A Hidden Treasure: Bespoke Handwritten Hogwarts Letters From MinaLima!

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MinaLima have been designing graphics of the highest quality for the J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World for over a decade. First they worked on the Harry Potter films, then went on to design aspects of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios theme parks. Now they continue their work on the Fantastic Beasts film series.

Potter fans will be familiar with practically all of their designs, and delighted by their more obscure ones – hidden from the camera view or never used at all, but given new life in their collections. Of course, Harry Potter’s welcome letter to Hogwarts is one of the first magical props we see in the movies. MinaLima are now offering a bespoke replica of the letter, handwritten by Miraphora Mina herself (yes, she is the hand of McGonagall!), with the option to personalise your letter if you so choose.

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“Without this there would be no story. We wouldn’t be at Hogwarts, Harry wouldn’t be there. It’s the very beginning” says Eduardo Lima, the latter half of the MinaLima design duo, sharing with us the handwritten letter in person for the very first time. The hand-bound display box is itself a thing of absolute beauty. Tied up delicately with a bow, decorated with golden stars and an owl, holding the letter in a silk display. You can see every single emerald green stroke of the quill on the envelope, crafted expertly by Mira. Eduardo’s right, of course. Selecting this prop as one of their bespoke replicas is an obvious choice. But how is it created?

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Mira tells us that each letter takes a few hours, with each letter crafted stroke by stroke, blotting the pen to make sure there are no smudges or scratches. The pen itself – sadly not included in the box – is an old-style fountain quill that wouldn’t be at all out of place in Hogwarts!

The set includes Harry’s equipment list from Hogwarts, which took some impressively tiny writing on Mira’s part. Having designed the Marauder’s Map we suppose she’s used to that by now, and she says that her experience with tiny-calligraphy actually goes even further back than her days on Potter“This is what I spent my childhood doing, writing really tiny!”

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Not every letter in the film was handwritten, making this an extra-special offer. Rather than a printed replica on plain A4, you’re receiving an invaluable prop you can be assured was created by the designers for special, close-up shots on the movies. Mira explains how the letters were crafted on set of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone:

‘There was probably around twenty to thirty handwritten letters used in the film, the rest were all printed, and we actually had some really thin, well, blank copies. I think the one Dan [Radcliffe] picks up is actually one of the blank ones – isn’t it? It was, because I watch it like, ‘Why did he choose that one?’! They had to have the thin, lighter ones to send through the air compressors’

Of course, there’s a version of this at the Warner Bros Studio Tour. We even caught a demonstration at A Celebration of Harry Potter 2018:

Mira shared another adorable secret about the letters – she crafted special versions for the owls on set to make it easier on them when flying! ‘I even made smaller ones for the owls to carry because they couldn’t pick the big ones up!’

She tells us ‘all the instructions I needed were in the book, it was one of the only props we had very clear instructions on’, meaning she crafted the letter exactly how J.K. Rowling wanted to see it, and how fans would have expected to read it – no detail is left out in these carefully created replicas. Even down to the red Hogwarts seal!

The letter is available at House of MinaLima in print form, as a magnet, a card holder – even a tea towel! Eduardo says that Mira actually designed all the letters Harry received from Hogwarts throughout the series, as well as the letter Dumbledore wrote to the Dursleys when leaving him on their doorstep, which is one of the very first shots in the first movie. What we wouldn’t give to see their archives!

Explaining the choice of making the letter available for fans to order as a complete replica, Eduardo says:  ‘We wanted to make something bespoke that you could display, that was something fans could enjoy.’

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Mira was in charge of this prop, and when a fan orders one of these bespoke replicas, it’s Mira who picks up the quill and crafts their order – Eduardo jokes that if Mira was suddenly Out of Action this would be over – he’d have to pick up the mantle! But that’s testament to just how special these letters are – try as you might, nobody will never master McGonnagall’s handwriting quite like Mira!

Personalising the Hogwarts Letter opens up the opportunity for all sorts of fun – we saw a letter addressed to a customer with a ‘museum under the stairs’, and addresses that reach across the globe. We wanted to know if anybody had ordered a different character’s Hogwarts acceptance letter – Hermione’s, perhaps, or Ron’s? Mira and Eduardo said they had actually received an order for Sirius Black’s acceptance letter!

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It’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity to own a treasured memory from the films. Order your exact prop replica of the iconic Hogwarts Acceptance Letter at minalima.com, or a personalised version of the letter here.

Thanks to the MinaLima team for their take on the story of the Hogwarts letter, and for giving us a look at this beautiful new replica!



A First Look at Gringotts with James & Oliver Phelps & Warwick Davis!

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Gringotts Wizarding Bank opens at Warner Bros Studio Tour London on April 6th, and none other than the Weasley twins, James and Oliver Phelps, and Filius Flitwick / Griphook the goblin himself, Warwick Davis, gave us our first look at the set – and it doesn’t disappoint!

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Pottermore were there for the first look at the set, and interviewed Warwick Davis, as well as creature effects artist Sarita Allison, who discussed the scope of creating goblins with special effects make-up, and shared that her work on the goblins seen in the Potter films wouldn’t have been possible without the immense patience of the actors:

‘We get a lot of praise for our amazing goblin work but we couldn’t do it without actors like Warwick – it’s very precise work and they do sit there for hours.’

Davis also discussed his first experience on set with Daniel Radcliffe – it takes so long to be transformed into a goblin that he was ‘wiped out’ by the time it came to shooting the scene!:

“I remember for the first film when I was wearing this make-up, getting up at 4am, have the make-up applied, be ready for 8, we’d then do some filming, usually with Daniel [Radcliffe] who was a very young boy at that point, but then because they needed to film him and get him into school and things… they’d turn around and do my shots right at the end of the day. Now, by then I was wiped out, I couldn’t remember my lines, I didn’t know what was going on at that point!”

They assure that some top secrets will be revealed in the 16,500 square foot Gringotts set, which uses 210,000 coins, 38,000 pieces of rubberised treasure for the Lestrange vault and 7,014 Hufflepuff Cups!

Sky also interviewed Davis, who discussed his love of the Potter movies:

“I feel I’m very lucky to have managed to be part of these two huge film series. Not a day goes by where I don’t talk about them some way or another.” 

There are downsides to being transformed into a goblin, though – Warwick said that nobody spoke to him whilst he was in costume!

“When I’m filming, I don’t go around the whole day as Griphook, I’m Warwick in between scenes.

“But it’s funny, when you’re in make-up like this, people don’t talk to you. You’re a bit isolated on set.

“The studio will be full of cast and crew, but I’ll be sat down on my chair and no one will talk to me because I look miserable, even though I’m not inside.”

Read more here.

Alongside the opening of Gringotts, Warner Bros Studio Tour will also reveal an all-new 17,000 sqft lobby and café on April 6th, seating up to 500 people to enjoy food and drink inspired by the Wizarding World! Entrance to Gringotts will be included in general admission – get your hands on tickets at the official Warner Bros Studio Tour website.



Universal Hollywood to Host ‘Dark Arts At Hogwarts Castle Premiere Event!

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Universal Studios Hollywood will host two exclusive after-hours premiere events next month, offering fans a first look at the upcoming Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle light projection show at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, taking place April 11th and April 12th.

Fans will be greeted at Hogsmeade with a selection of shops (including Zonko’s, Olivander’s and Honeydukes!), as well as ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff. Then, before anybody else, guests will be treated to a special showing of the all-new dark arts show, bringing together light, John Williams’s score and special effects and showcasing magical creatures and villains from the movie, including Lord Voldemort himself!

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Of course, it wouldn’t be a Hogwarts event without a feast, so Universal will treat guests to an array of foods, drinks and desserts as part of the premiere event. Even more excitingly, we’ll see a brand new limited edition wand debut at the event, giving fans the opportunity to take home a new keepsake from the park. All this comes with early entry to the park, as well as this after-hours event.

Tickets to the event are selling fast – book yours here. The official opening date for Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle is April 13th, and the show will end on April 28th. Find out more at the Universal Studios Hollywood official website, and read more about Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure – the new ride coming to Universal Orlando Resort – in our special event write-up!

 



Universal Orlando Reveal Details of New ‘Harry Potter’ Ride, With The Help of Special Guests!

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Universal Orlando held a special event in London last night, hosting special guests from the Potter series to help announce new details about Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure, the new ride coming June 13th 2019!

According to a press release from Universal Orlando Resort, the ride will  combine “a new level of storytelling and innovative coaster technology with rich environments and sets”.

Tom Felton and Art Director Alan Gilmore share more about the ride in a new video:

 

Being described as a new ride technology, ‘storycoaster’, the ride will see guests  (starting at 48” tall) take part in Hagrid’s Care of Magical Creatures class. Riders will board motorbikes (that’s right – actual bikes, so get ready for a ride experience like no other!) or an adjacent sidecar, and seek out some of the Wizarding World’s rarest magical creatures – including a magical creature not before seen in the Harry Potter or Fantastic Beasts films.  According to Universal Orlando, riders can expect the following:

  • Experience a freewheeling coaster flight where they’ll twist, turn and rush forward – and backward – at speeds up to 50 mph into the dark forest 
  • Encounter some of the wizarding world’s rarest magical creatures, such as a majestic Centaur, a swarm of mischievous Cornish Pixies, Fluffy, the three-headed dog – and even a creature that’s never been seen in the films
  • Hurl past challenging obstacles, become entangled in a thicket of Devil’s Snare and so much more …while encountering a few surprises along the way. 

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We heard directly from Harry Potter Art Director Alan Gilmore at a launch event yesterday. Alan has been involved in designing the ride, so knows the journey we’ll go on this Summer inside out!  He began by noting “You can’t have an adventure set in the Forbidden Forest without a forest!”, and told us that the ride has an actual forest surrounding the tracks, with a confounding 1,200 live trees helping to immerse riders in the story.

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We were then introduced to the man himself, who portrayed Rubeus Hagrid in the Potter movies, Robbie Coltrane! Arriving in a wheelchair (he says he’s ‘due a new knee’, but following the operation he’ll be ‘leaping around like an Elf’!), we were excited to get some inside thoughts from one of the series’s most beloved characters.

Coltrane was hugely excited to see a ride centred on his character, and said that the ingenuity of the ride design surpassed his expectations:

“I was thinking about it today, and I was just thinking – “Hagrid would have really loved it … Because Hagrid’s such a nice guy, just the idea of going on an adventure with Hagrid, they would all feel happy – they’d think “Yeah, Hagrid’s cool – he ain’t Snape!”.”

“It’s a staggeringly original idea, a ride with a motorcycle on a sidecar – how do the people riding it not just fall off? [To Alan Gilmore] You’re a very, very clever man.” 

Commenting on the ride being set in the Forbidden Forest, Coltrane said that Hagrid is the perfect character to navigate the forest:

“So many weird things happen there – hideous things, huge spiders … The kids at Hogwarts don’t go there – the only time they go there is with Hagrid, because he knew how to play the spiders,” he laughs, “Also, there’s an element of things going wrong, which is hilarious. It’s so funny and so clever. How they will engineer it I simply don’t know, but I shall find out in June, I hope!”

Let’s hope that means we’ll see Robbie at the launch event this Summer!

Revealing a few more surprises (he echoes Hagrid’s ‘I shouldn’t have said that’, to laughs), Coltrane closes by praising how clever the story is, and how riders are kept wondering where they’re heading next. Much like #KeepTheSecrets, it’s clear Universal are hoping that riders will be able to go into the experience without being spoiled – it’s the best part about the ride, according to Robbie!

“Is it going to be scary, is it going to be scary?” […] Keep the mystery going, that’s what I say.”

 

The ride replaces the Triwizard Dragon Challenge coaster at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure.

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure will open June 13th, 2019. Stay posted for updates on the launch, and find out more at Universal’s official website, here.

 

 



Weekly Round-Up: Daniel Radcliffe Filming ‘Escape From Pretoria’, Emma Watson Is First Choice For ‘Black Widow’ & More!

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This week in the Potterverse, we saw updates on Universal Studios Orlando’s upcoming ride, we launched a statue giveaway with Icon Heroes, gave updates on Daniel Radcliffe’s latest projects, and announced that we’re looking for new writers and reporters!

In this week’s round-up we see trailers for projects starring Fiona Shaw, David Tennant and Emma Thompson, updates from Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Matthew Lewis, Harry Melling, Imelda Staunton, Eddie Redmayne, Callum Turner, David Heyman, Chris Columbus, Samanta Morton, Jude Law, Julie Walters, Bonnie Wright, Zoë Kravitz and Jessica Williams. It’s been a busy week indeed!

Daniel Radcliffe Spotted Filming Escape From Pretoria 

Daniel Radcliffe was spotted on set of upcoming film Escape From Pretoria this week, in which he’ll portray activist Tim Jenkin who was imprisoned in Pretoria’s Maximum Security prison in the late 1970s, inspired by his 1979 escape from the prison. The film is based on Jenkins’ autobiography.

See the photos below, and more here.

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Emma Watson First Choice for Black Widow Solo Movie & International Women’s Day Celebrations

According to ScreenRant, Emma Watson is reportedly a  front runner to join Scarlett Johansson’s female leading character, Natasha Romanoff, in Marvel’s solo Black Widow movie. The role Marvel has in mind for Watson has apparently been described as “kick ass female Bond”, and we’re all for it!

Other actresses reportedly being considered are Alice Englert (Ratched), Dar Zuzovsky (Hostages), and Florence Pugh (Fighting With My Family). Read more here.

Watson also recently celebrated International Women’s Day, and announced the March & April pick for Our Shared Shelf:

 

Matthew Lewis To Star in Taika Waititi-Produced Comedy, Baby, Done

Harry Potter‘s Neville Longbottom, Matthew Lewis, will star in Baby, Done, a semi-autobiographical comedy written by Sophie Henderson and produced by Taika Waititi’s New Zealand-based Piki Films. The film is based on Henderson and Curtis Vowell’s reaction to starting a family. Vowell is set to direct. The film will also star Rose Mateo, and will see her and Lewis star as the leading couple in the movie. Lewis told Deadline:

“I fell in love with the script immediately and the team of creatives behind it. I’m also a big fan of Rose and her work and so to be opposite her shooting in beautiful New Zealand is a privilege and I’m looking forward to bringing this story to life.”

We’re excited to see more on this new project!

Harry Melling Joins Robert Pattinson in Netflix’s Devil All The Time

Harry-MellingDeadline reported that Harry Melling, best known for his portrayal of Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter series, has signed on to the all-star ensemble cast of Netflix’s Devil All The Time, also featuring Robert Pattinson (Cedric Diggory). The film, adapted from a novel by Donald Ray Pollock, is described as follows:

“The gothic story follows a group of characters, including a serial killer couple, a faith-testing preacher, and a corrupt local sheriff, from the end of World War II to the 1960s in rural southern Ohio and West Virginia.”

Melling and Pattinson join the esteemed company of actors Tom Holland, Mia Wasikowska, Bill Skarsgard, Eliza Scanlen, Riley Keough, Jason Clarke and Sebastian Stan. Filming is now underway in Alabama.

Samantha Morton Talks Legacies on The Walking Dead

Mary-Lou-Barebone Samantha Morton (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them‘s Mary Lou Barebone) discusses her role as leading villain Alpha of the Whispers, and continuing legacies after former star Andrew Lincoln (narrator of Quidditch Through the Ages audiobook) left the show. She told Radio 1 Newsbeat:

“His legacy and what he has created is incredibly inspiring, he set the standard very high. I feel like this is a really special baby that I have been handed and I need to be really careful with it […] the stakes are higher, there is a huge legacy there that needs to be carried on, it’s [an] honor to be a part of the show.”

Read the full interview here, and see new episodes of TWD on Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.

Chris Columbus to Produce New Scooby-Doo Movie 1016775-warner-bros.readies-live-action-scooby-doo-reboot

Chris Columbus will co-produce a new animated Scooby-Doo movie being developed by Warner Bros alongside Charles Roven, set to release in May 2020. The cast list has just been announced, including Will Forte as Shaggy, Gina Rodriquez as Velma and Frank Welker as Scooby. The film will be directed by previous Scooby-Doo director, Tony Cervone. Read more here.    

Jude Law’s Sherlock Holmes 3 Pushed Back to Christmas 2021

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Robert Downey Jr will reprise his role as Sherlock Holmes, along with Jude Law as sidekick Dr. Watson, when the film series returns for its third instalment. The film has been pushed back a year, and is now set to release December 22nd 2021, Warner Bros announced this week, which could have something to do with the delay on the third Fantastic Beasts movie. Read more here.

David Heyman, Callum Turner, Holliday Grainger & Ron Perlman to Team Up on The Capture

Upcoming conspiracy thriller, The Capture will be produced by David Heyman’s Heyday Studios (David Heyman, Rosie Alison and Tom Winchester), and will star Callum Turner (Theseus Scamander), Ron Perlman (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) and Holliday Grainger (the Strike series). The series will air on the BBC.

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The six-part series, written by Ben Chanan, follows Turner – a veteran convicted of murder in Afghanistan. His conviction is overturned due to flawed video evidence, but damning CCTV footage of an incident in London puts him back in front of a detective (Grainger). Read more here.

Domnhall Gleeson to Star in New Romantic Comedic Thriller, Run

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Romantic comedic thriller Run, starring Domhnall Gleeson (Bill Weasley) has been picked up by HBO. The series also stars Merritt Wever, and is being brought to screens by Fleabag and Killing Eve creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Vicky Jones:

“Written by Jones, Run centers on Ruby (Wever), a woman living a humdrum existence who one day gets a text inviting her to fulfill a youthful pact, promising true love and self-reinvention, by stepping out of her life to take a journey with her oldest flame (Gleeson).”

Read more at Deadline.

 

Malifecent 2 – Starring Imelda Staunton – Gets New October Release Date

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The sequel to Disney’s Malificent – starring Angelina Jolie, Ellie Fanning, Sam Riley and Imelda Staunton (Dolores Umbridge). Maleficent: Mistress of Evil will hit theaters on October 18th 2019, up seven months from its original release date of May 29, 2020.

Read more at Variety.

 

Jessica Williams to Moderate Conversation For Michelle Obama’s World Tour

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Jessica Williams (who we caught glimpse of as Ilvermorny’s Charms Professor Eulalie Hicks in Crimes of Grindelwald) will host a date of former First Lady Michelle Obama’s world tour, promoting her memoir, Becoming Michelle Obama. The tour dates will see conversations moderated by other special guests, including Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, and Stephen Colbert Phoebe Robinson, chef Rachel Ray, news anchors Robin Roberts and Gayle King, and former Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett.

Williams will moderate the 05/10 date at Fort Lauderdale, Florida at the BB&T Center. Read more here.

 

New Photos of Zoë Kravitz on Set of Big Little Lies

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New photos from the set of Big Little Lies show Zoë Kravitz and Laura Dern in costume, and appear to show characters dressed for another costume party. Season 2 is due to release this Summer. See the new photo below and read more here.

Emma Thompson to Appear on Late Night Comedy & Supports Open Letter Supporting Trans Women of Scotland

Emma Thompson (Harry Potter‘s Professor Sybil Trelawney), will star in upcoming   comedy movie Late Night, following Thompson as a late-night host who hires a female staff writer (portrayed by the film’s writer and director, Mindy Kaling). The movie had its debut at Sundance Film Festival, and will hit theaters June 7th. View the trailer below:

In other news, Thompson continues her work in petitioning for social justice. Rhiannon Spear, chair of the Time for Inclusive Education campaign, spearheaded the writing of an open letter in support of the Scottish government’s move to rework the Gender Recognition Act.Over 70 members of government, charities and professionals across the country supported the letter, including Emma Thompson. Read more here.

Fiona Shaw Joins Fleabag Season 2

The second series of Fleabag is now airing on BBC Three, and stars, along with Fiona Shaw (Harry Potter‘s Petunia Dursley). The comedy-drama was created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and is based on her one-woman play of the same name. Andrew Scott (Sherlock) was another recently announced addition to the cast. Retuning cast members are Olivia Colman, Hugh Skinner, Sian Clifford, Brett Gelman, Bill Paterson, Jenny Rainsford and Hugh Dennis. Read more about the new season here, and watch a previously released trailer below:

David Tennant Stars in New Good Omens Trailer

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Good Omens, starring David Tennant (Harry Potter‘s Barty Crouch Jr), releases May 31st on Amazon Prime Video, and the first trailer is here! The series is based on the novel by Neil Gaimen, written with the late Terry Pratchett. Tennant will portray the demon Crowley, in a story based on the apocalypse. He is joined by Michael Sheen, who will play the angel Aziraphale.

 

David Tennant has also joined the line-up of presenters for this year’s Comic Relief Red Nose Day 2019 show on BBC. He’s already presented once before, and says he’s excited to go live again:

“That was the first time I’d ever done it – but then I hadn’t been asked to do it since! So I’m very grateful that they are willing to take that risk again. From what I remember of live TV, it’s quite chaotic and in the moment. My very limited experience of live TV would tell me just to roll with it on the night.”

The show kicks off on BBC1 on Friday 15th March. Read the full list of presenters, and the TV schedule here.

Bonnie Wright Discusses the Worrying Trend of Plastic Pollution

Bonnie Wright (Harry Potter‘s Ginny Weasley) continued her tirade against plastic pollution recently, joining experts and campaigners on a study of a Welsh river, looking into the issue of river micro plastic pollution:

“I think it is incredibly worrying,” she added.

“Every time I have done the trawling for plastics, like we have done today, there’s not been one time the net hasn’t come up with some type of micro plastics.

She discussed the need for strong legislation on plastic solution. Researchers are working with the University of Exeter to analyse the samples, and hope to understand more about where plastics are coming from, and the impacts of plastic pollution on marine life. Read more here, and sign the Greenpeace petition to the UK government to enforce stronger regulations on plastic pollution here.

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ahoy! i had an adventurous day with @greenpeaceuk investigating plastic pollution in the wye river. our samples will go to exeter university to see what types of plastics are running off the land, into rivers and out to sea ?? take action by signing our petition to urge the UK government to put strong policies in place for the upcoming environment bill that protects us from the effects of plastic pollution ??? link in bio!

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Julie Walters To Take a Break From Acting

Beloved and award-winning Dame Julie Walters (Harry Potters Molly Weasley) will be taking a year-long break from acting after a non-stop schedule. With three blockbusters, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Paddington 2 and Marry Poppins Returns, taking up much of her time, it’s no wonder she’s needing ‘a bit of space’!

She told the Standard that Mamma Mia! was ‘like a holiday’ to her, and that she plans on taking on lighter roles (rather than roles requiring intense emotional investment, such as stage or drama), she

“I’m taking this year off, really. I’m doing voiceovers at the moment, but I want a rest because the last two, three years have been non-stop and I didn’t feel very well last year and was exhausted and I just thought ‘that’s it now’.

“I’m talking about a [new] film next year, but that’s it. I’m going to be at home and have a bit of space in my life.”

We’re wishing her all the best on her break!

Ahead of International Women’s Day, Julie Walters also helped support Women’s Aid this week at an inspiring fundraising event on Wednesday 6th March. The event saw all proceeds go towards the charity, which works against domestic abuse. She commented on the event:

“I hope it will be great. We are there to celebrate the survivors because they’re massively strong and courageous women, and shine a light on those who are suffering.”

Eddie Redmayne, Jason Isaacs, Bill Nighy and Rhys If ans Celebrate Young Talent at the Into Film Awards 2019

Several Potter actors, as well as Eddie Redmayne (Fantastic Beasts lead Newt Scamander, attended the Into Film Awards this week, celebrating and showcasing young filmmaking talent in the UK. Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy), Rhys Ifans (Xenophilius Lovegood) and Bill Nighy (Rufus Scrimgeour). See more photos here.

 

 

 



REVIEW: Icon Heroes Severus Snape Statue-and Giveaway for a Lucky Leaky Fan!

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Icon Heroes specializes in making high quality collectible statues from your favorite franchises, including DC Comics, The Karate Kid, Robotech, Star Trek and, of course, Harry Potter, and Leaky was lucky enough to receive a statue from Icon Heroes to review their polystone version of the “iconic” character Severus Snape, which drew on Alan Rickman’s performance in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

*We’re also giving away either a Newt Scamander or Harry Potter Quidditch statue – read to the end for details!*

Delivery of the package was timely, and the statue came encased in a fan-pleasing box which was safely buffered with packing peanuts.

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Once removed from the outer package, it was easy to see the lengths Icon Heroes took to make the statue’s box a magical part of the wizarding fun. Every detail on the box serves to build the excitement of devoted fans, from the inclusion of Harry’s image (Snape’s nemesis) to newspaper headlines, newsprint and an advertisement for the Nimbus 2000.

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The side panels of the box showed the statue of choice from different angles. In this case, we received a 1/9 scale statue of Severus Snape holding his wand at the ready. (And given Snape’s arc as Death Eater turned Potions professor turned righthand man and Double Agent, it’s quite fitting that the headline to the left should play up the stakes of Rowling’s epic story with the words: “You-Know-Who Stronger Than Ever.” That’s some thoughtful product design work!)

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The back panel featured two other products offered by Icon Heroes–a chilling rendition of Lord Voldemort, which is not yet available, and a magical replica of Harry in Quidditch apparel capturing the snitch mid-flight.

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Now that we were properly excited, it was time to open the box and get to the statue itself–and we were pleasantly surprised to note that the collectible statue came with a Certificate of Authenticity, identifying the limited edition replica as number 284 out of 1,000.

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Setting that aside for safe-keeping, it was time to see Severus Snape in all his glory!

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(Once we freed him from the Styrofoam, that is, which we appreciated, as there was not a chip or crack to be found on him.)

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Finally able to view the statue up close, we couldn’t help but be impressed by the level of detailing immediately apparent. From Snape’s stoic facial expression, to the subtle texture of fabric on his deep black cloak and navy tunic, the folds of his pants and the shiny gloss of his black shoes, it was clearly excellent workmanship.

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From the side, you could fully appreciate the hook of his nose, the heavy brow and the sweep of his cloak, which somehow exuded weight and movement.

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From the other profile, you could see the detailing in his clothes, as well as note Snape’s imposing stature as he takes up an intimidating stance.

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From the back, the photo did not do the statue justice as the lighting obscured just how rich the color of the cloak was and how authentically heavy it appeared on Snape’s shoulders.

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Speaking of heavy, when picking up the statue, you’ll be impressed with the weight of it. Icon Heroes lists its approximate weight at 1.5 lbs, and it felt every ounce of that.

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The site also lists the statue at 8.2 inches, which must not include the base, because the photo with ruler (above) confirmed that Snape stands well over the 8-inch mark. All specs were as advertised!

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There are two negatives worth noting. First, the hair was not consistently black. We suspect some of the coloring was unintentionally rubbed off during processing and packaging. It is only noticeable from the back and doesn’t detract from the overall appearance of the statue from the front. Second, there is a small amount of errant glaze on the left shoulder and around the hairline. The sheen can be seen under direct light from the back, but it is also not visible from the front. This is a relatively minor defect and may be specific to this statue.

Each statue is hand-crafted, so even the smallest imperfections add to its uniqueness as a one-of-a-kind collector’s item. Overall, this model of Severus Snape is very visually appealing and should delight any Harry Potter fan.

Icon Heroes offers another version of Severus Snape holding a potion book, which is exclusive to Books-A-Million. Also available on their site is a Platform 9 3/4 mousepad, a statue of the aforementioned Quidditch-playing Harry Potter and a statue of Newt Scamander with his Niffler and magical case. The statue of Lord Voldemort, as well as a statue of Hermione Granger, is coming soon!

And in an exclusive special offer for Leaky readers, Icon Heroes is giving away a collectible statue! The lucky winner will get to choose between Harry Potter or Newt Scamander, shown below!

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The Severus Snape statue reviewed here may be purchased for $79.99 through Icon Heroes.

Thanks to Icon Heroes for providing a statue to review!


We’re giving one lucky winner the chance to get their hands on either a Newt or Harry statue pictured above thanks to Icon Heroes!

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– Follow Leaky (Facebook, Instagram & Twitter) and Icon Heroes (Facebook, Instagram & Twitter)

ENTERING VIA FACEBOOK / INSTAGRAM:

Comment which statue out of Newt and Harry you’d want to win on our posts, below.

Tag three friends in the comments!

ENTERING VIA TWITTER

Tag @Leaky and @IconHeroes on Twitter and tell us which statue you’d like to win (Newt or Harry) by using the hashtag #TLCIconHeroesGiveaway.

Retweet our post, below.

That’s THREE ways to enter! Sadly this giveaway is only open to North America due to shipping restrictions. Entries are being accepted until March 31st.

Good luck, Potterheads!



Daniel Radcliffe: Magician or “Miracle Worker”?

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Daniel Radcliffe, forever immortalized in film, and in our hearts, as the boy wizard Harry Potter, has since had both the means and inclination to experiment with a wide variety of roles and to do it with uncommon grace and good humor. His latest endeavor brings him to television audiences in the U.S., and he’s making the media rounds to promote his new show, Miracle Workers.

At first glance, it seems an odd choice for the actor. The premise, based on the book What in God’s Name by Simon Rich, who also adapted the work for the small screen, presents a light and entertainingly irreverent take on heaven. The other-worldly venue is depicted as a corporation hanging on by a thread, presided over by a God, played by Steve Buscemi, who is fed up with the mounting problems on Earth. He’s ready to end it all in favor of his next business venture, Lazy Susan’s, a restaurant featuring a lazy river attraction.

Radcliffe comes in as an angel in the Department of Answered Prayers. He rather cheerfully perseveres through his duties as one of the multitude of lower level workers, until caught up in a scheme to change God’s mind and reverse Earth’s fate through the seemingly simple act of getting two people to fall in love.

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On second glance, this seems a perfect fit for the actor, who, with equal cheerfulness–and a healthy dose of self-avowed pessimism–has taken on the likes of Equus, The Woman in Black, Kill Your Darlings, Horns, Victor Frankenstein, Swiss Army Man, Jungle and Beast of Burden.

Part of the draw of Miracle Workers, then, is that Radcliffe relates to the balance of nihilism and “life-affirming” purposefulness struck by Rich. He told Den of Geek:

“When something that you feel deeply is genuinely being communicated through this show, it’s just a really exciting thing. That kind of cheerful pessimism is, I think, very much how I see the world as well…

“When we were talking early on, we talked about the respect and the esteem we hold people in who do get up every morning and say I’m going to change the world…For me, part of my brain goes’ that ship has probably sailed, right?’ All we can do is make each other’s lives better along the way as much as we can.”

In fact, Radcliffe revealed to The Daily Beast that he approached Rich for a role in the adaptation, eventually coming on as an executive producer as well. In that interview he continued to describe his attraction to the project, saying:

“If you saw a vision of heaven and it was run perfectly smoothly and everything was going well, you’d be left wondering, well what’s happening between that and earth to make everything go so wrong…Simon [Rich] wanted a heaven that was congruent with the way we experience the world.”

He does recognize, however, that the show, like other projects he’s taken on, may strike fans as odd. He reflected:

“I never think of [Rich’s humor] as bizarre…I just think the guy is amazingly funny. It was the same with Swiss Army Man. There comes a point when you spend so long with something that you forget that other people are going to think it’s crazy. Then when it comes out and people have that reaction, you’re like, oh right, yes, maybe I have a strange taste.”

But, if audiences are willing to give it a chance, they may find that Radcliffe’s brand of weird is extremely likeable. In his Daily Beast interview, this is notable, as he seemed to have an almost uncanny way of putting the interviewer at ease with his affability, taking all manner of questions in stride. Rich also noticed this in the actor and credits it as one of the positives of casting him:

“‘This is the character who in the first five minutes of the first episode basically sentences a dying man to death,’ Rich says. A prayer comes into Craig’s department from a man begging heaven to stop a pack of wolves from eating him. Craig takes his red stamp and stamps it ‘impossible.’ Then he smiles, satisfied with a job well done. ‘We need to love this character and root for him to succeed. It’s a very short list of actors who can stamp that prayer ‘impossible’ and still get you to like him.’”

Radcliffe’s openness and his willingness to engage in lighthearted exchange with the press have occasionally led to his comments being taken out of context or sensationalized, however.

Last month, Radcliffe answered questions about himself for WIRED in a 10-minute video, which featured several geek-out moments for diehard Harry Potter fans with questions such as “Which film is your favorite?”, “What is your Hogwarts house?” and “Why did you become an actor?” He also addressed the oft-repeated question about his resemblance to actor Elijah Wood and other standards about tattoos, his residence, his schooling and favorite sports teams.

In the course of this video (watch below!), Radcliffe also commented on the internet rumor that he would take over for Hugh Jackman as the iconic Wolverine. He joked:

“There’s going to be a new Wolverine movie, in which it starts off with Hugh Jackman being put into a hot wash and then when he comes out, it’s me. So yes, I’m very happy to announce that here.”

However, according to Digital Spy, Radcliffe has since been forced to comment on his comment and clear up the ensuing, and unfounded, online chatter, reportedly telling IGN:

“This is what happens when you make jokes…Wouldn’t it be great if you could just start casting yourself in things by just saying them in interviews?  

“So I guess people have been asking something about me and Wolverine, and I made a joke about [playing] Wolverine after being in a hot wash, like I’d been shrunk in a hot wash, and the internet seems to think that I was putting that out there on my dream board cosmic ordering system.” 

His Miracle Workers co-star Geraldine Viswanathan was on board for the hypothetical reboot, and Radcliffe hilariously quipped:

“A comedy where Wolverine has got tiny? And now I’m not as equipped to fight but I’m still really sharp? That would be great.”

Clearly, though Radcliffe has moved on from his wizarding days, his wit and charm are downright magical and, thankfully, he’s not beyond humoring fans with a return to those roots every now and then.

In February, Radcliffe appeared on an episode of 2 Dope Queens with hosts Jessica Williams, Fantastic Beasts’ Professor Eulalie Hicks, and Phoebe Robinson. In addition to the interview, they got him to participate in a bit of “silly wand-waving,” and the result is gold!

Finally, PopCrush reported that TV Guide persuaded Radcliffe to weigh in on the resilient buzz about re-imagining Harry Potter for television or theater sometime in the future. With characteristic straight-forwardness and good nature, he said:

“I don’t know at this point what would be gained by rebooting it for TV, but that’s not necessarily the goal, I suppose…I definitely think there will be another version of it within my lifetime. It will be interesting to see. At the moment those films have sort of a sacred varnish on them, but that will be worn away at some point… I’m just intrigued to see when that happens.”

We don’t see that “sacred varnish” wearing off any time soon, however, and we’re thrilled that Radcliffe so kindly, and regularly, reaches back into his wizarding past to give fans, even now, a hint of the magician. When it comes to successfully navigating his career, the press and devoted fans, it seems he may just be a miracle worker.

Watch the full premiere of Miracle Workers, which recently aired its fourth episode on TBS, below.



GIVEAWAY: $1000 (£800) of Classic Stills ‘Harry Potter’ Fine Art Prints!

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That’s right, folks. Prepare your vials of Felix Felicis, because thanks to Warner Bros and Classic Stills, we’re hosting our BIGGEST EVER giveaway this month…

Classic Stills are offering The Leaky Cauldron’s readers the chance to win $1000 (that’s £800) of Harry Potter fine art prints from their new collection, showcasing 25 of the best shots from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s (or Sorcerer’s) Stone!

As previously reported on Leaky, only 100 numbered prints of each photo are available in this limited-edition collection, featuring moments such as The Great Hall, The Golden Snitch, Gryffindor Wins the House Cup, Platform 9 and 3/4, and much more. Prices start at $149 / £125, so you can get a fair few prints with this prize!

This giveaway is open to readers from the U.S. and U.K. – check out instructions on how to enter below.

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U.S. readers: Enter our giveaway of $1000 of Classic Stills Harry Potter and the Sorcrer’s Stone fine art prints on the U.S. entry page HERE.

U.K. readers: Enter our giveaway of $1000 of Classic Stills Harry Potter and the Sorcrer’s Stone fine art prints on the U.K. entry page HERE.

The closing date for entries is March 31, 2019.

We’ll be announcing the winner here and on the Classic Stills website – stay posted!

Good luck, Potterheads! Read more about the collection in our original announcement, here.

 



‘Harry Potter’ Charities Rally Together for Global Virtual Run Event

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The Potterhead Running Club, formerly the Hogwarts Running Club, recently launched a very special virtual run event for Potter fans, bringing together several other Potter-inspired charities!

The Slug Club Armchair to 5k global event will see fans run five kilometers for three charities: The Protego Foundation, The Harry Potter Alliance and Transfiguring Adoption, all helping to make the muggle world a more magical place!

The Potterhead Running Club aims to change the world “one mile at a time”, and uses the power of online communities to bring together fans to fundraise for charity – as an added bonus, you also get a themed medal, and can order a shirt or download a running bib for the event. The suggested running date will be March 9th, the birthday of Sybill Trelawney, but signing up means you can complete your run whenever, wherever you’d like.

The medal for this event shows Slughorn in his armchair form (or “armchairimagus”, as the Potterhead Running Club puts it), complete with his conversational assessor / hourglass:

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Summaries of the three Potter charities are as follows:

“The HPA is a long time friend and together we’ve built a library in Uganda and helped train the next generation of Wizard Activists through the Granger Leadership Academy. Transfiguring Adoption uses the lessons from Harry Potter to develop media, resources, and tools that nurture growth in foster and adoptive children specifically focused on providing critical support to foster parents as they handle tough issues that many foster children face. Finally, the Protego Foundation is inspired by the wizarding world to fight for animal rights in the muggle/no-maj world. Our four organizations read the same seven books and each came away with a unique inspiration, but all have the same goal to make the world better.”

We’re all super excited at The Leaky Cauldron to see our favorite Potter charities banding together – don’t miss your chance to support them in their efforts to do the real-world work of Dumbledore’s Army! Register for the Slug Club Armchair to 5k here.



‘Harry Potter’ Director Alfonso Cuarón Wins Three Oscars For ‘Roma’


The Oscars took place last night in Los Angeles, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban director Alfonso Cuarón took home three Academy Awards for his black-and-white movie Roma, set in 1970s Mexico.

Accepting the award for Best Director from friend Guillermo del Toro, he paid tribute to domestic workers, and stressed the importance of telling the stories of those without rights.

“Thank you so much. Being here doesn’t get old. I hope Guillermo doesn’t get old. I want to thank so many people. Obviously, Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira. You are the film. They are truly the film.

The amazing cast and crew. Gabriela Rodríguez and Nicolás Celis, my producers. David Linde and Jonathan King at Participant Media. Ted Sarandos, Scott Stuber, Julie Fontaine at Netflix. Kelly Bush, BeBe Lerner at ID. Y Guillermo del Toro, Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu and Hillary Holmes.

Now, I have to say I’m going to get lost in a Bermuda Triangle here, so I better take my notes.

Oh, yeah, I want to thank the Academy for recognizing a film centered around an indigenous woman, one of the 70 million domestic workers in the world without work rights, a character that has historically been relegated in the background in cinema. As artists our job is to look where others don’t. This responsibility becomes much more important in times when we are being encouraged to look away.

Muchas gracias a Libo. Muchas gracias a mi familia. Muchas gracias, Mexico, y sobre todo muchas gracias Guillermo. Gracias, gracias, gracias.”

He also accepted the award for Best Foreign Language Film (Mexico), making a comical remark about being subtitled:

“Thank you. Am I going to get subtitled as well? Thank you, Yalitza. Thank you, Marina. Thank you, Gabriela, Nico, all the cast and crew. I grew up watching foreign language films and learning so much from them and being inspired. Films like “Citizen Kane,” “Jaws,” “Rashomon,” “The Godfather” and “Breathless”. When asked about in the book about the New Wave, Claude Chabrol said, “There are no waves, there’s only the ocean.” I think that the nominees tonight have proven that we are part of the same ocean. I want to thank my family, Mexico, [unintelligible] beach where the film comes from. And also to Olmo, Bu, Jonás, to be the current that pushes my drift. Thank you so much.”

Roma also won for Best Cinematography, and Cuarón took to the stage for another acceptance speech, explaining the intricacies of single frame filming:

“Thank you so much. This is an amazing honor. Thank you, Academy. To create a single frame of film, as you well know, requires the work of a lot of people, very hard work. So I want to thank Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira before anybody else. The amazing cast and crew, Gabriela Rodríguez and Nicolás Celis as producers, Participant and Netflix, Technicolor and Arri.

If this film was created by my own memories, the film was crafted through the memories of what this great master of cinematography has given to us. It is well-known that in Billy Wilder’s office there was a sign that said “What would Lubitsch have done?” And for me, it was what would “Chivo Lubezki would have done?” So this is for you, too, Chivo. And thank you very much, Mexico. My family and Jonás, Bu y Olmo. Love you guys.”

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Image: Mike Segar/Reuters

In a backstage Q&A, Cuarón discussed his work on the film and casting Yalitza Aparicio in the movie. He discussed the Oscar win for Best Director, and what it means to win an Academy Award for an indigenous movie:

“Fact of the matter, out of anything that I have ever done, this is the one that I expected the least.  This is not what you would call Oscar bait, you know?  In the paper, when you do it, and when you finish it, and when you try to put it together for distribution.  And so I’m thrilled that this has happened.  And most importantly, that audiences around the world and the Academy are embracing a character who is a domestic worker from an indigenous background.”

When asked about connections to his other movies, Cuarón said it was actually fans and journalists who made him aware of the themes of his work:

“I don’t really think so much about my films.  I know that thematically in terms of cinematic approach, they have a lot in common, but I would go farther back, probably to Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN, that they are kind of very connected.  But, yeah, I mean, I will tell you something.  The whole thematic of birth, I was not even aware that I had repeating of the films until you guys from    some of you guys from journalists and people from the press and critics mentioned that out.  So, yeah, I guess that there is a connection, but it’s more up to you to find it, I guess.  Thank you so much. “

He tells one reporter “I could not be here if it was not because of Mexico,” before discussing important dialogues about differences in cultures in Mexico City:

“I’m very pleased about that, as I said it before.  It is one of the things that’s been the most gratifying of the film.  It was not by design.  It was something that when I set up to do this film, I was just doing a personal story in the context that I believed it was a truthful story, a truthful context.  This conversation, I cannot be proud of because it’s a conversation that should have been    should have happened, I’m not saying years or decades, probably centuries ago.  And it’s a good thing that it is happening, but it’s very, very late in the game. “

Another win of the night featured the voice of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald‘s Leta Lestrange, Zoe Kravitz. Spiderman: Into the SpiderVerse won the award for Best Animated Feature.

Last year’s Academy Award Best Actor winner, Gary Oldman (also Harry Potter‘s Sirius Black), also helped present the award at this year’s ceremony:

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Join us in congratulating Cuarón on three of ten Oscars, and continued success on his movie! Let us know if you’ve seen Roma, and what you thought of the movie!