Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling was reunited with the female star of her magical movies, Emma Watson, at a huge fundraiser for her children's charity over the weekend (09-10Nov13). The British author has founded Lumos, an organisation which aims to help kids living in institutions across the world.
After donating almost $37.5 million (£25 million) of her personal fortune to the cause, Rowling threw a huge gala event at the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Tour attraction in Hertfordshire, England on Saturday (09Nov13).
Watson, who played Hermione Granger in the films, joined Rowling at the bash, alongside fellow castmember Evanna Lynch and fashion designer Stella McCartney.
After the event, the author took to Twitter.com to thank her generous guests for helping to raise $1.5 million (£1 million) for the charity, writing, "Fantastic that we raised over £1M at (the) Lumos fundraiser - going directly towards ending the institutionalisation of children."
All proceeds from her recent Harry Potter spin-off book, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, will also go to Lumos.
Harry Potter star Evanna Lynch is to play illusionist Harry Houdini's wife in a new Dublin, Ireland play. The actress, who played Luna Lovegood in the Potter movie franchise, will team up with British actors Jamie Nichols and Stuart Brennan onstage at the Gaiety Theatre next month (Oct13).
The 22 year old tells the Irish Independent that it will be a "strange" making her stage debut at a theatre she has always loved.
She says, "Theatre was always something that's been in the back of my mind and my parents were really keen for me to do it; so the little girl in me just wants to make them happy. I've been to the Gaiety plenty of times, since I was five years of age, so it will be a bit strange to be up there, on the other side of things, actually on stage. But I'm looking forward to it and it's definitely something I'd like to do more of."
Harry Potter stars Gary Oldman and Evanna Lynch are teaming up on the big screen again for gritty crime thriller Monster Butler.
Irish actress Lynch, who played dreamy Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter films, also joins British stars Malcolm McDowell, Joanne Whalley and Dominic Monaghan in the indie film, which chronicles the life of real-life jewel thief-turned-serial killer Roy Fontaine, aka Archibald Hall.
McDowell will portray the villain.
Filming begins later this week (ends10Jun12) in Scotland, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
"People laugh when I say this but I would love to play Britney Spears in a movie. She's complicated and I just relate to her... Britney is rich and cool and beautiful, but has also shown her vulnerable side and had a breakdown in front of the whole world. That takes strength and bravery to do that. I just think she's more complicated than people think." Harry Potter star Evanna Lynch on her dream role.
The actor visited Leavesden Studios with former Potter co-stars Rupert Grint, Warwick Davis and Evanna Lynch to check out the Making of Harry Potter exhibit before its official opening on Saturday (31Mar12).
The attraction features a creature workshop, a triple-decker bus and sets used in the eight-film series, including the Great Hall and Professor Dumbledore's lavish office.
And Felton, who played Draco Malfoy in the films, admits his trip down memory lane made him rather teary.
He tells U.K. talk show Daybreak, "I won't lie, it got pretty emotional yesterday. I walked through the Great Hall for the first time in three or four years. It hit me like a ton of bricks, to be honest with you. It's a house of many treasured memories. It all came back to me rather quickly...
"We were asking for years for wands, for broomsticks and they denied us - but with good reason. This is the reason they said no because everything is here. Everyone's wand, everyone's broomstick. It's quite a marvel how much stuff they managed to keep."
Grint, who played Harry Potter's pal Ron Weasley for 10 years, adds, "Leavesden Studios is such a special place, I grew up here, I went to school here. It's so great to see people going around the attraction and getting so excited."
Previously on Harry Potter: Big bad Voldemort steals the Elder Wand from Dumbledore's grave while Harry mourns the loss of his wee elf friend Dobby and begins his search for the remaining Horcruxes.
If that recap leaves you with hazy memories of last year's Deathly Hallows - Part 1 you may want to pop in the DVD before taking on the Harry Potter franchise's grand finale Deathly Hallows - Part 2. The eighth film in the series doesn't pull any punches demanding your knowledge of the saga's previous events and crescendoing off a foundation of character and connection built over a decade of cinematic excursions. That's not a fault -- Deathly Hallows - Part 2 serves hardcore fans and dedicated patrons of the franchise alike bouncing elegantly back and forth between explosive action and emotional conclusions. At this point that's what matters.
Whereas Deathly Hallows - Part 1 took Harry Hermione and Ron on a gritty race through the real world Part 2 brings the trio back to their home base Hogwarts School of Magic and Child Death where their colleagues and professors find themselves defending it against the empowered Voldemort and his band of Death Eaters. Similarly to Transformers: Dark of the Moon Deathly Hallows - Part 2 spends most of its run time following various established characters as they navigate the epic battle. Unlike the clunky erratic action of TF3 director David Yates manages to execute the sequences in Potter with bravado making sure we give a damn every time Potter discovers a secret from the past blows a Death Eater out a window or glances upon one of his closest friends lying dead on the floor.
For all its otherworldliness Potter is and always has been a human story one that puts its characters before spectacle. But when Yates and his team of FX wizards do unleash their bag of spells on the screen they do it with a very BIG bang. Deathly Hallows - Part 2's scope is on par with the Lord of the Rings trilogy bringing everything from trolls to spiders to animate statues into the wizards' massive assault. The franchise hasn't seen action on this scale before but Yates never misses a beat or opportunity to dazzle with visual eye candy. Turning the crumbling of Hogwarts castle into a riveting poignant experience -- true magic.
Once again Daniel Radcliffe Emma Watson Rupert Grint and a cast of veteran British thespians deliver the necessary gravitas to anchor Potter's fantastical elements in reality. With everything finally on the line in Deathly Hallows - Part 2 each performance is at its best and Radcliffe steps up to the plate to make his final showdown with Voldemort one to remember. He spends most of the movie covered in dirt encrusted blood on his face and a harrowing sense of death behind his eyes. Heavy material but Radcliffe pulls it off.
Few franchises have the chance that Harry Potter has been fortunate enough to receive to follow the same familiar faces through years of ever-complicating story. Thankfully Deathly Hallows - Part 2 doesn't squander the opportunity. The saga swells with a triumphant final act one that never forgets why people love the movies in the first place. The adventure the awe the comedy the thrills the people the places the things -- those are the elements that make Harry Potter grand and they return in perfect form once more to say good-bye.
While nearly every actor in England turned out for a role in the Harry Potter series, the majority of the film focused on a group of young, unknown actors. With a decade's worth of fantasy blockbusters under their belts and the final installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 exploding into theaters this Friday, here's a look at what’s in store for the soon-to-be Hogwarts graduates:
Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter)
The star of the Harry Potter series, Radcliffe is the actor most assured of future success. The twenty-two year old broke the typecasting boundary with his surprising turn in the play Eqqus in 2008, and is proving his Broadway chops again with his leading role in the Tony-winning How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Radcliffe is already set to appear in some post-Potter films, including the upcoming supernatural thriller The Woman In Black, and indie comedy The Amateur Photographer. We’re not worried about Radcliffe succumbing to the Mark Hamill Curse, an actor who never quite took off post-Star Wars (although, he's certainly getting plenty of work as one of my favorite voice actors).
Emma Watson (Hermione Granger)
The leading lady of the Potter films, Emma Watson has been keeping busy. The only member of the main trio to continue school, Watson has been attending Brown University in the US and acting part-time. The young actor is set to start filming The Perks of Being a Wallflower this summer, and will appear in My Week With Marilyn, due out this November. Watson has also parleyed her acting success into the world of fashion, partnering with Burbury in 2009 to model for their Autumn/Winter catalogue. She also worked as a creative advisor for a line of clothing with People Tree. It’s probable that Watson is on her way to becoming a fashion icon.
Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley)
Something of the dark horse of the trio, Rupert Grint hasn’t had as much success outside the world of Harry Potter as his co-stars. Still, the actor has had a number of roles in small independent films, including Cherrybomb, Wild Target and Driving Lessons. Grint is set to make his post-Potter premiere as the lead in Norwegian independent film Comrade, due out in 2012. We hope that the actor’s red-headed charisma will pull him through.
Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy)
Tom Felton may have made it big playing smug, jerk-face Draco Malfoy, but the actor actually came into the series with more experience than any of the other child actors. From the looks of it, he’s planning on maintaining that workload post-Potter -- he’s currently cast in five films in different stages of production. His next is this summer's Rise of the Planet of the Apes, in which he plays another Draco-like villain. We’re not sure yet if Felton has the charm to pull off a heroic lead on his own, but at the very least, there’s plenty of demand for sneering villains. At least, until that guy who plays Joffrey on Games of Thrones grows up and starts providing competition.
Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley)
Wright is one of the youngest of the Potter bunch, but she’s keeping up with the best of them. Currently a film student at the University of London, the former Weasley plans to continue acting. At the moment, Wright is filming the mind-bending thriller The Philosophers in Jakarta, and will appear in a short film in the upcoming Geography of the Hapless Heart. She has also followed in Emma Watson’s footsteps, gaining a reputation as a fashionista and taking part in Katie Eary’s show during London Fashion Week. Wright has one heck of a souveneer to take away from the Potter set- she’s currently engaged to co-star Jamie Campbell Bower, who plays the younger version of Grindelwald in the seventh and eighth films.
Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom)
Like Daniel Radcliffe, Matthew Lewis made a transition to stage after finishing the last film. Lewis recently finished his role in a touring production of Agatha Cristie’s Verdict, and also wrapped up filming on upcoming independent film The Sweet Shop, described as a “romantic comedy with a twist.” Along with his acting career, Lewis is a member of small indie rock band The Transmission, in which he plays guitar. Where ever the rest of his career takes him, I hope he won’t have to wear fake teeth and ear extenders anymore.
Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood)
Evanna Lynch was a relatively recent addition to the Potter cast, but she’s made a big impression. A huge Harry Potter fan herself, Lynch has remained active with the fan community, working with the Harry Potter alliance on behalf of gay rights. While the actress has no current projects in the works, she plans to return to acting after she finishes college, and perhaps explore the stage.
The Irish actress struggled with the eating disorder for two years from the age of 11 and and wrote to Rowling to thank her for the wizard books, which gave her "hope".
The writer sent letters of advice back - and she even encouraged Lynch to overcome her eating issues to land the role of Luna Lovegood in the movie franchise.
Lynch tells Britain's The Sun, "I told her the books gave me hope, particularly Luna Lovegood. I told how I looked up to her. She wrote back and was like a counsellor.
"She told me anorexia is destructive, not creative, and the brave thing was not to succumb to it. I told her I'd love to be in the films and she encouraged that but said I'd need to be well to do so. In the end I think that's why I recovered."
Perhaps Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows should have been a trilogy. Splitting the sprawling finale to author J.K. Rowling’s boy wizard saga into three parts — as opposed to its chosen two-part incarnation — might have come across as shameless profiteering (admittedly a not-uncommon practice in this town) but it wouldn’t have been without merit. At 759 pages Rowling’s source novel is said to be a rather dense work plot-wise; surely it could have easily warranted another installment?
I only say this because Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 though certainly a decent film clearly strains from the effort required to fit the book’s proceedings into a two-act structure. While Part 2 slated to open approximately six months from now is alotted the story's meaty parts — namely the spectacular Battle of Hogwarts and its emotional denouement — Part 1 must bear the burden of setting the stage for the grand confrontation between the forces of Light and Dark magic and framing the predicament of its three protagonists teen wizards Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) in suitably dire terms. And it's quite a heavy burden indeed.
As the film opens the evil Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) having assumed control over Hogwarts since the events of the preceding film Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has wasted no time in initiating his reign of terror. As far as historical evil-dictator analogues are concerned Voldemort appears partial to the blueprint laid by Stalin as opposed to that of his genocidal pact-pal Hitler. Enemies of the Dark Lord's regime are prosecuted in dramatic show trials presided over by the Grand Inquisitor Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) while muggles (non-magic folk) and half-bloods are denounced as "undesirables" and “mudbloods” in Soviet-style propaganda posters and forced to register with the authorities.
As the only viable threat to Voldemort’s dominion Harry and his allies are hunted vigorously by Bellatrix LeStrange (Helena Bonham Carter) and her goon squad of Death Eaters. The Boy Who Lived now fully grown and in more or less complete command of his powers is still no match England's nasally scourge. Labeled "Undesirable No. 1" by the Gestapo-like Ministry of Magic he's is forced to go on the lam where he labors along with Ron and Hermione to solve the riddle of Voldemort’s immortality.
For those not well-versed in Rowling’s source material the film’s opening act is a frustrating blur: After an all-too-brisk update on the bleak state of affairs in Hogwarts we are hastily introduced (or re-introduced) to a dozen or so characters the majority of whom are never seen again. A few even perish off-screen. Had we gotten a chance to get to know them we might be able to mourn them as our heroes do; instead we’re left racking our brains trying to recall who they were and how they figured in the plot.
Rowling's flaws as a storyteller — the over-reliance on deus ex machina devices (in this case we get both a doe ex machina and a Dobby ex machina) the ponderous downloads of information (not unlike those of that other uber-anticipated and somewhat overrated 2010 tentpole Inception) the annoying ability of characters to simply teleport (or "disapparate") away from danger etc. — are more evident in this film than in previous chapters. And rather than obscure these flaws director David Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves both franchise veterans arguably amplify them.
What saves the film are Rowling's three greatest achievements: Harry Ron and Hermione who along with the actors who play them have evolved beyond the material. The film's narrative gains its emotional footing during the heroic threesome's exile ostensibly a series of camping trips — with tents and everything — during which they reflect on their journey together the challenge that awaits them and the sacrifices it will require. Though they occasionally verge on tedious these excursions into Gethsemane allow us precious quality time with these characters that we've grown to adore over the course of seven films even if the plaintive air is spoiled a bit by some rather puzzling attempts at product placement. In their rush to flee the Dementors and Death Eaters it seems that they at least took care to pack the latest in fall fashion:
As devout readers of Rowling's novels know all too well the only foolproof shield against Voldemort's minions is the Bananicus Republicum charm.