To celebrate the 15th anniversary of Harry Potter settling down in the United States and taking up permanent residence in our hearts, Scholastic has enlisted the help of author/illustrator Kazu Kibuishi to create new covers for the trade paperback editions of the series, which will be rereleased in September. On Wednesday, Kibuishi's design for the first in the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, was revealed (pictured above).
Scholastic assures readers that we have not seen the last of artist Mary GrandPré's original illustrations; those will remain on the hardcover and smaller digest paperback versions of the books. Ellie Berger, President of Scholastic Trade Publishing, says in a press release, "The brilliant artist Kazu Kibuishi offers his unique vision of the world of Harry Potter, making each cover an incredible adventure that will transport new readers just discovering Harry Potter for the first time directly into the rich world of J.K. Rowling's imagination."
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Hollywood.com spoke with Kibuishi on Wednesday about his new vision for J. K. Rowling's indelible story as well as his future plans for Amulet, his graphic novel series for young adults.
Hollywood.com: Congratulations, first of all!
Kazu Kibuishi: Thank you! It's really exciting!
How did it come about?
The short story is that David Saylor, the Creative Director who was in charge of Harry Potter back when it was originally released by Scholastic, is also my Creative Director on Amulet. And in passing, he just asked me if I would be interested in trying out for this project. Initially I was hesitant. To be honest, I just didn't — I was kind of curmudgeonly a fan of Harry Potter, thinking, "Well they don't need new covers! The Mary GrandPré covers are fantastic! I love them!" But then I understood what they were looking to do, and that was reintroduce the series, the way we see it in hindsight, to a new generation of readers. When I realized that's what they were looking to do, I got a little bit more excited, and we did submit some samples that they really liked.
Did you have kind of a mission statement for yourself in terms of what you wanted to bring to it?
I wanted to approach it like an art historian/designer and illustrator. And sort of, I think especially the first cover embodies that approach because, in a way, it is like fan art of the original book, but done through the prism of fan arts for classic literature, such as Great Expectations or A Christmas Carol. And that was really the way I looked at the first book. Actually, it all dawned on me when I looked at a cover for a Perennial Classics reissue of Treasure Island. I looked at that and I thought, "This was new one day. A long time ago, this was what kids would read and get really, really excited about." You know, they would read Treasure Island and want to go on this adventure. And I thought, well that's what happened here with Harry Potter. This is one of our Treasure Islands. And I wanted to approach the covers by looking at the series in that way.
You mentioned having a great respect for Mary GrandPré's work. Did you talk to her at all before you began? Or have you spoken to her since?
No, actually. I had no communication with any of the creators. It made it nerve-wracking! I suppose it was liberating in that I was able to just create in a vacuum and do what I thought was right. And to David's credit, he gave me a lot of freedom to do what I wanted; he trusted me a lot.
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We haven't been given a look inside the new addition yet. Do you know if GrandPré's original illustrations remain? Or will you be doing new ones?
I don't know what they've decided to do about the interiors yet. That is a discussion that's been parked. As far as I know, the illustrations are in tact and will be there.
Well, I feel like if they do keep the original illustrations, your cover compliments them. It's not like it's a completely different vision.
Right. I did want to incorporate a little bit of the whimsy that I feel GrandPré's illustrations convey. And I tried to thread it through the imagery. And hopefully it'll come across, especially the later covers.
I'm curious about your vision of Harry and of the other characters. How much of that is how you pictured him while you were reading, and how much of it came from GrandPré's illustrations or the movies?
Huh. Good question! I didn't really think about that! I feel that Harry Potter is, himself, he is… all of us. So, in that way, he is such an iconic character, I think we all feel like we know what he should at least feel like when he is illustrated, and I didn't really give it a second thought. I really didn't think about it too much. I just drew him and I said, "Well, that's Harry." I really came to it in that way — but it's a good question! Because we have Daniel Radcliffe and we have all these iterations of illustrated Harry Potter. It just came naturally. I think we all just think about his glasses! It comes down to that; it's a pair of glasses that is walking through the world, and we are seeing the world through that pair of glasses.
Did you have any say in keeping the title font?
Oh yeah, that's going to stay the same. That was already decided upon before I came onto the project. That is the logo. There was no way I was going to touch that.
So, in the midst of all the Harry craziness, you still have a sixth Amulet volume coming out this September?
It's actually been delayed until the following spring. That's not coming out this year, unfortunately, but it is coming out in early 2014.
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Do you have more in the works following the sixth volume?
And what can you tell me about the Amulet movie?
Oh, the Amulet movie. I know nothing about it! I know about as much as you do. It's sort of just been parked, I think. I feel like Will Smith and his kids are already busy on a lot of projects, and this is a challenging project to take on. It's quick a commitment, because if it works out, and it very likely could, then they'll be committed to quite a few projects. I don't blame them at all for being hesitant.
How do you feel about a screen adaptation of your work? Are you excited about it?
Amulet on screen? I don't know. I don't think about it so much any more. I used to, because I'm a real film nerd, and I went to film school, and I thought I was going to be a director. That part of me has kind of washed away a bit. If they make a movie, then great. I mean, I'm curious. More than anything I'm curious, and I'll be a little concerned, but hopefully I'll just be relieved. That's my hope: I hope I'm just relieved. Actually, my greatest hope would be that I'm inspired. That would be fantastic. That would absolutely wonderful.
Follow Abbey on Twitter @AbbeyStone
[Photo Credit: Scholastic (2)]
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If you were hoping to find out what the new movie and 2013 Sundance Film Festival premiere Upstream Color is about, the first trailer for the film, director Shane Carruth's follow-up to his 2004 indie breakout Primer, is probably not the place too look. Although gorgeous, the trailer reveals almost nothing about the plot other than the fact that Upstream Color is a movie with people in it, and it might make you long for a cold, sunny winter day.
Here's what we do know, however: Carruth has kept a low profile since his ultra-low-budget 2004 Sundance hit, which he directed, wrote, produced, starred in, edited — he was also the cinematographer and composed his own music. According to the Los Angeles Times, Carruth plays those roles again in Upstream Color. "In the movie, a young woman (Amy Seimetz) is abducted and seemingly brainwashed via an organic material harvested from a specific flower. She later meets a man (Carruth) and after the two fall for each other, they come to realize he may also have been subjected to the same process," the Times writes of the movie's plot.
What can we learn from the trailer? Upstream Color has the same quiet, low-fi vibe as the time-travel-oriented Primer — and appears to be just as confusing. Or, as the LA Times puts it, "densely layered." Carruth tells the paper that he hopes people will keep an open mind when watching his new movie nearly a decade after he first broke out. "What I don't want is this whole concept of it being a puzzle movie or Primer being a puzzle movie," Carruth told the Times. "That's not a fun little box to be in."
Check out the trailer and judge for yourself. Upstream Color premieres at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, and will debut in New York in April before hitting digital and cable platforms.
Follow Jean on Twitter @hijean
[PHOTO CREDIT: ERBP]
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I was sold on Rian Johnson's filmmaking abilities as soon as I saw Brick, his 2005 neo-noir that starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a high school PI investigating the mysterious death of his ex-girlfriend. The speedy deliver of the whip-smart dialogue was nothing short of amazing and much credit must go to Johnson, who scripted the picture as well. As soon as I heard he'd be reuniting with JGL on Looper, his biggest film to date, I was ecstatic. The addition of performers like Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt and Paul Dano only strengthened my confidence in the promising project and now there's even more reason to be excited as Variety reports that a handful of talents have just signed up for the film.
According to the source, Piper Perabo, Jeff Daniels and Noah Segan have joined the cast of the science fiction actioner, which centers on a group of killers who send bodies of their victims back in time, with China as the centerpiece of the storyline. Ram Bergman, who produced both of Johnson's past works, is back in the fold as is Endgame Entertainment's James D. Stern, who financed and produced the directors 2008 film The Brothers Bloom.
We won't see Looper until sometime in 2012 as it gears up to shoot by the end of this month, but if I could buy my ticket today, I would. This is going to be one of the smarter sci-fi films in recent memory, especially since Primer's Shane Carruth has signed up to design the time travel special effects for the project. If you missed that cerebral piece of cinema, you need to head back to 2004 so you can say you saw it in its....prime. Sorry, it was too easy...
The Sundance Film Festival, which is backed by actor Robert Redford and his Sundance Institute for movies, comes to an end today in Park City, Utah. Saturday night's awards ceremony saw the sci-fi drama Primer, win the top grand jury prize, while the jurors awarded DIG! the top prize in the documentary category. Debra Granik took the dramatic directing award for Down to the Bone, about a lower-middle-class wife and mother's struggles with cocaine addiction.
Many celebs have attended the festival since it kicked off 11 days ago, including Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, David Arquette, Courteney Cox, Kevin Bacon and Jane Fonda. And while the stars littered the streets of the snowy mountain town, studios were busy making acquisitions.
Among the purchases this week were the The Woodsman, starring Kevin Bacon, for Newmarket Films; Garden State for Miramax Films and Fox Searchlight; and CSA: Confederate Sates of America for IFC Films.
Warner Independent Pictures, the new indie arm of Warner Bros., acquired We Don't Live Here Anymore, a drama about two couples whose marriages are on the rocks. The film stars Naomi Watts, Mark Ruffalo, Laura Dern and Peter Krause.
But despite their success at Sundance, films that win the festival's top awards have a difficult time finding broad audiences and, more often than not, become the year's most talked-about art-house titles rather than box office hits.
Of course, the ultimate Sundance success story to date has to be that of Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez's The Blair Witch Project. The film cost about $25,000 to make, was acquired by Artisan Entertainment for a cool $1 million and raked in $140 million at the box office. But when it debuted at Sundance in 1999, Blair Witch never won a single prize. In fact, it wasn't even in competition.
That said, it is nearly impossible to predict a film's success, or failure, outside the festival grounds. But films such as November, starring the well-known Courteney Cox, are sure to garner buzz.
First-timer Jason Wishnow, whose pic Oedipus stars vegetables instead of actors, told Reuters Sunday that more than anything, the festival is about exposure.
"The goal is getting [the work] out to find agents, producers or someone who will take you to the next level," he said.
The top winners in the independent film festival screen for one last time today.
Here is a complete list of winners:
Dramatic Grand Jury Prize: Primer, directed, written, and produced by Shane Carruth
Documentary Grand Jury Prize: DIG!, directed and produced by Ondi Timoner
Documentary Audience Award: Born Into Brothels, directed by Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski
Dramatic Audience Award: Maria Full of Grace, directed by Joshua Marston
Documentary Directing Award: Morgan Spurlock , Super Size Me
Dramatic Directing Award: Debra Granik, Down To the Bone
World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award: Seducing Doctor Lewis, directed by Jean-François Pouliot
Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: Larry Gross, We Don't Live Here Anymore
Documentary Special Jury Prize: Farmingville, directed by Catherine Tambini and Carlos Sandoval
Dramatic Special Jury Prizes: Brother to Brother, directed by Rodney Evans; and Vera Farmiga for her performance in Down To the Bone
World Cinema Documentary Audience Award: The Corporation, directed by Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott
Excellence in Cinematography Award: Ferne Pearlstein, Imelda from the documentary competition; Nancy Schreiber, November from the dramatic competition
Freedom of Expression Award: Repatriation, directed by Dong-won Kim
Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking: When the Storm Came, directed by Shilpi Gupta; and Gowanus, Brooklyn, directed by Ryan Fleck
Jury Prize in International Short Filmmaking: Tomo, directed by Paul Catling
Honorable Mentions in Short Filmmaking: Curtis, directed by Jacob Akira Okada; Harvie Krumpet, directed by Adam Elliot; Krumoed, directed by David LaChapelle; Papillion d'Amour, directed by Nicholas Provost; and Spokane, directed by Larry Kennar
2004 Sundance Online Film Festival Viewers Awards: Bathtime in Clerkenwell, directed by Alex Budovsky (Animation); Wet Dreams False Images, directed by Jesse Epstein (Short Subject); and The Dawn at my Back: Memoir of a Texas Upbringing, directed by Carroll Parrott Blue and Kristy H.A. Kang (New Forms Gallery)
Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award: Gyorgy Palfi, Taxidermia from Europe; Andrucha Waddington, House of Sand from Latin America; Miranda July, Me You and Everyone We Know from the United States. Kosuke Hosokaim, director of Tepid Love from Japan received an honorable mention