Rowling Still Working on Beasts3 Script

Eddie Redmayne told a reporter at the Toronto Film Festival last week that “the script is still being worked on.”

ET Online: Do you have a Fantastic Beasts 3 update for us?
Eddie Redmayne: We’re meant to start shooting in the beginning of next year. The script is still being worked on. There’s nothing – I’m literally giving you nothing!

I’m trying to do that thing of talking about it and saying nothing, because of the fear of getting told off. But no, it’s happening, and it’s really exciting.

The man sounds positively petrified of saying something he shouldn’t (or is that just his response to a reporter asking him about a film other than the one he is supposed to be talking about?). Regardless of Redmayne, we now have to add that answer to the pile of possible answers to the question, “What is The Presence doing if she’s not tweeting every day?” The speech for the Robert Kennedy Do-Gooder Award ceremony in December can’t be a full time job, can it?

For those of you following the Beasts film franchise, the good news is that Redmayne’s comments do not suggest any delays in the filming or release dates for Beasts3. That last is a year after the elections here in the US… (did you know that Moaning Myrtle’s real name is ‘Elizabeth Warren’?)

In more exciting news. here is the trailer for the film Fast Eddie was in Toronto to promote, The Aeronauts, an historical fiction due in theaters or via Amazon Prime this December.

See You at Queen City Magic Festival?

I am just off the phone with Prof Louise Freeman, and, yes, we will both be speaking at the Queen City Mischief and Magic Festival (QCMM) this 26-29 September. The Queen City is charming Staunton, Virginia, home to both Mary Baldwin University and the American Shakespeare Center, in the Shenandoah Valley. I couldn’t be happier or more excited. This is a super fan gathering in a beautiful city that turns itself into Hogsmeade for a weekend, a conference that has a little bit of everything and all of it fun and festive.

I trust Louise will tell you more in the coming weeks but here is my hasty introduction to those new to QCMM. From the festival’s website home page:

Wizards and muggles from near and far descend upon Staunton, Virginia for the annual Queen City Mischief & Magic. With a touch of wizardry, the historic downtown is transformed into a magical village, offering themed shopping, dining and hands-on activities for all ages.

Experiment with potions. Enjoy delicious wizard fare and libations. Try your hand at wild beast taming or wizard dueling.

Visitors are greeted by Norberta the Dragon, where selfies and costumes are encouraged. Unlock the secrets of Staunton’s bewitching historic downtown using our Mischief Map. Use Traipse, the free app, to explore our walkable downtown while solving puzzles designed to tickle every wizard’s brain… and maybe find a few treasures along the way.

This is not an academic conference, in other words, akin to either the annual MLA gathering in Albuquerque or the Chestnut Hill College colloquium. QCMM is a fan gathering with a serious egghead side-show of talks about the Harry Potter books and films, talks accessible to all levels of readers. HogwartsProfessor.com faculty will be featured this year in that aspect of the festival; I’ll be talking about ‘Why We Love Harry Potter’ and Prof Freeman, a Psychology Professor and licensed Behavior Analyst, will discuss ‘Magic and Mental Health.’ In addition to my keynote talk, I’ll be speaking at a local church and in several Mary Baldwin classrooms.

The conference House-elves have a tentative schedule and plan for venues that will be posted soon on the QCMM website, QueenCityMagic.com. My plan is to arrive Thursday afternoon, and, if at all possible, to catch a play that night at the American Shakespeare Center’s mind-blowing Blackfriar’s Playhouse.

Need I add that I hope to see you there? ‘Not One, but count ’em, Two HogwartsProfessors!’ It promises to be a lot of fun, a feast in fact with a significant helping of quality idea-sharing about the Hogwarts Saga — with a side order of Cormoran Strike — followed by dessert with the Bard — and drinks later at the Hogs Head with other serious readers. I can’t wait.

I learned at the Roanoke Generic Magic Festival in 2017 and its more than 8,000 participants that, indeed, ‘Virginia is For Wizards.’ Join Prof Freeman and me in Staunton 26-29 September 2019 for a fan conference that is free, city-wide (as in ‘check out all the blocked off streets!’), and chock-full of exciting vendors, venues, and visiting Wizard magi. All you need to do is show-up, and, yes, you can bring the whole famn damily in Muggle or wizard regalia, and, of course, you’ll have the time of your lives!

Two New (Sort of!) JKRowling.com Posts

Yesterday Rowling broke her Twitter platform silence of eight months with a post and a retweet of a PotterMore posting about the new logo and tagline for ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ (‘J. K. Rowling Returns to Twitter‘).

She also reposted a January 2017 post, ‘Cursed Child Film Rumours,’ at her JKRowling.com website about rumors of a Daniel-Emma-Rupert film production of ‘Cursed Child.’ She says this rumor is “rubbish:”

I have no idea how these stories emerge, but to set the record straight once and for all: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a stage play, it was conceived and written as a stage play, it was always intended to be a stage play and nothing else, and there are absolutely no plans for it to become a movie, a novel, a puppet show, a cartoon, a comic book series or Cursed Child on Ice.

And she posted another link, much like her Twitter re-tweeting, to the PotterMore story about the Times Square logo-and-tag-line unveiling: ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Takes over Times Square.’ That posting included this video.

Three short notes:

(1) The excitement about these events which even we are obliged to note are of no importance whatsoever, the change in logo-tagline of a Broadway play and an author’s return to a social media platform (!), testifies to the currency and vitality of Harry Potter’s status as the global shared text.

(2) If any conclusions are to be drawn from the JKRowling.com twin postings on top of the return to Twitter, my first guesses would be (a) it’s a business decision to use the tweeting platform with more than 14 million followers to highlight marketing events representing no little investment (how much do you think it cost to pull off that Times Square event about essentially nothing beyond reviving interest in a smash hit that may be showing signs of jumping the shark? To make the logo square with books and film logo?) and, (b) Rowling herself may be not totally on board with this. That reposting on her website of the 2017 denial of a movie production in the offing (2026?) sounds a bit like a ‘note to self’ (and to the world) that she is not really a prisoner of Rowling, Inc.’s mercenary concerns.

(3) Does anyone out there doubt that eventually, perhaps as with Tolkien “well after the author’s demise,” this play will be adapted into a movie and that there will be a Harry Potter movie re-booting, as well as a television series, opera, and Ice-Capades? If Christopher Tolkien couldn’t stop it, Rowling won’t be able to, and, given her charity concerns and commitments, I have to wonder at how long she will hold out against pressure externally from Warner Brothers and internally from Lumos and Volant.

Potted Potter in Las Vegas Until January

I confess that, when I read about this ‘Potted Potter’ show and its current run in Las Vegas, I thought of James Thomas’ Repotting Harry Potter: A Professor’s Book-by-Book Guide for the Serious Re-Reader, one of the first and still among the best of ancillary texts to the Hogwarts Saga. If you haven’t read it, you really should.

Instead ‘Potted Potter’ from its website page seems to be a two-man show that grew out of street theater which was meant to entertain those waiting in line outside bookstores in the UK for the 2005 release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Is it any good? I suppose it must have its moments, right? The seven book saga in seventy minutes, judging from the clip above, though, hardly seems like anything justifying a stage production outside of a fan convention’s ‘Best Of’ amateur hour, i.e., something akin to StarKidz.

Please let me know, though, if you’ve seen the show and what you think!

Addendum: HogwartsProfessor’s Prof Louise Freeman attended the show in 2012 and wrote a review, ‘Potted Potter Professor,’ that, without spoiling the show, tells you all you need to know about it!

The Duchess of Malfi (1972)

The Duchess of Malfi, a play by John Webster, makes up much of the backdrop to Robert Galbraith’s The Silkworm and its literary antecedents, namely, Agatha Christie’s Sleeping Murder and P. D. James’ The Skull Beneath the Skin (see my discussion of this influence here). You had a wonderful education indeed if you read this play or saw it performed as a young person in the United States, where, in my experience at least, ‘Early Modern Drama’ means ten generous helpings of Shakespeare at least to any condiment-sized presentations or discussion of Jonson, Kyd, or Webster.

I was delighted to find, consequently, a British production pf Duchess of Malfi in period costume available free online. I reproduce its first four parts below and provide a link to the rest of the show at the end for your easy access. Free online texts if you choose to read before viewing or while watching can be found at Gutenberg.com as plain text, at LarryAvisBrown.com with notes, and at FullBooks.com as poetry per the Arden edition.

For the remaining nine parts of this production, see the full collection on YouTube. Enjoy — and let me know what you think in the comment boxes below!