Castium Revelio: “Kingsman” and Queen of the Stage

The big news this week in MuggleNet’s Casting News is the triumphant return to the stage of Dame Maggie Smith! Critics have been raving about the actress’s performance in A German Life, and you can read about that plus view photos from the play below. The sophistication continues as Ralph Fiennes gussies up while filming Kingsman: The Great Game, and David Tennant has a touching little lullaby for you! Well… maybe not so touching. Are you politely and demurely excited yet? Then let’s be off! Castium Revelio!




Harry Potter Cast & Crew

The upcoming blockbuster The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle is still on for a January 17, 2020, release, but says the film recently underwent a major reshoot.

The movie stars Robert Downey Jr. as Doctor John Dolittle, along with a whole herd of wizarding world alumni, including Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort) as Barry (a tiger), Dame Emma Thompson (Sybill Trelawney) as Polynesia (a parrot), Frances de la Tour (Madame Maxime) as Ginko-Who-Soars, Ralph Ineson (Amycus Carrow) as Arnall Stubbins, Carmen Ejogo (Seraphina Picquery, Fantastic Beasts) as Regine (a lioness), and Jim Broadbent (Horace Slughorn) in a currently unnamed role.

Universal Pictures stated 21 additional days of shooting and more postproduction work were conducted after directors Chris McKay (The LEGO Batman Movie) and Jonathan Liebesman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) were called in to aid original director Stephen Gaghan (Syriana) with the heavy special effects work on the $175 million film.

Thompson and Stephen Fry (narrator of the UK Harry Potter audiobooks) have teamed up to executive produce what Filmoria says is the first narrative film in cinema history by and starring an out intersex individual. Ponyboi is directed by and stars River Gallo, and it will be featured at this year's Tribeca Film Festival April 24–May 5 in Manhattan. You can check out the trailer below.



Thompson also spoke out recently in support of screenwriters, saying she's against the practice of films starting to shoot before the screenplay is ready.

One of the reasons is that they need stars - big stars - who work all the time and have to be fitted into timescales. What happens is there'll be an idea for a story. It will be in development, and then suddenly, two of the big stars come free, and everyone says, 'Right, let's shoot it, we'll work it out as we shoot.' One thing I know, after 30 years of doing this, is you can't work it out while you shoot. It always ends up just making things so much more difficult in postproduction.

Thompson said that when a truly good screenplay is allowed to come to fruition, there's "a lot of fuss and a tremendous amount of what can only be described as lip service to the value of good writing. And then everything continues as before." She says she doesn't know how to change the culture but does know this: "I don't want to make films with unfinished scripts."

The actress also features in Time's "100 Most Influential People in the World" issue, writing about Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), who is included in the list. Sir Kenneth Branagh (Gilderoy Lockhart) writes on behalf of another GOT list-maker, Richard Madden. Thompson, it was announced today, will additionally make her Saturday Night Live hosting debut May 11 with the Jonas Brothers as musical guests.

MuggleNet let you know in January that Fry would be a part of BBC Two's The Importance of Being Oscar, the story of the rise and fall of Oscar Wilde, and has announced the program will be airing Saturday on the network.

Fiennes, meanwhile, was spotted this week in London, looking dapper in a navy pinstripe suit and bowler while filming scenes for Kingsman: The Great Game. Umbrella in hand, Fiennes cuts a dashing figure in the role of the Duke of Oxford in the World War I–era prequel to the ongoing Kingsman franchise. The Great Game is scheduled for a February 14, 2020, release.

Fiennes will have another major picture out two months later - that is, if the next chapter of the James Bond saga can stay on track. Harpers Bazaar says Fleabag and Killing Eve writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge was recently brought in at the request of Bond himself, Daniel Craig, to help shake up - not stir - the script for what is still known as Bond 25. The movie, in which Fiennes is set to reprise his role as M, has struggled to get on track but is still slated for an April 8, 2020, release.

Dame Maggie Smith has been garnering rave reviews for her performance in A German Life. What's on Stage says it's "an astonishing thing to see Maggie Smith hold an audience in the palm of her hand," while the Stage states that "even at the age of 84, barely moving for almost two hours, Smith holds us bound in this trenchant cautionary tale." British screenwriter David Eldridge expressed similar sentiments via Twitter:



You can read more reviews of her performance here and view a selection of photos from the play in the gallery below.

And don't think she's done there! Smith's 2019 is just getting started. Aside from the September release of the Downton Abbey movie, it was announced this week that the actress has joined Broadbent, Toby Jones (voice of Dobby), and Kristen Wiig in signing on for the holiday movie A Boy Called Christmas. Deadline Hollywood says Studiocanal will release the film - which will be shot in Lapland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and London - theatrically in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, and China, while it will be released to the rest of the world on Netflix.

The movie will reimagine the origin story of Father Christmas, following an ordinary young boy called Nikolas, who sets out on an adventure into the snowy north in search of his father, who is on a quest to discover the fabled village of the elves, Elfhelm. Taking with him a headstrong reindeer called Blitzen and a loyal pet mouse, the young boy soon meets his destiny.

We've a bit longer to go yet before the Season 3 premiere of The Crown, but Deadline has reported the new season will be coming up in the second half of 2019, sometime after July 1. Considering Season 2 launched December 8, 2017, that's quite a wait, but hey... if we could all handle Game of Thrones's schedule, we can handle anything. This installment of The Crown features Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange) as Princess Margaret.

Deadline also revealed The Witcher, for which we gave you a first glimpse of Anna Shaffer (Romilda Vane) in her role as Triss last week, will launch in the last three months of this year.

Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy) has learned some things in his 55 years of life - primarily that he's "55 going on 12." The actor shared some of his life lessons this week with the Times, and while some were of the lighthearted variety typical of the jovial actor - such as that when he and his wife previously resided in California, she "probably quite accurately" assumed it was so that he "could dress like a skateboarder till I die" - others were serious, including his response to the Me Too movement.

One of the questions that I'm often asked about the Me Too movement is, 'Why didn't you do anything?' The problem is that almost all of the most egregious things that people are being charged with went on behind closed doors. I can think of half a dozen men I'd like to name, and who I think should probably be in prison. But they would just sue me and nothing bad would happen to them. All I can do is choose not to work with them.

Isaacs also fondly recalled the moment he felt he and acting were perhaps meant to be, saying, "When I stumbled, drunk, into my first audition, I felt for the first time in my life that there was a room in which I fully belonged." You can read his full commentary here.

We move on to the David Tennant (Barty Crouch Jr.) portion of this week's Casting News with mixed emotions. On the one hand, we're thrilled to present a new teaser trailer for Good Omens that just hit YouTube Monday. On the other, we're faced with the fact that Neil Gaiman - co-author, along with Terry Pratchett, of the novel of the same name - has basically said the show will be a one-off.

Speaking at SXSW in Austin, Texas, says Gaiman indicated the six-episode series, set to premiere May 31 on Amazon Prime, was just that: a six-episode series.

The lovely thing about 'Good Omens' is it has a beginning, it has a middle, and it has an end. Season 1 of 'Good Omens' is 'Good Omens'. It's brilliant. It finishes. You have six episodes, and we're done. We won't try to build in all these things to try to let it continue indefinitely.

Bummer. We know what will turn that frown upside down, however. The new teaser, which you can check out below, features Tennant singing a soothing lullaby. If you ignore the fact he's telling you to "go to sleep" and "dream of pain," it's quite touching. The trailer also puts more focus on what demon Crowley (Tennant) and angel Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) are actually doing in the show: searching for the Antichrist in order to prevent Armageddon. As it happens, Slash Film says, the Antichrist is believed to be "an angelic-looking 11-year-old boy who only dreams of spaceships and hell." Maybe he's just a young wizard upset that he hasn't gotten his Hogwarts letter yet instead?



Hero Fiennes-Tiffin (11-year-old Tom Riddle) is weathering the aftereffects of After pretty well for a young man of 21 fresh off his first starring role. But he's still a bit gobsmacked by the fandom. And he wishes people would stop asking him if his name is really Hero. Beyond that - and the fact that, no, he hasn't met Harry Styles, nor does he listen to One Direction - Fiennes-Tiffin opened up on a few more in-depth topics this week in an interview with W. For instance: While the actor knows the Potter fandom is another force to be reckoned with, he was young enough, and his role small enough, that he avoided being overwhelmed.

I was pretty young, and it was a pretty small role, but I did do some press for that - I did a Potter Con thing at some point, which was cool, and again, the fans were really enthusiastic and supportive and respectful. But it didn't have any effect on my life growing up, other than the fact that I'd done it. I never actually got noticed on the street for 'Harry Potter'. I did it at such a young age, when I was going through puberty and changing up my hair and how I looked. And I feel like there aren't many Potterheads in the area where I grew up.

You can read the full interview here and check out a few photos from the magazine shoot below, along with a video in which Fiennes-Tiffin and After costar Josephine Langford ponder a few fan theories.



Star Wars Celebration 2019 wrapped up this week in Chicago, and fans in attendance were treated to not only the new trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker but plenty of Warwick Davis (Griphook/Filius Flitwick) as well! The actor took turns on both sides of the microphone as an interviewee and, finally, host of the much-anticipated Phantom Menace 20th anniversary celebration panel, and you can watch videos of both below.




Timothy Spall's (Peter Pettigrew) upcoming television miniseries, Summer of Rockets, has a new trailer, released last week by BBC Two. The semi-autobiographical show centers on Russian-born Jewish inventor Samuel and his family after he's approached by MI5 and asked to spy on his friends. Spall portrays one of those friends, Lord Arthur Wallington. The series is set to premiere in May.



While we're sure Professors Sprout and McGonagall got along famously at Hogwarts, in the real world, Miriam Margolyes (Pomona Sprout) admitted to the Mirror last week that she's a bit terrified of both Dame Maggie Smith and Dame Judi Dench. Margolyes recalled working with the pair on the 2005 film Ladies in Lavender.



[Dench] is not a bit relaxing, she is terrifying. She is very direct, and she doesn't suffer fools. I was a bit foolish, and it was when we were doing 'Ladies in Lavender'; it was her and Maggie Smith and me, and let's face it, that's a bit scary. I didn't know what to do, and I sat there in the room and said, 'Shall we talk about acting?' And I think they thought that was a bit bloody stupid. Maggie Smith said, 'No, let's not.' I think they think I might be a bit silly, and they might be right there.

Margolyes also recently took a jaunt around Europe and the United States to film her upcoming BBC Two two-part series, Miriam's Dead Good Adventure.



The 77-year-old actress confronts her own mortality in the show by visiting American and European communities and learning from both people resisting the end of life and those facing the inevitable head-on, ultimately learning "the end of life doesn't have to be the end of joy." You can read a Q&A with Margolyes about the show here. The first part of the series airs this Sunday, and the second on Sunday, April 28.

Just a quick check-in with Bill Nighy (Rufus Scrimgeour) and... nope, we still don't know what character he'll be playing in Pokémon: Detective Pikachu. But you'll want to watch the latest video anyway. The mock screen tests of various Pokémon are adorable.



Robert Pattinson's (Cedric Diggory) film High Life was finally released to US audiences Friday, and the actor and director Claire Denis recently spoke to Den of Geek and the A.V. Club about filming the unusual movie. Pattinson said he was happy to come in on the ground floor of the project.

I think it's nicer to start something when it wasn't completely set in stone. There was very, very strong elements to it, but I think for something that seemed quite an audacious project, it seemed like it's less daunting to approach if there's a lot of space for you to kind of develop it.

Denis, meanwhile, had high praise for Pattinson.

With Robert, I was a little afraid. I thought maybe that he was too young, maybe too iconic. But we got along so well, and he understood everything so well. I forgot who he was. With Robert, it's easy to forget. He is very graceful and easy to work with. He's very intelligent. You don't spend every week going, 'Oh my God, I'm working with a movie star.'

We let you know last month to keep an eye out for Katie Leung (Cho Chang) in Sir Colin Callender's (co-producer of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) four-part series Chimerica, and tonight's the night! The series debuts this evening on Channel 4. Leung portrays Liuli in the show and told the Daily Record that all she could say about the role is that "I'm a politically active character who is fighting for justice." You can view the official trailer below.



Leung also addressed a few Potter-related topics with the newspaper. The Record asked Leung's thoughts on the ongoing debate over the prevalence of Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindewald's romantic relationship, with the actress responding, "It's [J.K. Rowling's] story. She can do what she wants, and it's wonderful to include that aspect to the story." She also said she does still get spotted by Potterheads around London, where she resides, and that she doesn't mind a bit. "It's always wonderful to be recognized, as it goes to show how big the films were and how kids are still watching it today."

The label behind such artists as Oasis, My Bloody Valentine, and Primal Scream will be the subject of a new movie directed by Nick Moran (Scabior). Creation Stories is based on Alan McGee's autobiography, The Creation Records Story: Riots, Raves and Running a Label, which, Deadline Hollywood says details the highs and lows of running the label. Moran was happy to have executive producer Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) sign on to the project this week.

Working as a team with Danny on this film is a dream. He is a visionary, the most important British filmmaker since Tony Richardson, rightly regarded as one of the best directors in the world today and one of the most successful.

Audiences in the US were introduced to A Discovery of Witches character Juliette (Elarica Johnson, cafe waitress in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) this past weekend on BBC America and AMC. The Sky One television series made its way across the pond this month and is airing Sundays on the two networks. Sky has also announced the show has been renewed for second and third seasons, with Season 2 expected to begin production later this year.



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We've got news about a pair of David Heyman (Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts producer) projects this week. The InBetween, a crime drama about a clairvoyant who aids law enforcement in solving cases that we told you about in late 2018, has been slated for a May 29 premiere on NBC.

Meanwhile, new action has been taken on a longstanding Heyman project: Methuselah, a film adaptation of the biblical story of a man who lived for more than 900 years. Deadline Hollywood says Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther) has been cast in the titular role in place of Tom Cruise, who was attached to the project in 2016. The film remains in the development stage.

Things are apparently going swimmingly in preparation for Disney's next planned live-action remake project: The Little Mermaid. As we previously reported, Tim Burke (Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts visual effects supervisor) will lend his talents to the film, and HN Entertainment said this week that production is expected to begin in April 2020, with a projected wrap in August 2020. Voice work could begin as early as January 2020, though no actors have as yet been attached to the project. Lin-Manuel Miranda, however, is confirmed to be teaming up with Alan Menken to do the music.

Fantastic Beasts Cast & Crew

You'll want to dash on in to Madame Tussauds in Orlando, Florida, after Attractions Magazine revealed this week that Ezra Miller's (Credence Barebone) the Flash has been added, along with Cyborg, to the Justice League exhibit at the wax museum. The Flash is posed in an alleyway featuring original artwork from the film, and you can check out a photo and video below.




And while it's still up in the air whether Miller will be playing the Flash in the superhero's planned standalone film, digital artist Brian Fiallos gave us an excellent idea of how the actor would have looked in Flash's Knightmare suit from the sequence in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. (Awesome. He would've looked awesome.)



Zoë Kravitz (Leta Lestrange) is returning to her role as Bonnie Carlson in Season 2 of HBO's Big Little Lies, and the network released an official teaser trailer for the new series this week.



Meryl Streep will be joining the cast this season, and the show is scheduled to premiere June 9. As we also told you last year, Kravitz is tabbed to play the female version of the main character from the 1995 novel High Fidelity in an upcoming series adaptation, and while that 10-episode project was initially intended to be released on Disney+, it's apparently become a bit more "mature" than Disney is comfortable with, prompting a switch to Hulu. There's no release date yet for the series, but we'll let you know!

UK footwear and accessories retailer Kurt Geiger has announced Gemma Chan (Madam Ya Zhou) as the face of its spring/summer 2019 marketing campaign, "Characterful Style." The actress says she feels the pieces complement her eclectic style.

[I describe my look] as laid-back day-to-day but dramatic and experimental when the occasion calls for it. Heels for the red carpet but otherwise mostly flats. I like to be comfortable!



Chan, who has become immensely popular in the fashion world for her innate style, also appears on the April cover of Allure.



A comedy-horror film starring Jessica Williams (Eulalie Hicks) that premiered this year at the Sundance Film Festival will now head to London, where it will be featured in that city's Sundance 2019 lineup. Corporate Animals follows a group of coworkers dragged on a team-building trip to New Mexico by the egotistical CEO (Demi Moore) of their edible cutlery company. When the staff members become trapped underground, they must pull together in order to survive. Pictured below, Williams discusses the film and her role as Jess at Sundance in Utah.



MuggleNet let you know in March, Netflix's Last Kingdom, which stars Toby Regbo (teen Albus Dumbledore) as Aethelred and Ian Hart (Quirinus Quirrell, Harry Potter) as Beocca, is due for a Season 4, and SyFy Wire has announced that season has now begun filming in Budapest. SyFy also says it looks as though Aethelred will be graduating from minor-league troublemaker to Marauder-level antagonist this season. We can't wait!

Kevin Guthrie's (Abernathy) latest picture, Connect, which we detailed for you last month as a film intended to confront the high rate of suicides among young males in the UK, particularly Scotland, is raising awareness about men's mental health.

The Times says Connect is helping to spark a needed conversation. "The striking film is a call to action to widen the conversation about an often unspoken issue so prevalent in Scotland." The newspaper says the role of Brian is played "with heartbreaking subtlety" by Guthrie and will screen in the Scottish parliament in May to help raise awareness. The movie will also return to Scotland in August for Fringe by the Sea and in July for the Lomond Film Festival.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Cast & Crew

Channel 4 drama The Virtues, which was announced back in 2017 as being co-written by Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child cowriter) and Shane Meadows, is finally on the horizon. RadioTimes says the show will make its premiere in the UK in May, and we'll let you know as soon as a specific date has been set.

Our wizarding world favorites are certainly involved in some incredible projects, and we can’t wait to see what else surfaces next week! Until then, let us know what you think in the comments!

Brienne Green

I'm a passionate journalist, feeding my wizarding world obsession on MuggleNet by night, forever trying to find ways to work "Potter" references into high school sports stories by day. When not writing, I can be often be found making quiche at 2 a.m., playing Queen tunes on the piano, or talking (and talking and talking) about Sirius Black.