Castium Revelio: Save the Stage – Support a Theater

Times are hard all over right now, but that’s particularly true for the theater industry. As theaters all over the world remain dark, many actors, writers, directors, producers, and behind-the-scenes staff members are struggling to make ends meet. But in true the-show-must-go-on spirit, many shows are being streamed in an effort to aid those who work in the industry and other charities in need as well, and you can read about several efforts below. With vaccines now on offer, hope remains high that the pandemic can be brought under control in the new year and the boards can be trodden once again! Castium Revelio!

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Harry Potter Cast & Crew

Deadline Hollywood reported this weekend that the opioid drama Crisis, starring Gary Oldman (Sirius Black) as Dr. Tyrone Brower, Armie Hammer, and Evangeline Lilly, has been acquired by Quiver Distribution. Quiver plans to release the film in theaters on February 26, 2021, followed by an on-demand release on March 5, 2021. The story will be told from several perspectives:

In a series of interwoven story lines, a drug trafficker arranges a multi-cartel Fentanyl smuggling operation; an architect recovering from an Oxycodone addiction tracks down the truth behind her son's disappearance; and a university professor battles unexpected revelations about his employer, a pharmaceutical company bringing a new 'non-addictive' painkiller to market.

Meanwhile, former president Barack Obama has released his annual list of films, television shows, and music that tickled his fancy over the past year. And considering we all spent plenty of time binging all of the above in 2020, this list may well be his most significant to date. Notably appearing on it are Mank, starring Oldman, and The Queen's Gambit, starring Harry Melling (Dudley Dursley).

As MuggleNet let you know in October, Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange) is narrating a new animated version of Sir Quentin Blake's Clown for Channel 4, and the actress spoke with the Sunday Times about the half-hour special, set to air on Christmas Day.

The clown has been discarded on Christmas night, rejected and forgotten, and the story is about how he's found again and how, through being loved, he comes to life. It's very poetic and touching. The pathos of the clown. [...] I'm narrating, although I think the cartoon might have been better without me. For the genuine children watching, it may help to have my voice guiding them through the story. It has no words as a book, so I'm not doing any characters. I am just the voice-of-God narrator. Voice of God. I like that. I'll try that on my children – 'I am the voice of God today!'

Bonham Carter also offered a bit of advice to wistful parents this strange holiday season: Don't let your growing children take their childhoods away from you.

These toys are the classic result of children growing up. They are discarded, and it's an emblem of age. ['The Velveteen Rabbit'] is losing its ears, but that's because it's been so loved. You and me, our faces can sag and our bits can fall off, but that's because we are being loved. [...] You hold on to your children's childhood. Don't let them take it away. Carry on dancing. Spread the word! Parents and teenagers: Carry on dancing!

 

Helena Bonham Carter clowns around in a ruffled collar and bowler hat in a photo shoot for "Clown."

 

Helena Bonham Carter sits alongside an illustration from "Clown."

 

Helena Bonham Carter records narration for "Clown."

 

The 2021 Sundance Film Festival will be a virtual affair due to continued pandemic precautions, and the festival announced its lineup this week. Among the slate of films set to premiere is Mass, starring Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy). Sundance will run January 28–February 3, 2021, and you can read the full synopsis for Isaacs's movie below.

Imagine the most dreaded, tense, and emotionally draining interaction you could find yourself in and multiply it by 10. That is exactly what two sets of parents – Richard (Reed Birney), Linda (Ann Dowd), Jay (Isaacs), and Gail (Martha Plimpton) – are facing. Years after a tragedy caused by Richard and Linda’s son tore all their lives apart, Jay and Gail are finally ready to talk, perhaps even ready to forgive. In his impressive screenwriting and directorial debut, acclaimed actor Fran Kranz ponders ways in which people process grief, look for answers, and find the strength to persevere. Kranz uses the formal confines of this chamber piece to his advantage, creating tension and ambience filled with awkwardness from the outset. Much of this film’s emotional impact lies in its rigor, impeccable direction, and stunning performances from all members of the cast. Mass is a thoughtful, beautifully executed ode to humanity – in all its flawed and messy glory.

MuggleNet let you know last time about the Donmar Warehouse's holiday livestream from London, England, featuring Imelda Staunton (Dolores Umbridge) and her husband, Jim Carter. We now have a few first-look images to share. You can check those out in the gallery below, and be sure to tune in to the Donmar's YouTube channel anytime until January 5, 2021, to see the show!

 

 

Staunton and her Talking Heads castmates have also recently donated £300,000 to the Theatre Artists' Fund, money gleaned from international sales of their streamed production.

BBC One is preparing for the return of detective drama Baptiste in its second season, and the network released some first-look images last week of Tchéky Karyo in the titular role of Julien Baptiste and Fiona Shaw (Petunia Dursley) as British ambassador Emma Chambers. Baptiste will be using his skills this season to locate Chambers's husband and two sons – who have disappeared while on a ski trip to Hungary – but must be prepared when the case turns into something "far more brutal and desperate," the Radio Times says. You can view the images below, and we'll keep you posted on premiere dates.

 

Fiona Shaw walks through the woods with her "Baptiste" costar in a still image from Season 2.

 

Fiona Shaw is pictured in a still image from Season 2 of "Baptiste."

 

Welsh steam locomotive Ivor the Engine is back after more than four decades in a film project that was carried out over the course of lockdown and features the vocal talents of Rhys Ifans (Xenophilius Lovegood), Eddie Izzard, and Rob Brydon. In addition, seven new stories have also been released as part of an audiobook titled Ivor the Engine and Friends. Ifans tells the story of Ivor's Birthday, and all proceeds from the purchase of the audiobook benefit LATCH, a charity that supports children being treated in the oncology unit of the Children's Hospital of Wales. We'll keep you posted about the film, and in the meantime, click the button below to purchase the audiobook!

Buy on Amazon
 

Netflix is developing an animated film adaptation of Kate DeCamilo's book The Magician's Elephant, and Miranda Richardson (Rita Skeeter) and Dawn French (the Fat Lady, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) are set to lend their voices to the project. The book follows Peter on his search for his long-lost sister. After encountering a fortune teller, he is tasked with finding a mysterious elephant and the magician who can conjure it. There's no word yet on which characters Richardson and French will play, but we'll keep an eye out!

Sir Kenneth Branagh (Gilderoy Lockhart) has agreed to worldwide distribution for his upcoming semiautobiographical film Belfast, Raidió Teilifís Éireann reports. Starring Ciarán Hinds (Aberforth Dumbledore), Dame Judi Dench, and Jamie Dornan, the movie is in postproduction and set for a 2021 theater release. Focus Features will handle the United States rights, and Universal Pictures International will distribute it to the rest of the world.

Branagh is also joining Olivia Colman and others for a reading of Peter Pan, with all proceeds going toward the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity (GOSH). Author J.M. Barrie gifted the rights to his famous tale to the hospital in 1929, but with theaters unable to make use of them for charity purposes this year, the facility has missed out on royalties it relies on to stay afloat. Cast members are reading the play in four half-hour chapters, and you can visit the effort's official website for more information on how to listen online on Christmas Eve.

United Kingdom Love Actually fans – and those who are ambivalent as well, since it's not like we can stop it coming around at Christmastime – will want to test their knowledge of all things convoluted relationship by taking part in Comic Relief's The Ultimate Love Actually Christmas Quiz!

 

 

As you can see in the video above, Martine McCutcheon (Natalie in Love Actually) is hosting the festive exam, with Bill Nighy (Rufus Scrimgeour in Harry Potter, Billy Mack in Love Actually) and other stars of the film joining in. Director Richard Curtis will also pop in to reveal behind-the-scenes secrets. A minimum £5 donation must be made to benefit Comic Relief. Again, the quiz is available only to residents of the UK, so if that's you, head off and have fun!

David Tennant (Barty Crouch Jr.) and Michael Sheen are gearing up for the Season 2 premiere of their popular lockdown series Staged, and the pair spoke with the Radio Times ahead of an appearance on The Graham Norton Show. The two revealed they'd not met writer Simon Evans prior to developing the show – and still haven't.

Sheen: We brought stuff to it, and as he got to know us slowly, I became more horrible.

Tennant: And I became more pathetic!

Episode 1 of the new season is set to air on January 4, 2021.

The December 22 Netflix premiere of After We Collided is coming up, and Hero Fiennes-Tiffin (11-year-old Tom Riddle) spoke with PopSugar about the differences between the sequel and the original film, After, as well as the challenges of book-to-film adaptation.

One of the biggest differences, for me, is in the fact that we changed directors. The second movie is a very different style, and it has a wider variety of themes and genres that it plays on. I mean, there's more comedic aspects, and I think we've aimed to play with it a bit more. The first one was definitely a bit more linear in terms of style of movie. [...] You want to keep everyone happy and give them a version that's still acceptable on the screen. A lot of it is a challenge to turn it from a book to a movie and keep everyone happy because the story, unfortunately, has to change so much. People have been throwing around the term 'Book Hardin,' and it's been really tough to try and keep everyone happy in bringing 'Book Hardin' to life. It's really tough because you've got so many amazing fans who've supported the books from well before they were ever going to be made into movies. They've fallen in love with the characters and story lines that are in the book, and it's just physically impossible to condense that much material into a movie.

"Ya don't say," said literally everyone involved with Harry Potter.

We finally have some fresh news on The Green Knight, featuring Ralph Ineson (Amycus Carrow): The movie has a release date! Originally planned to debut in May, the film will now hit theaters on July 30, 2021. To jog your memory, check out the previously released teaser below.

 

 

Jessica Hynes (voice of Mafalda Hopkirk) took part last week in a live reading of Agatha Christie's Spider's Web, and New Frame Productions shared a few images that also feature Sir Derek Jacobi. Proceeds from the effort supported Acting for Others and the Theatre Support Fund.

 

 

Deadline Hollywood has reported that The Flight Attendant creator Steve Yockey is developing an hour-long drama for David Heyman's (producer) Heyday Television. The show will be based on Ted Chiang's 2013 short story, "The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling," and will basically take viewers inside a technological Pensieve. With characters able to access exact recalls of their pasts, the story "combines a kidnapping with a messy adult love story in a cautionary tale about privacy in the modern world."

It's a Sin, starring Stephen Fry (narrator, UK Harry Potter audiobooks), is coming up on its January 2021 premiere on Channel 4, and a new teaser has been released on Twitter. Enjoy it below, and look out for Fry around the 18-second mark!

 

Fantastic Beasts Cast & Crew

As MuggleNet let you know last month, Ezra Miller (Credence Barebone) is starring as the Trashcan Man in the CBS All Access adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand – available now – and CinemaBlend spoke with producers Benjamin Cavell and Taylor Elmore about his performance. Elmore noted that in the first telephone conversation with Miller regarding the role, Miller stated, "'Trashcan Man is not a pyromaniac. Trashcan Man is pyromania.' And we were like, 'Okay, you're on that. You get this.'" Miller's character will be introduced in the sixth episode of the series, which is set to air on January 21, 2021.

The Independent Filmmaker Project's (IFP) Gotham Awards have added a new annual honor – the Ensemble Tribute – and the inaugural award will go to The Trial of the Chicago 7, starring Eddie Redmayne (Newt Scamander). The IFP says the award is meant to recognize "dynamic and noteworthy cast on screen and celebrate their collective effort and contributions to the film's narrative."

Not that there were many opportunities for celebrities to show off their fashion sense in 2020, but GQ has run down its list of the year's ten most stylish women regardless. Zoë Kravitz (Leta Lestrange) has appropriately made that list, coming in at number four. "Whether it's red-carpet glamour or off-duty looks, she wears everything with a sense of nonchalance – her most recent turns in black leather as Catwoman being an excellent case in point," the magazine states.

 

Zoë Kravitz poses in a slinky long-sleeved top and jeans.

 

We let you know in September about Josh Cowdery's (Henry Shaw Jr.) role as Mike Peters in Fate: The Winx Saga – a new Netflix series based on Nickelodeon's Winx Club – and a teaser has arrived! The first season will debut on January 22, 2021.

 

Cursed Child Cast & Crew

London, England, is again ramping up its pandemic restrictions, and some of the biggest names in theater are calling the decision "devastating," the Evening Standard reports. Producer Sonia Friedman said the move "both could and should have been avoided."

This latest closure under Tier 3 underlines – unequivocally – the urgent need for a government-backed insurance scheme, as already provided to film and television, for meaningful compensation to mitigate impending losses incurred by productions forced to close, and for targeted support for freelance workers unable to take advantage of the furlough scheme. This feels like a final straw: proof that this government does not understand theatre and the existential crisis it is facing. Its short-sightedness is starting to look like serial mismanagement.

London has since gone a step further into Tier 4.

Our love is with the theater industry during this difficult time, and if you're able, please consider donating to the Actors Fund in the United States and/or Acting for Others in the United Kingdom.

Season 2 of His Dark Materials is drawing to a close, and Comics Beat sat down with writer Jack Thorne (playwright) to discuss his approach to writing child characters.

I love stories that try and tell what childhood is like. I think if I am any good at it, it's because I didn't have many friends as a kid. I spent a lot of time looking at other kids and going, 'How do you survive? Why do people like you and not like me? And why are you good at that, and I'm terrible at this?' And if you are that kid that sits at the back and thinks a lot, and watches people and tries to understand them, I think that does give you some useful skills in life.

And so the curtain comes down on yet another edition of MuggleNet’s Casting News, but we’ll be back next week for more updates on your Wizarding World favorites!

 

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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.