Castium Revelio: A Pantomime and a Shame Wizard

Welcome back to another edition of MuggleNet’s Casting News, your weekly update on the latest information about our magical alumni’s newest projects! Are you ready to find out what we have in store this week? Let’s check it out! Castium Revelio!

Harry Potter
Chris Columbus, director of the first two Harry Potter films, is producing a new holiday film for Netflix titled The Christmas Chronicles. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Kurt Russell has been cast in the film as its Santa Claus. The Hollywood Reporter also notes that the casting choice is an intentional departure from the typical portrayal of Santa.

The pic, produced by Chris Columbus ('Home Alone', 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone'), stars Judah Lewis ('The Babysitter') and Darby Camp ('Big Little Lies') as siblings Teddy and Kate Pierce. Their plan to catch Santa on camera goes awry when he crashes his sleigh in Chicago, leading them to team up with St. Nick and his elves to save Christmas.

Russell's fit, tough-guy Santa is nothing like previous portrayals of Kris Kringle, however.

‘You don't look like Santa Claus,’ Teddy tells him as the two stare at a traditional artist rendering of Father Christmas on a billboard across the street.

‘Well, billboards add 80 pounds,’ Santa quips back.

The Christmas Chronicles will be released on Netflix on November 22.

Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick/Griphook) appeared in Peterborough for a charity bingo event this past week, reports the Peterborough Telegraph. The event, Blingo - a glamour bingo charity ball - raised over £20,000 for three charities: NSPCC, Macmillan Cancer Support, and LPUK.

Dawn French, who portrayed the Fat Lady in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, has been cast in the Qdos Pantomimes production of Snow White at the London Palladium!

According to the production’s website, French will portray the Wicked Queen. Snow White will begin its run at the Palladium on December 8, and more information about ticketing is available here.

French also announced her role in the pantomime via Twitter.

Brendan Gleeson (Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody), Ralph Ineson (Amycus Carrow), and Harry Melling (Dudley Dursley) all star in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, which will be released in theaters as well as premiere on Netflix this November. The film’s official Twitter account posted a trailer, which you can watch below!

David Heyman, producer of all of the Harry Potter films and both Fantastic Beasts films to date, and Working Title co-chief Eric Fellner are working to tackle the film and television industry’s lack of diversity in the UK. Deadline Hollywood has reported on their efforts to diversify film sets.

Heyman and fellow London Screen Academy founders Fellner and Tim Bevan of Working Title, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson of EON, and producer Lisa Bryer ('The Last King of Scotland') are the driving forces behind the government-backed vocational school, which will teach 16- to 19-year-olds practical screen industry skills.

‘The need for more highly skilled workers and more diversity in the UK industry is pressing in many ways,’ Heyman told us. ‘I think the lack of diversity you see on so many film sets is shocking. This isn’t a change that can happen overnight, but we need change from top to bottom: ethnic, social and gender. The school is about giving people a start.’

The piece also noted the startling lack of diversity of film crew members in the UK.

[A British Film Institute report] found that only 3% of the production and post-production workforce are from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, while, on average, women are paid £3,000 less than men. Across the workforce, only 12% of people are from less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds. The study also estimated the sector would need 10,000 skilled workers over the next five years to maintain its market position.

The vocational school will open next year. It will be based in Highbury, but it will be open to students from across London. Heyman was quoted as saying, “This is the most exciting project I have ever worked on.”

Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy) spent sixty seconds with Metro to talk about Harry Potter, Star Trek, and his involvement in a charity run for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Among his responses, Isaacs noted that he is still in contact with some of the Harry Potter cast, including his onscreen son, Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy).

I keep in touch with Tom Felton, who played my son, and I did a film that Bonnie Wright directed — she went to film school and is now a wonderful director. Tom and I see each other when we can. He has turned into a fabulous young man — or not so young, he was 31 the other day. When you think about what happens to incredibly famous young people in the Hollywood system, they so often get monstrously messed up by it, but Daniel, Rupert, Emma, Tom, Matthew and the rest are really grounded, generous young people. I’d be very proud of all of them if I was their parent or someone who had helped them through the 'Harry Potter' experience. It was a giant family and they all came out the other side.

Isaacs also appears in the upcoming horror film Look Away. Dread Central posted an exclusive clip from the film, while Isaacs, costar India Eisley, and director Assaf Bernstein were interviewed by Moviebill about it.

As Bernstein explains himself, ‘Look Away’ has been brewing the back of his head since he was a child. The story sets Eisley as Maria, a softspoken high school girl who, despite her best efforts, finds herself ostracized and tormented by all of her peers. Her home life isn’t much better, either, with Isaacs set as her father. A successful plastic surgeon, Isaacs’ Dan is a stern, judgmental patriarch who can only see Maria for her faults. As the world seemingly turns against her, Maria finds her only solace in the most unlikely of places: her own reflection. Speaking to her through the mirror, an alternate Maria (who calls herself Airam) reveals herself as everything Maria isn’t. As she continues to confront her doppelgänger on the other side of the glass, the balance between Maria and Airam begins to shift with deadly consequences for everyone that has treated her so poorly.

Check out the interview below.



Look Away is now playing in select theaters and is available on video on demand.

Gary Oldman’s (Sirius Black) upcoming film The Laundromat will be financed and released by Netflix, reports Deadline Hollywood. David Schwimmer has also joined the film’s cast, the website notes. The Laundromat is based upon the true story of the Panama Papers scandal.

A new trailer for the video game Squadron 42 also features the voice of Oldman. Website Cultured Vultures noted in its report that the game has been in production for some five years and was created from $195 million in raised funds.

Check out its trailer below!



Imelda Staunton (Dolores Umbridge) and Dame Emma Thompson (Sybill Trelawney) have joined a campaign in the UK to end homelessness. The Irish Independent reports that the campaign, for the charity Crisis’s campaign titled “Everybody In,” features twenty celebrities reading lines from a poem to urge politicians to combat homelessness.

The piece, called If Everybody Is In, was written by the charity’s poet-in-residence Stefan Gambrell, aka Neanderthal Bard, who has previously been homeless, to highlight the 236,000 people across the country currently experiencing homelessness.

The charity says the crisis is at its worst level since 2010, and hopes to spur the Government to build on its recent positive steps to recognising homelessness as an urgent issue.

Watch the campaign video below!



David Thewlis (Remus Lupin) can be heard in the second season of the adult animated comedy series Big Mouth, which streams on Netflix. Vulture has published a piece about how Thewlis’s character, the Shame Wizard, came to be created.

‘Our culture is uncomfortable talking to teenagers about sexuality, so we try to avoid it,’ co-creator Andrew Goldberg told Vulture about their inspiration for the Shame Wizard. ‘I think an unintended consequence of that is they feel shameful about it. They assume that if it’s secretive and we’re quiet about it, there’s something wrong with it.’

The show also took inspiration from Thewlis himself.

The writing staff nicknamed Thewlis ‘the charm wizard,’ given how easy he was to work with. ‘Once we had him and his voice, it became a nice cycle where he inspired different ideas for different character,’ Goldberg said. That includes the look of the Shame Wizard himself, who appears as a spectral being akin to the Dementors in 'Harry Potter' — and whose introduction comes in a scene where he puts Andrew on trial, recalling the wizarding world’s Ministry of Magic. ‘We were like, David has such an interesting face maybe [the Shame Wizard] should look more like him,’ Goldberg said, so much so that the first time they showed Thewlis a sketch of the character, ‘He was like, “Is that me?”’

Lastly, Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley) has shared his experience of rehearsing for the new Doctor Dolittle musical, in which he will be playing the titular role, with the website News Shopper. You can read his thoughts from the first week of rehearsals in Bromley here!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Cherelle Skeete, who played Rose Granger-Weasley in the original London cast of the production, will be working with Nicola Alexis, who previously played Hermione Granger, in the Gate Theatre’s upcoming show A Small Place, the theater has announced.



You can find out more about the show here.

That’s all we have for this week’s Casting News, but stay tuned for even more great updates next week! Until then, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Mary W.

I am a Slytherin, a lifelong fan of Harry Potter, and a member of MuggleNet staff since 2014. In my Muggle life, I am passionate about human rights, and I love to travel around the world and meet new people.