £1,000 for Epilepsy Action.)

This year, for the first time, members of the public can take part in National Doodle Day online. People can create, upload and share their scribbles on the dedicated website. Doodlers can submit their creations and compete for prizes at nationaldoodleday.org.uk, home of the celebrity doodle gallery. Every doodle uploaded will be entered into a competition, with winners chosen in an online public vote.

Philippa Cartwright, fundraising events manager at Epilepsy Action said: “Every year we are overwhelmed with the positive support that we receive from celebrities and members of the public alike. The celebrity doodle auction is always a terrific success, raising thousands of pounds in much-needed funds for Epilepsy Action.”

Information on the National Doodle Day celebrity auction and competition can be found at nationaldoodleday.org.uk. The eBay auction will run from Friday 6 February to Sunday 15 February 2015. The closing date for entries into the National Doodle Day competition is Friday 20 March. Voting closes on Friday 3 April.

Epilepsy affects around one in every 100 people in the UK alone and 87 people are diagnosed with the condition every day. Each year Epilepsy Action directly helps over 1.2 million people through a range of services, including its Epilepsy Helpline freephone 0808 800 5050, branch network, specialist nurse scheme and award-winning website, epilepsy.org.uk

National Doodle Day is Friday 6 Feb, and the eBay auction of doodles will run for ten days.

Filed Under: Bill Nighy
Watch Tom Felton’s ‘Against the Sun’ On Demand Starting Today
Posted by Megs

Tom Felton’s newest film, Against the Sun, has decided to forgo the traditional theaters only release and has gone directly to us, the viewers! Beginning today January 23rd, you can purchase the film on various online viewing platforms as well as select theaters.

In one of the most harrowing true stories of World War II, three US Navy airmen crash land their torpedo bomber in the South Pacific and find themselves on a tiny life raft, surrounded by open ocean. No food. No water. No hope of rescue. Against incredible odds, these three virtual strangers must survive storms, sharks, starvation – and each other – as they try to sail more than a thousand miles to safety.

Watch the film at any of these locations:

Filed Under: Tom Felton
(Possible) Schedule for A Celebration of Harry Potter 2015
Posted by Megs

Behind the Thrills has posted what is believed to be the schedule for Universal Orlando’s Celebration of Harry Potter. It has not been officially released by Universal, so this could be an early draft of a schedule, but the real lineup will most likely be very similar.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 30

  • A Celebration of Harry Potter Expo (Soundstage 33) 9 am – 5 pm
  • Movie in the Park (Music Plaza) 2:30pm – 5:30pm
  • A Celebration of Harry Potter Opening Night Event (Music Plaza) 5:30pm – 6pm

SATURDAY, JANUARY 31

  • A Celebration of Harry Potter Expo (Soundstage 33) 9am – 5pm
  • Behind the Scenes: Harry Potter Film Talent Discussion (Music Plaza) 10am – 11am
  • Kids’ Harry Potter Film Trivia (Music Plaza) 11:15am – 11:30am
  • Kids’ Dueling Demonstration & Wand Masterclass with Paul Harris (Music Plaza) 11:30am – 12pm
  • House Photo Meet-Up — Hufflepuff (Music Plaza) 12:30pm – 12:45pm
  • Graphic Design for the Harry Potter™ Films with MinaLima (Music Plaza) 2:30pm – 3:15pm
  • Illustration of Harry Potter with Kazu Kibuishi (Music Plaza) 4pm – 4:45pm
  • House Photo Meet-Up — Ravenclaw (Music Plaza) 4:45pm – 5pm
  • Dueling Demonstration & Wand Masterclass with Paul Harris (Music Plaza) 5:15pm – 6pm

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 1

  • A Celebration of Harry Potter Expo (Soundstage 33) 9am – 5pm
  • Dueling Demonstration & Wand Masterclass with Paul Harris (Music Plaza)10am – 10:45am
  • Kids’ Dueling Demonstration & Wand Masterclass with Paul Harris (Music Plaza) 11:30am – 12pm
  • House Photo Meet-Up — Slytherin (Music Plaza) 12:30pm – 12:45pm
  • Kids’ Dance Like a Beauxbatons & Battle Like a Durmstrang (Music Plaza) 2:30pm – 3pm
  • Creating The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Music Plaza) 3:304m – 4:15pm
  • House Photo Meet-Up — Gryffindor (Music Plaza) 4:15pm – 4:30pm
  • Behind the Scenes: Harry Potter Film Talent Discussion (Music Plaza) 5:00pm – 5:45pm

We will be in attendance at the event and will keep you updated!

Filed Under: Celebration of Harry Potter, Harry Potter Theme Park
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