[Intro music begins]
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["Hedwig's Theme" plays]
Jim Dale: [as Professor McGonagall] This is Professor McGonagall welcoming you all to MuggleCast hoping you all enjoyed - Dobby! Dobby, come here! Here! Dobby! [as Dobby] Yes, I'd just like to say how very pleased I am to introduce MuggleCast to all of you! Thank you! Thank you!
[Show music begins]
Micah: Because Ben is still holding out for Emma - I feel you buddy - this is MuggleCast Episode 184 for November the 9th, 2009.
[Show music continues]
Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast. It's our 184th episode and Ben is here in studio with me again.
Ben: Oh my. Here I am.
Andrew: And we got two boys on the line. We got Micah and Mikey.
Ben: Oh this is going to get confusing.
Andrew: Two names that I very frequently confuse while speaking to both of them.
Micah: It's difficult.
Mikey: Why is that?
Andrew: Well because Mike-uh and Mike-e.
Andrew: Yeah it gets confusing. There's been a couple of times when I've called Micah Mikey and vice versa, you know.
Mikey: That's true, you have.
Ben: Well we'll try to keep it straight...
Ben: ...for this episode.
Andrew: Yes. Then when Matt's on it's a whole Mikey, Micah, Matt. It's like [makes a huffing noise].
[Ben makes huffing noises]
Andrew: So we have lots of news to discuss this week. Ben is bringing back his top ten list with - a top ten list that you said is going to what?
Ben: Wow the world. Shake the foundations of the Harry Potter community.
Andrew: [laughs] Oh man. I'll be holding on.
Ben: A game changer you might say.
Andrew: And I understand you've also prepared a letter to Emma. Is that true?
Ben: Oh I don't know. You'll have to stick around for later on in the show and see if - see if I did.
Micah: He's ruining all the surprises.
Andrew: [laughs] Just teasing our audience. So let's get started. I'm Andrew Sims.
Ben: I'm Ben Schoen.
Micah: I'm Micah Tannenbaum.
Mikey: And I'm Mikey B.
Ben: Mikey who?
Mikey: Mikey B!
Ben: Oh in the house!
[Show music continues]
Andrew: Micah, what is going on in the news this week?
Micah: Well, first the place where J.K. Rowling had first written Harry Potter has finally re-opened. Not surprisingly it was turned into a Chinese buffet, but somebody repurchased it and restored it into a cafe.
Andrew: Right. Do you guys remember when that happened? When we found out it got turned into a Chinese buffet? [laughs]
Ben: I know, the outrage.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah. It was like come on, it's such an epic place for Harry Potter history and now it's a Chinese buffet? But - so now it's back to a cafe.
Micah: So did somebody - is there like a shrine to J.K. Rowling in the cafe or something?
Andrew: The owner said "I think we might put a plaque on the door because it seems popular with tourists, we were warned when we took over that people do come from the world - from all over the world to see it." So, I think maybe - I think they should put a plaque on it, it'd be really cool.
Mikey: So were people visiting the Chinese buffet?
Andrew: Yeah! [laughs] "I wonder where J.K. Rowling sat, in this Chinese buffet."
Mikey: Wow. [unintelligible]
Andrew: But I was thinking, I have this idea. They should create this special drink menu. Like, they got to find out what J.K. Rowling was drinking there, you know, while she was writing. You know, probably some coffees and stuff, but like, exactly what kind of coffees, you know? And they could have this menu...
Ben: Give me the Jo.
Andrew: Yeah. [laughs] Give me the Jo. Morning Jo.
Ben: Morning Jo. Oh! Isn't that - that's what they call coffee, cup of joe.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah.
Mikey: Cup of joe, wow.
Andrew: But, they could have that list and people could order drinks that Jo had while she was writing there. I thought that'd be cool.
Micah: That's good marketing right there.
Andrew: Yeah, exactly. They should just rename the cafe and call it, "Jo's Place."
Mikey: "Jo's Place"?
Andrew: All right Micah, what else is going on?
Micah: Well, for anybody who's interested, here in the U.S., auditioning for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is going to take place next week.
Ben: Oh, I'm booking a flight.
Micah: I knew Ben - you could play Hagrid.
Ben: [as Hagrid] Rubeus Hagrid!
Andrew: If you were in front of - pretend I'm a Universal exec and you - you came on stage and you had to...
Ben: To wow you.
Andrew: To wow me. What would you say to convince me you should work - be working in my park?
Ben: Working in your park?
Ben: Oh man.
Andrew: What would your audition line be?
Ben: My audition line would be [as Dumbledore] "It is our choices..."
[Andrew and Ben laugh]
Ben: No, combined with like, a [as Hagrid] "Rubeus." No, I would just throw out every bit of Harry Potter information I knew.
Ben: I'd bring the MuggleNet book with me. And I would dress up, and I would grow a beard...
Ben: ...for it all. And I'd wear stilts.
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Andrew: So that's - it's really cool. I'm a - I'm, you know. I wish everyone who's going to audition good luck. Because, could you imagine having that job?
Micah: There'd have to be some video or - they probably won't let you keep video right?
Ben: You could make a documentary about it.
Andrew: 'My Life as an Actor in the Wizarding World.'
Micah: You'd have to have someone with a really good British accent to go down here.
Andrew: I was thinking Ben could.
Micah: Yeah, I think he could.
Ben: I might be able to pull it off.
Micah: MuggleNet will pay for it.
Andrew: Nine hour shifts in an English accent, five days a week? I could do that.
Ben: Oh, that'd be so rewarding.
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Andrew: I like how it says "youthful in appearance."
Ben: I'm youthful. I need to shave, but, I'm youthful.
Andrew: It says, "Please prepare a one minute dialogue" - or "monologue for audition, using a British dialect," so. I bet you could've done it.
Ben: I could practice it.
Micah: Use it to get closer to Emma, Ben.
Ben: Oh after this - after, later in the show like, she's going to be all mine.
Micah: All right. Well speaking of the Wizarding World, the Orlando Sentinel published a nice construction photo update from the theme park. And, things are going up pretty fast. Andrew you noted that you visited the construction site just under two months ago, and you can't believe it's the same area.
Andrew: That's right Micah! No but seriously, I mean, you look at these photos, and none of this existed two months ago, and some people were speculating you know, "oh is this going to be done in time?" But if you look at it now, this place is going up really quick. All this exterior construction of you know, Hogwarts, and Hogsmeade, and the train is there now too, the Hogwarts Express, so yeah, it's really exciting to see all that stuff finally go up.
Mikey: Yeah, but you know what though? All the exterior stuff goes up really quick, it's the plumbing and all that stuff that takes forever.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah.
Mikey: Which, they're working on all that, getting it all laid out, and planned, and then, instantly, it just pops up out of nowhere.
Andrew: Yeah, it's cool to see. And this reminds me, do you guys remember, Micah I think you were the only one on this episode at the time, but Mikey I know you'll appreciate this, on Episode 177, I had proposed a ride at the theme park called "Dumbledore's Tower of Terror".
Mikey: I was on that episode.
Andrew: Oh you were, okay. Ben, I had this - and for anyone who doesn't remember, you know that "Tower of Terror" ride at Disney?
Andrew: Okay, well I proposed a "Dumbledore's Tower of Terror" and what would happen is, you go on this ride, and when it dropped, you would hear Avada Kedavra! And you would see the screen flash and you would drop and Dumbledore would be right in front of you and falling with you, to his death.
Ben: Okay. [laughs]
Andrew: Isn't that a good idea?
Ben: It's a good idea and yeah, are they doing it?
Andrew: Well here's the thing, and I forgot to tell you guys this, when I went to Universal we had this sort of meet and greet dinner with the Universal people and we were talking about rides. I was like "Oh man, This is the perfect opportunity. I could bring up this idea that I conceived on MuggleCast." I proposed it to them, they loved it. Absolutely loved it. So we're working on several drafts, and I think at the next expansion of the park they're going to include it.
Andrew: No, but I did tell them!
Mikey: I was waiting for that.
Andrew: But, I did tell them about the ride and they laughed their asses off. It was so funny. And then I felt so good...
Micah: Like they laughed?
Andrew: Like it's a funny idea.
Micah: Or like you're a dumb little kid kind of way.
Andrew: No, no, no. [laughs] I mean, they thought it was a funny idea for a ride. And then I was on cloud nine thinking yeah I gave the idea for this ride.
Micah: I impressed the Universal execs.
Andrew: Yeah. [laughs] Exactly. Okay, so I just wanted to mention that. I meant to tell that on the show a few weeks ago.
Micah: I think its funny how it says, "You can see Hogwarts from Interstate 4 now, especially in the eastbound lanes."
Andrew: [laughs] Well, yeah I mean it's all flatlands out there in Florida and it's a nearby interstate right by the theme park so. Actually it was funny. When we were leaving Universal, when were headed back to the airport, there was a lot of offsite construction, too, and like in this one field there was straight up a building from Hogsmeade just sitting in this field. And you could see it clear as day. There was a gate around it, but it was right there like, it was like, wow.
Mikey: I wonder what goes on in there?
Andrew: Hmm, yeah. I mean they are going to...
Mikey: Shrieking Shack.
Andrew: [laughs] Okay, what else is going on Micah?
Micah: Well, according to Times Online, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 will be the biggest film of 2010.
Andrew: Won't be.
Micah: Yes, what did I say? Will be?
Micah: Won't be. They believe Iron Man II will be the biggest. And here's the reasoning why Deathly Hallows won't take the top spot. The article goes on to say "part of the final Harry Potter movie, Part 2 will follow in 2011. Devoted fans have known what happens in the story since 2007, for newcomers, Harry and his pals Ron and Hermione search for some magical artefacts called Horcruxes. The plot takes the trainee wizards out of Hogwarts for much of the movie, resulting in a marked change in atmosphere compared to its predecessors." I don't believe that.
Andrew: Yeah, and when I saw this I was like a lot of fans are going to freak out about this. Because how could, you know Times Online, it's a reputable source, and I thought it was worth posting because they are a pretty big media outlet, but I was just wondering how they could possibly think that a sequel to Iron Man could out sell the top earning franchise of all time? It's just...
Micah: Well, its a November release, isn't it, Deathly Hallows?
Andrew: Yeah, but that shouldn't affect it.
Micah: Iron Man II is probably in the Summer.
Mikey: Iron Man II's in the Summer. But, you know what though, here's my thing. I loved the original Iron Man, and I think most of you probably did too...
Andrew: Yeah, it was good!
Mikey: It was a smash hit that no one really expected to come from anywhere...
Mikey: You know, it's Marvel's first movie. I think that Iron Man II's going to do really well, but the fact that they, you know - one of the things that I love about the Harry Potter movies is that they actually had all the actors, with the exception of Michael Gambon, you know, go through all the films. They've already lost, in Iron Man II, Terrence Howard. You know, they've already lost one of their actors who's supposed to be a big part of the second movie. And I think, going into that, because the movie was so recent, people still aren't going to feel it as much, and I really don't think it'll be better than Harry Potter. It'll still make a bunch of money, but I don't think it'll be received as well as they're hoping it will be.
Mikey: So I think Harry Potter will still trump Iron Man. But that's just me.
Micah: I think they're underestimating the value of the cliff-hanger, too, at the end of this movie. A lot of people are going to go see it just to see where it gets cut.
Andrew: Right. Well I hope people aren't thinking, like "Oh, since it's only the first half," - I mean, I guess that's the Times Online's reasoning, right? It's just the first half of the movie, so yeah.
Micah: That's what it sounds like. But you have to look at the fact that, in terms of all-time grossing movies, every one of the Harry Potter films is in the Top 25.
Micah: I don't think it's going to make a difference if it's split in two or not, people are still going to go.
Andrew: It does seem weird. Anyway.
Ben: How can you see Part 2 and not Part 1?
Andrew: That's true.
Micah: Exactly. Well, more on Deathly Hallows, a lot of the stars have been tweeting from the Deathly Hallows set, I know one in particular was from Chris Rankin, who plays Percy Weasley. And he mentioned something about forty-three principal casting members being on set a few weeks ago.
Micah: I think it was just before Halloween that this happened.
Micah: Forty-three is a lot.
Andrew: Yeah. No, that's a lot. And so the big theory is that they're filming the Battle of Hogwarts scenes right now. Because that's everyone, that's the trio, that's probably all the teachers, that's Chris Rankin [laughs].
Mikey: Yeah, it's the only time he comes back.
Micah: Seems like a lot of them are getting into it now. We hear from a few more of them that are just kind of plugging what's going on on set, who they're filming with, so it gives fans a little bit better of an idea of what they're filming.
Ben: Is Sean Biggerstaff back for this film?
Andrew: I don't know. Do we have confirmation for that, Micah?
Micah: I don't know.
Andrew: He's supposed to.
Ben: [laughs] Oliver Wood?
Ben: Oliver Wood's supposed to be back?
Andrew: Why wouldn't he?
Ben: Oh, I don't know. He was like in the first film, and then way back in the day on MuggleNet there was this "Petition to Bring Back Oliver Wood." I was just making a joke...
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, I don't think - you know, he's not on Twitter or anything, so. But I don't think it'd be unreasonable for him to come back.
Mikey: Come back.
Micah: He's in the battle, isn't he, in the book?
Mikey: Yeah, he shows up.
Andrew: He shows up for a split second, so who knows if they'll decide if that's worth it or not. Probably not. I don't know. He can't be that busy...
Mikey: Well, they split it into two movies, so maybe they will take it that literal, you know?
Micah: More Deathly Hallows news. The actor who plays Mr. Ollivander in the series recently sat down with Rotten Tomatoes, and in the interview he revealed that he'll be heading back to the Deathly Hallows set sometime this month. And I have all of what he said here - he basically went on a tirade, [laughs] about his concern over Warner Brothers large budgets for films in the Potter franchise. And he even went as far to call Harry Potter not a British franchise, which I thought was kind of interesting.
Andrew: Yeah, I don't know - was he like, grumpy that day, or something, was he just in a bad mood?
Andrew: Like, I don't get it. He's so - I don't know!
Mikey: He's being - he's kind of hurt, you know?
Andrew: [sarcastically] Ahhh yeah, haha.
Micah: John Hurt.
Andrew: You know...
Ben: [laughs] Butt hurt...
Andrew: ...we get it now that the studio franchise is a big - it's a machine, it works like a machine. People come in and out, blah blah blah. But he's complaining, he cites, "I look around and there are three costumes there, none of which are likely to be worn and they're all replicas of each other. It's a huge waste of money and it drives me insane." He said that! I don't know. Has he never been in a film where there's multiple costumes for the same character? You know, the same exact costume? I mean, don't they need backup ones for fight scenes and stuff? I just don't get it, I think he's...
Micah: Or if you have an accident.
Ben: And how much do you think they can sell those things for if they wanted to?
Andrew: Right, yeah! Put them in the Exhibition, you know...
Mikey: Well, guys, I think he's trying to talk about the health of the industry in general. Like, how much money is going into making films and that's what he's complaining about with the Harry Potter films.
Ben: So Harry Potter is just a microcosm of a bigger problem?
Mikey: Well, yeah, no! It's because you think that - right now, the industry is struggling. There's not as many television shows being made, there's not as many movies being made. But there's still Harry Potter getting a huge, huge budget. Why? Because we all know it's going to do really well. But because you see movies like Iron Man 2, Harry Potter all coming out - these blockbusters - you think the industry's doing fine, but the industry's still struggling. But these are what they call tent pole movies, they expect these movies to do really well and it's going to hold up the studio for the rest of the year. That's why they call them the tent pole, because it's the main one that's going to hold up the studio for all the other movies that are coming out. And there's not as many smaller budget or mid-budget movies coming out as there used to be. Which some people say is good because they weren't that good anyway.
[Andrew and Mikey laugh]
Mikey: Other people say they're bad because that's where you got your cult classics that everyone loves to watch over and over again. So it's one of those things - the industry, the U.S. economy itself is struggling, but so is the industry in Europe, everywhere. The movie industry itself is struggling.
Ben: The same way that Harry Potter was a tent pole for the public industry because...
Mikey: Yeah, exactly! Because then all the sudden there's no more Harry Potter. What happens?
Ben: Everyone starts panicking. Twilight.
[Andrew and Mikey laugh]
Andrew: Oh no! Well, you know what's interesting - Warner Brothers had their annual quarterly results conference call the other day. And they noted how this upcoming Summer they don't have a Summer tent pole film and I was thinking, "Oh, geez." with that delay of Half-Blood Prince, I could almost see them moving Part 1 up to the Summer so they have a tent pole film!
Mikey: It's something that I wouldn't be surprised if they did.
Andrew: If they get desperate, yeah, there's no reason not to.
Mikey: It's one of those things where they need a big budget film to hold them up for all the other stuff they do.
Mikey: And you've got to remember that Warner Brothers also has their little subsidiary, that's their independent films, those are the ones that they try to get the Oscars through. So does Fox, so does every other studio that has all these little ones that they know they're not going to make as much money from or they'll hope they'll have that one Juno hit that's huge and makes all this money back or they'll have the Napolean Dynamite hit...
Andrew: Or Paranormal Activity.
Mikey: Exactly! Well, I didn't want to bring that up yet. But you get the idea that it's one of those things where it just brings in so much money and then that can hold up that specific studio. That smaller...
Mikey: The independent franchise.
Mikey: But they have to support it and they don't have a major tent pole. And you notice, they even said it during their fiscal report, so...
Andrew: Yeah. Yep, yep.
Ben: So if they don't move the movie up and it comes out in November as planned right now, that's going to be a wild eight months there, isn't it?
Andrew: In between the two films?
Andrew: Yeah. Yeah, definitely.
Ben: It's going to be like, "Oh my gosh! It's all coming to an end!"
Ben: "What do we do?!"
Andrew: Well, I was thinking about this earlier today. It's insane to think now, that at one point there was a time that Deathly Hallows was going to be one film. You know, before they announced it and before the rumors started. It's just crazy to think that. Okay, Micah, what else is going on in the news?
Micah: All right, final piece of news for the week. A single mother from the United Kingdom was planning to have a Harry Potter-themed party for her Halloween celebration, but instead Mrs. Marmite Lover, which I don't really think is her real name...
Micah: ...had to change things up a bit. Back on October 23rd, she received a "cease and desist" letter from Warner Brothers suggesting that her proposed use of the Harry Potter properties without our consent would amount to an infringement of Warner's rights. Now, Ms. Lover was looking to charge a small entry fee as she has for other themed parties, but says that no harm was intended. Her big problem though, was that she set up a small website to purchase tickets to her party online. And I really think that that's where she got - screwed.
Andrew: Yeah, this got a lot of press.
Ben: How many people were going to attend this party? I mean, where was this party being hosted? At like her house?
Micah: Her house.
Ben: Oh, wow! I mean, unless her house was like enormous...
Micah: Well, she said she probably couldn't fit more than thirty people in her living room, and that the cost of the party would probably equal out to what people were paying to show up. So, she wasn't making a profit off of it.
Ben: I mean, that just seems kind of silly that W.B. would waste their time sending a cease and desist letter to something that seems so trivial. But I guess they're worried like...
Micah: It would start a trend.
Ben: ...that if in the event that somebody is like, "Oh, I'm going to rent out Carnegie Hall. I'm going to have a Harry Potter-themed party and sell tickets online. Look at this website."
Andrew: Right. That would be a problem. Yeah.
Ben: "Look at this. They had a Harry Potter-themed party."
Ben: "Oh, but that was 20 people in their living room." [laughs]
Andrew: Yeah. I think you're right, Micah. It's the fact that she brought this online. That's where the problem started. And as this lady so kindly noted in her response back to W.B., she said, you know, "I know at one point, J.K. Rowling was a struggling mother, and she certainly isn't against charities. Blah blah blah." I get where W.B. is coming from. They have to protect the franchise, the name and all that. But I think this may have been pushing it just a little bit. It reminds me of the whole fan site thing - what happened with the fan sites, taking down the fan sites in a way.
Micah: Yeah, it's just one of those things where if she didn't go online with it, she probably would have gotten away with it, wouldn't have had a problem, but...
Andrew: Oh, yeah.
Ben: Oh, absolutely. I mean, how, unless like...
Micah: They wouldn't have known.
Mikey: Well, it's the same thing like when MuggleCast got pulled from the iTunes store.
Mikey: At the beginning when we first started out.
Andrew: Yeah. Yep. We showed them!
Ben: Why did they pull us again?
Andrew: It had to do - I think they weren't sure if we were allowed to use the album art or something like that.
Ben: Oh yeah! It was the album art.
Andrew: I mean, that's the impression we got. Nobody ever confirmed like what actually happened.
Ben: Even Apple can't stop us.
[Andrew and Mikey laughs]
Ben: That's what it comes down to.
Andrew: Yep. Yep. Okay, what else, Micah? Is that it?
Micah: That is it.
Ben: This is it!
Mikey: That's all the news!
Andrew: Ben, it's time for your Top 10 list before we get into Chapter-by-Chapter today. I'm very excited to hear this. You've been...
Ben: I've been hyping it up.
Ben: All week, I've been coming over to Andrew's house. "Dude. Get ready for the Top 10 list." On Friday, on Sunday, on Monday, on Tuesday. Okay, the Top 10 Lessons One Can Learn from Harry Potter. Number Ten: Your family is more important than you realize.
Ben: Think about Harry and the Dursleys.
Andrew: It's true.
Ben: If he didn't have that protection, he would have been a goner a long time ago. Number Nine: We all start as outsiders. When Harry's going to Hogwarts, he's very unsure about himself. So, I'd like to invite everybody that when you get those feelings, remember that everybody starts off that way, and you should embrace it and just go with it. Go with the flow.
Andrew: All right.
Ben: Number eight: The greatest gift in the world is a truly loyal friend. So don't be like Wormtail, don't sell your friends for yourself. Stay loyal. Number seven: Don't be afraid to break the rules. I say the rules are merely guidelines and you should keep in mind all the potential consequences. Number six: Arrogance will be your downfall. Look at Gilderoy Lockhart, look at Cornelius Fudge and of course, Lord Voldemort for examples.
Ben: Number five: don't mess with giants.
[Andrew and Mikey laugh]
Ben: They may be dumb, but their fist's still fifty times your size.
Ben: Number four: "To the well organized mind" - oh sorry [as Dumbledore] "To the well organized mind, death is but the next great adventure." So basically, don't fear the unknown. Dumbledore tells us time and time again that the only thing about death - the reason we fear death so much is because we don't know what happens. So don't fear the unknown, get it all together, move forward. Number three: [as Dumbledore] "It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." So yeah, often times you have to make a choice between what is popular and what is right.
Andrew: That's right. Peer pressure.
Ben: Peer pressure, avoid it. Number two: In book one, Hagrid makes a comment about Muggles, how they don't really notice much. How they wouldn't - if something stared them right in the eye, they wouldn't be able to tell it was there. So basically, the magic is real if you want it to be. And there are moments in our lives that can be very magical if we chose to look for that magic. So even though we are MuggleCast, don't be a Muggle.
Ben: And number one of course: Love conquers all.
Ben: Love is - I learned this in my evolution and genetics class - that love is one of the qualities that is truly, uniquely human. And so basically love is the weapon we have. And those are the top ten lessons one can learn from Harry Potter.
Andrew: That's really nice! I was expecting sort of like a joking thing. But it came from the heart.
Mikey: Yeah, it was impressive. I agree with Andrew, I thought you were going to make fun of this whole thing. But I like it, Ben.
Ben: No, I was being serious.
Mikey: I'm going to take this to heart, I'm going to take this to heart. And I'll probably end up using some of that in just regular life.
Ben: [sings] "All you need is love, love."
Mikey: I learned this from Harry Potter. And people will be like, "Whoa!"
Ben: People are going to be printing out this Top Ten list and putting it on their walls.
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