Dan Folger Cast in “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”

Warner Bros. announced recently that Tony Award winner Dan Folger will be joining the cast of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” alongsideEddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Ezra Miller and Alison Sudol. Folger will be playing Jacob, a non-magical character (no word on whether Jacob will be a muggle or a squib) that Scamander befriends during his adventures in New York.

Folger is known for his Tony Award winning performance inThe 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, as well as appearing in Balls of Fury, The Good Wife, The Goldbergs and Hannibal. He also did voice work in Horton Hears A Who and Kung Fu Panda.

Source: Deadline

Image by Nerdist.

Katherine Waterston Joins “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”

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Left “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (Bloomsbury Publishing), Right Katherine Waterston (Photo by New Cinema)

Newt Scamander finally has his counterpart in the upcoming Harry Potter spin-off “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” Warner Bros. announced June 15 that Katherine Waterston will play the role of Tina, or Porpentina, a witch who resides in the U.S.. Porpentina meets Newt Scamander, played by Eddie Redmayne, in New York during his exhibition to locate and document the world’s magical creatures. Porpentina is described as “grounded” and will be Newt’s love interest SPOILER ALERT and later his wife.

Harry Potter fans have been going nuts over the film ever since it was announced that J.K. Rowling herself would be penning the script back in 2013. There is little known about the actual plot except that it will focus on Hufflepuff Newt Scamander’s journey as he travels the world writing his magizoology book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them which would become a required textbook in Hogwarts. J.K. Rowling wrote the actual textbook for the charity Comic Relief in 2001. At least part of the film will take place in the U.S., specifically New York, and there will be at least a mention of an American wizarding school. It will take place 70 years before Harry’s journey. David Yates will return to direct the film and it will be produced by David Heyman, J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter screenwriter Steven Kloves and Lionel Wigram.

Waterston is known best for her roles in Boardwalk Empire where she played Emma Harrow and Inherent Vice as Shasta Fay Hepworth. The British actress is also known for her roles in The Babysitters, Micheal Clayton and Robot and Frank. She will be playing Christian Brennan in Steve Jobs directed by Danny Boyle.

There is no further casting news as of yet, but Rowling reported on Twitter that she “couldn’t be happier” with Waterston as Porpentina.

Feature image by New Cinema. Book cover by Bloomsbury Publishing.

Harry Potter Alliance Launches “Fan Works Are Fair Use” Campaign

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Perhaps one of the best parts of a fandom is its fan created content. Whether it be fan art, fan fiction, videos, music or other creations, fan content is a giant aspect of any pop culture community. Look on fanfiction.net or (more recommended) archiveofourown.org and one will find fan fiction spanning longer than some novels. Thousands of fan artists share their work on DeviantArt, Tumblr, Facebook and other websites and some even make a living off of fandom related commissions. Musicians like Harry and the Potters and Kristina Horner play fandom inspired songs at sold out concerts across the world. While this type of content frequently gets a bad rap, the creativity and dedication that goes into it is astonishing with even the original content creators in awe of their fans’ creations. Supernatural star Misha Collins even created the international scavenger hunt Gishwhes after he was inspired by his fans’ creativity.

However, the copyright legality of fan created content has always been a little bit of a grey area. While many original content creators are flattered by these creations and even encourage their fans to make it, others are not so enthused. Recently the beloved “Adult Wednesday Adams” web series by Melissa Hunter was taken down due to copyright infringement. While this series isn’t any different from other fan created videos that still remain on YouTube, the Tee & Charles Addams Foundation demanded it be taken down. The rules about whether fans can share their creations without legal action or not seem to be dependent on how much the original creators care about what their fans are doing. The Harry Potter Alliance, long time fan activist organization, wants to change this. 

“We believe that fan works provide tremendous value to the people who create and enjoy them,” says Fan Works Are Fair Use, the HPA sponsored group that is hoping to protect fan created content by making sure “any upcoming copyright and trademark laws are ones that protect and support [fans] reimagining of beloved stories.” With Net Neutrality still a frightening topic at large, fan work could be next on the chopping block. Their slogan “Creativity is not privately ownable” makes the argument that the hard work and imagination that goes into fan work is something that should be encourage, not squander with legal action. Creating content like this allows fans to further explore their favorite stories even after the final page is turned or the last episode airs. It also creates an environment in which creators can hone their craft. Even famous creators like The Mortal Instruments series author Cassandra Clare started out writing fan fiction. “Beloved universes and characters are reshaped through the lens of individual perspective, allowing writers and artists to hone their craft in a familiar, meaningful setting,” says FWAFU.

Fan Works are Fair Use team
Fan Works are Fair Use team

The project even makes the argument that fan works helps the original content creator. “While fan works obviously do not alter the original works, they do help shape and energize the culture that surrounds popular narratives. That energy helps to perpetuate the presence of the original work in the cultural zeitgeist, ultimately leading to more enthusiasm, passion, and (of course) sales.” Many fans would never have gotten into their now favorite fandoms if it weren’t for the astonishingly creative content that kept popping up on their social media platforms. The more people who get into a franchise, the more money that franchise makes. Fan works are like free advertisement, but user created and much more entertaining. 

While there is no word yet on how FWAFU plans to protect fan content, the group is currently gathering its forces through a sign up sheet on their website. They are also leading a hashtag campaign to remove the stigma around fan work and prove how it can be beneficial. “Maybe a fic about Peeta’s delicious baked goods helped you imagine Katniss’s life after the Hunger Games, or perhaps a race-bent Hermione helped you picture a wizarding world that better reflects your own. Maybe you’re an artist who mastered brushwork doing Steven Universe sketches, or a writer who sharpened your skills penning stories about a young Kirk and Spock. Whatever your story, we want to know: what do fanworks mean to you?” asked the HPA in a recent subscribers email. Fans are encouraged to share their experience with fan work on social media with the hashtag #FanWorksTaughtMe. Some examples the group gives are “#FanWorksTaughtMe to think critically about my identity and how that is (or isn’t) reflected in the media,” and “#FanWorksTaughtMe how to play piano so I could make songs about my favorite books.” Tweets from around the globe are already rolling in.

You can find out more about this campaign at fanworksarefairuse.org.

Photos by The Harry Potter Alliance and Fan Works Are Fair Use. Video by Kristina Horner.

 

 

Dumbledore and Gandalf to Marry Opposite Westboro Baptist Church

Gay geeks rejoice! Dumbledore and Gandalf are officially getting married! Or at least, their look-a-likes are. After the legalization of gay marriage in Ireland, JK Rowling tweeted, “Sitting here watching the Irish make history. Extraordinary and wonderful.” Not soon after a fan and Rowling came to the conclusion that Dumbledore and Gandalf could indeed get married in the country.

This sparked a response from the Westboro Baptist Church, who tweeted Rowling, telling her they would picket any wizard wedding that may occur. The writer’s response was golden. “Alas, the sheer awesomeness of such a union in such a place would blow your tiny bigoted minds out of your thick sloping skulls.”

Now it seems that this OTP is becoming canon, as the LGBTQ rights activist group Planting Peace will be holding a fake wedding on their rainbow painted “Equality House” property just across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church this Sunday, June 7 at 2pm. “We are delighted to be hosting the Dumbledore and Gandalf wedding and stand with them in the face of bigotry and celebrate equality for all,” said Planting Peace President Aaron Jackson to the Huffington Post. Since WBC wants to picket the wedding, Planting Peace decided to “bring the wedding to them, the real-life Mordor.” All the church will have to do to witness the ceremony is look out its window.

The Equality House was created in 2013 when Planting Peace bought and painted the house in Topeka, KS to send a message to the WBC. “[The Equality House] serves as the resource center for all Planting Peace human rights and bully prevention initiatives and stands as a visual reminder of our commitment, as global citizens, to equality for all,” says Planting Peace.

Dumbledore and Gandalf will be played by local actors that Planting Peace intends to hire. There’s no word yet who will officiate the wedding, but my hope is for The Doctor himself. The organization is using this event to fundraise both online and—presumably— at the ceremony. At news time, the campaign has raised $755 for their peace spreading cause.

Get ready to party, Dumbledalf shippers! It’s officially canon!

Featured image by Planting Peace. GIF by Warner Bros.

Eddie Redmayne is Officially Newt Scamander

After a few months of being on the rumor mill, Eddie Redmayne (Les MiserablesThe Theory of Everything) has been officially cast as Newt Scamander in the film adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Eddie Redmayne

The movie will follow Scamander on his adventures locating the Fantastic Beasts for his book that eventually becomes text for Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Fred Weasley, and other Hogwarts students.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is set to release in theaters November 18th, 2016.

Source: THR

Horns Movie Review

Genre – Horror/Fantasy, Drama, Book to movie adaptation

Director – Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes)

Cast – Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, Max Minghella, Joe Anderson, Kelli Garner, Michael Adamthwaite

Alluring element – Daniel Radcliffe officially shaking off the remains of Harry Potter and turning into a devil, both literally and figuratively to avenge the murder of his girlfriend. I’m so in.

 

Scorecard:
Plot – 8
Acting – 10
Representation of Genre – 6
Cinematography – 9
Effects/Environment – 8
Captivity – 7
Logical consistency – 7
Originality/Creativity – 9
Soundtrack/Music – 8
Overall awesomeness – 8
 
 

I think the only fair way to start my review of Horns is with a disclaimer. Well, two disclaimers really. First, I read the book Horns and thoroughly enjoyed it, but because of that I spent a lot of time watching the movie waiting for elements of the book to appear, and then trying to figure out if I liked the book or the movie. Or both. Second, I love Daniel Radcliffe. LOVE HIM. To me, he can do no wrong. However, I worked really hard to separate myself from that so I can give Horns a fair review. So, with that being said, I’ll get to it.

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Horns is the story of Iggy Perish (Daniel Radcliffe) and his journey to find the person who killed the girl he loves. All the while he is the number one suspect and, for whatever reason, he woke up one morning with horns growing out of his head a la Satan. Of course the horns are not merely cosmetic, they cause the people Iggy comes in contact with to reveal their most horrible truths to him, as well as their darkest secrets and desires and then ask his permission to act on them. And naturally they give Ig the inclination to give in to his more evil urges as well which enables him to find his beloved’s killer all the more easily.

Horns 3

Joe Hill’s Horns is honestly my type of love story, and I’m really not a fan of love stories. It’s dark, the love is overpowering and insecure, and the happy ending is definitely one side of a double edged sword. The story takes place in our universe, but with a fantastical twist. Granted, there is a strong basis of Christianity in the story, but as opposed to taking a side on religion, it merely uses its elements for fantasy’s sake. A cross necklace does play an important role, but so does the devil and frankly he’s portrayed in a pretty favorable light.

Horns 6

The movie really tells a great story, but unfortunately it stutters in its flow and spends too much time on some less crucial elements which causes important plot points to suffer. A lot of energy was spent flashing back to the love story between Iggy and his dearly departed Merrin (Juno Temple), and while those scenes are beautifully shot and full of heart they may have sucked up too much time. Iggy is the only character in the movie who is really fully developed, everyone else has very little screen time and their introductions and explanations are rushed. This might not be a problem in a full on romance about the gooey love between just two people, but it does cause Horns to suffer a little because it’s a murder mystery. By the time the reveal of the real killer came around, it felt a little weak because as little as each of the side characters were shown it basically could have been anyone, as there was no motive or background given for anyone.

Horns 4

At times, the dialogue feels unnatural and the actors have to say things it seems no person would ever say in real life, but other than those moments the movie is extremely well acted. I assure you it is not my bias talking when I say that Daniel Radcliffe was captivating. I love Harry Potter more than the next guy, but so far this is the best performance I’ve seen from Radcliffe. He’s vulnerable, angry, scared and downright wicked. Anything that the movie Horns itself may have lacked, he single-handedly made up for.

Horns 1

Overall, Horns is absolutely worth seeing. It’s really beautifully shot and the scenery is just gorgeous. The love story is sweet and cruel, the fantasy and comedy elements hit hard and leave a lasting impression. I left the theater unsure about what to think about it but the movie stuck with me, which I think is a mark of what makes it good. I wasn’t sure at certain points while I was watching it, but I kept thinking about it and picturing it after it was over and it left me with one of those beautiful melancholy feelings. The more I relive it, the more I want to go and see it again.

Parallels in Fandom: Leadership and Feminism; The Hermione Grangers of Our World

With her recent speech for the He for She campaign at the United Nations, actress Emma Watson (newly appointed UN Women Goodwill Ambassador) showed us what leadership and feminism looks like. Although she has received backlash for the speech, her point stands. When it comes to activism and human rights, we must all take a leadership role regardless of our gender or opinion on the word “feminism”. We have people to lead us in this fight against inequality not only in the real world, but also examples of these heroes in our fandoms.

While Emma is not the character she plays in the Harry Potter franchise, it is no surprise that she follows in the footsteps of Hermione Granger, who in fact was a feminist and human rights activist herself. After the completion of the series, JK Rowling revealed that Hermione would go on to work in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures for the Ministry of Magic. There, she continued her work with the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare (S.P.E.W.) to gain rights for underprivileged non-humans such as house elves. She later became Deputy Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and with the help of Minister of Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt, abolished pure-blood favoring and biased laws.

Emma Watson as Hermione Granger

S.P.E.W.

Both Emma Watson and Hermione Granger have inspired girls all over the world to be strong and stand up for what they believe in. I remember being a child reading Harry Potter and looking to Hermione for guidance. She was bullied for caring about knowledge, for being different, and I was facing a similar adversity in my own life. I pictured Hermione and in her saw a way to combat against the misogyny and inequality in my life, though I didn’t know the words for them at the time. I still look to Hermione when I’m lost. I just started college and occasionally get scoffed at for raising my hand so much in class. When I’m frustrated with this, I tell myself “I am like Hermione Granger. If she can get through this, I can too.”

In her essay “Feminism and Equal Opportunity” found in Harry Potter and Philosophy; If Aristotle Ran Hogwarts edited by David Bagget and Shawn E. Klein,  Mimi R. Goldstein points out that Hermione Granger is not just one of the guys. “We often see… stereotypes that a woman must be saved by a man or that she must be taken care of by a man. Contrary to this stereotype, however, Hermione often acts to rescue Harry and Ron at crucial junctures in the plot.” There are multiple examples of this in the Harry Potter series. Hermione is never afraid to back down. The most potent example of this, perhaps, is in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban when Malfoy and his goons have the audacity to laugh at Buckbeak’s execution and Hermione punches Malfoy in the face. While Hermione is not typically one for violence and this scene is not necessarily advocating that one should punch a bully in the face, the metaphoric resonance still rings clear. Women like Hermione Granger who are strong, will not allow themselves to be treated as weak, and will stand up for what they believe in. In this case, Hermione makes it clear to Malfoy that laughing in the face of injustice is not to be tolerated. When she first pulls her wand on him, he is terrified and sniveling. She pulls it away and he laughs at what he thinks it is her inability to fight him. Immediately, however, she turns around and gives it to him right in the kisser. She fights a pureblood, muggle hater in the most deliciously insulting way possible. She doesn’t use her wand. She fights him like a muggle.

 

Emma talked in her speech about being labeled as “bossy” as a kid because she had an interest in directing her elementary school play. The boys in her grade, however, did not face this when expressing their desire to direct. While the Wizarding World holds women as anything but second class citizens, Hermione Granger nonetheless faces a similar discrimination in the Harry Potter series because of her thirst for knowledge. Despite this, Hermione is never unsure of herself. She knows she’s smart. She knows she’s strong. She never lets anyone tell her what to do or to dilute herself. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, she convinces the Ministry of Magic to give her a time turner to allow her to take as many classes as possible. She never lets those who taunt her take away her thirst for knowledge.

JK Rowling once said that she based Hermione very much on herself, as she too was labeled as bossy in school. All of these women have risen above their adversities and gone on to fight for their rights and the rights of others. Emma and Hermione both hold high positions of influence in their governments.

We must take on leadership roles when it comes to activism in our world. It can be somewhat daunting to do so, but there are resources out there to help us be Hermione Grangers. One particular resource is the Harry Potter Alliance and their first annual Granger Leadership Academy. Taking place October 17th, 18th, and 19th in Auburn, Alabama, the GLA “is designed to bring our greatest leaders together in one place and allow them to establish strong connections with each other, share ideas, learn from our talented staff, and emerge well-equipped to lead their community to a more just and magical future” says the conference’s website. Think Hogwarts, but instead of taking classes, you’re just going to Dumbledore’s Army meetings. Tickets are $50 for the whole weekend and on sale now.

gla guest speaker melissa anelli

The Harry Potter Alliance is holding their annual Equality FTW fundraiser right now through Indiegogo. All the money raised will go into initiatives for fighting for equality such as the Granger Grant which gives up to $1000 to groups and individuals who have a concrete plan for activism in their community. The HPA has also put into effect a real life S.P.E.W. as the Society for the Promotion of Equality Winning which will benefit from the fundraiser.

Emma Watson has extended an invitation to all of us, both men and women, to fight for equality among the sexes. We must take this invitation and be leaders in our community. We must take up the goblet and be the Hermione Grangers of our world.

 

Photos courtesy of Harry Potter Wikiawcvb.com, and The Granger Leadership Academy

Videos courtesy of The United Nations , Warner Bros., and The Harry Potter Alliance