Friday, December 23, 2005
Pre-XMAS Friday Star Wars Pics
AND BEFORE WE LOOK AT THE PRETTY PICTURES, HERE'S SOMETHING TO KICK OFF YOUR XMAS WEEKEND IN TOTALLY STAR WARS WEIRDNESS -----
Silent Night Wookiee Night
If Chewbacca singing Silent Night doesn't lift your spirits, well I just don't know what will!
Check out the Wookiee version of Silent Night right here!
Vader's torso and chestplate are modeled for reference purposes during the making of the original Star Wars.
The "wide corridor" of the Trade Federation cruiser -- where the ray shield trap and Shaak Ti's death were to occur -- was initially realized as this study model, complete with a to-scale Obi-Wan maquette.
Dermot Power's costume illustration that helped define Madame Jocasta Nu. EDITOR'S NOTE: SHE LOOKS LIKE SOMETHING OUT OF THE BROTHER'S GRIMM, DOESN'T SHE?
The lumbering IW-37 pincer droid has repulsorlift counterweights mounted on its back that help it balance its heavy loads.
An overflowing fuel tank and charged pylons do not make a good mixture, as a seen cut from Episode III would demonstrate. Ryan Church illustrates the environment in this piece.
The Prop Department crafted this handheld device for Anakin to hold in the summer of 2003. No word if it is capable of playing UMD movies.
A very early storyboard, not attributed to any artist, depicts the crew of the Falcon -- Han, Luke and Chewie -- in a very different form. EDITOR'S NOTE: CHEWIE LOOKS A BIT LIKE HE'S OFF HIS MEDS, HUH? (GIGGLE)
The production art department crafted this maquette of Padmé's veranda, one of the largest practical sets constructed for Episode III.
For their role in defeating the Death Star, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo each recieve a ceremonial medallion. Chewbacca will have to wait for his...
Thursday, December 22, 2005
A Very STAR WARS Christmas
Fabulous Fabriché Figures
For those looking to spice up their holiday décor with some Star Wars flair, Kurt Adler has an all new series of Fabriché figurines inspired by some of our favorite characters from that galaxy far, far away.
Kurt Adler's trademarked Fabriché line, a term which is an amalgam of the words "fabric" and "mache" (as in papier-mache), has traditionally offered classic holiday figures such as Santas, angels, etc. This year, however, the line has expanded to include other properties, including Star Wars.
True to its namesake, the Fabriché figures have a body made of a combination of plastic and hardened paper. The signature Fabriché look, however, is characterized by realistically "wrinkled" fabric, which was actually tweaked a bit for line's new Yoda in Santa outfit figure.
Kurt Adler's Manager of Product Development and Licensing Cyndi Foley explains:
"The outside (clothing and accessories) is fabric usually stiffened (like vacuum-sealed food where it is all wrinkled and stiff), a look which has proven very popular with collectors. In Star Wars' case, the stiffened look didn't look too good on Yoda -- it aged him a lot. So, we decided on softer, less stiffened fabrics and accessories. Hence, the final look of the piece."
While the Yoda and R2-D2 figures were inspired by an early pair of whimsical Lucasfilm holiday cards painted by Ralph McQuarrie, C-3PO was a new design crafted in the same spirit as McQuarrie's originals.
"Initially, it was proposed that C-3PO could be a drummer boy," says Lucasfilm's Manager of Global Product Development Chris Spitale, "but we thought it was more in character for him to be tangled up in Christmas lights (kind of like he was tangled in wires in A New Hope) and holding a wreath."
The Fabriché Star Wars trio has proven very popular with collectors in recent months, with stores unable to keep them on the shelves. "This line has been the most successfully licensed Fabriché item we have ever had in our history, especially Yoda," EDITOR'S NOTE: CAUSE NOTHING SAYS CHRISTMAS LIKE A WHINY MUPPET. says Foley. "Most of our sales staff had placed reorders in October (unheard of) and we are completely sold out until 2006!"
According to Foley, when the figures do appear again next year, they will be accompanied by a new fourth figure in the series: Darth Vader building a Death Star out of snow. EDITOR'S NOTE: GIGGLE. THE DARKSIDE DOES HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR!
Kurt Adler has also produced the towering 18" Darth Vader nutcracker, which comes from the popular hand-crafted Steinbach line of Germany, an item which Foley also says has far exceeded expectations.
"We are accustomed to selling 100 pieces of any given Steinbach; we have sold nearly 2,000 pieces [of the Darth Vader nutcracker]! We originally had a 150-piece run because we thought it might not be as popular as other licenses, plus it was being presented very late in March or April (our selling season for such items started January 1). Boy, were we wrong!"
EDITOR'S NOTE: LEAVING NO DWEEB UN-CELEBRATED, UNCLE G ALSO HAS SOMETHING FOR THOSE OF US OF A CHANUKAH PERSUASION.....
Droidel, Droidel, Droidel
Make Your Own Droidel Dreidel EDITOR'S NOTE: GIGGLE. (HAVING THAT SILLY DREIDEL SONG STUCK IN MY HEAD FOR THE REST OF THE DAY IS A SMALL PRICE TO PAY FOR A DWEEB SPIN....SNICKER/SPIN?.....ON THE WORLD'S DULLEST HOLIDAY GAME).
It's holiday time which means Jewish fans from around the world are celebrating Chanukah which includes playing the traditional game of dreidel.
The Yiddish word dreidel is derived from the German word drehen meaning "turn." The Hebrew word for dreidel is s'vivon.
A dreidel is a four-sided top with a symbol on each side. Each symbol represents a word which put together say in Hebrew "Nes Gadol Hayah Sham" it translates as "A Great Miracle Happened There." (However, in Israel the letters on a dreidel are changed to stand for "A Great Miracle Happened Here.")
Some religious scholars believe that the dreidel game originated during the times of the Greek-Syrians, and is closely connected to the Chanukah holiday. Because the ruling Greek-Syrians outlawed Jews from learning the Torah, the Jews needed a way to hide their studies. The dreidel became a clever decoy. When Jewish students saw the Greek-Syrians coming, they would hide their books and play with dreidels instead, which tricked the Syrians into thinking they were just playing a harmless game. EDITOR'S NOTE: NOT THE SHARPEST STICKS, THOSE GREEK-SYRIANS, HUH?
In this Star Wars variation, the dreidel and the droid R2-D2 combine to make Droidel!
Print out the PDF and follow these instructions to construct your very own paper Droidel.
How To Make a Paper Droidel:
1. Print out the Droidel PDF and glue it to a thin piece of cardstock or cardboard like from a cereal box
2. Once the glue is dry, have an adult carefully cut it out along the edges (including the flaps). Also cut out R2-D2's circle dome. EDITOR'S NOTE: TO FIND AN ADULT, LOOK AROUND YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD FOR A WELL-MANICURED LAWN. KNOCK ON THEIR DOOR. (I'M SURE THEY WON'T MIND). BUT BE CAREFUL NOT TO RUN WITH THE SCISSORS ON THE WAY OVER TO THEIR HOUSE.
3. Carefully cut out the circle. This is where the small pencil or a straw will go -- so you can spin the dreidel like a top.
4. Fold along the lines on the inside, then glue or tape where the flaps tell you. Do the top part last.
5. Fold the top extra R2-D2 circle top into a wide cone and place on top of the dreidel with glue or tape. Make sure the holes line up.
6. Then stick in a small pencil or a straw through the holes you cut at the top.
7. Now you're read to play!
Play the Dreidel Game
How to Play the Dreidel Game:
To begin the game, each player should have 15 objects to use as prize tokens. Players can use nickels, raisins, nuts, or chocolate coins in gold wrappers (Chanukah geltEDITOR'S NOTE: REPUBLIC CREDITS?) as tokens. Each person puts one object in the middle. Then each person takes a turn at spinning the dreidel. What letter is face up when it is finished spinning determines what each person must do.Nun stands for nicht or nothing. If the dreidel lands on nun, you do nothing. And the next person spins the dreidel.
Gimel stands for gantz or all. If the dreidel lands on gimel, take everything in the middle. Everyone adds another coin in the middle to continue the game.And the next person spins the dreidel.
Hey stands for halb or half. If the dreidel lands on hey, take half of what's in the middle.And the next person spins the dreidel.
Shin stands for shtel or put in. If the dreidel lands on shin, put two objects into the middle.And the next person spins the dreidel.
The game ends when one player has all the objects! EDITOR'S NOTE: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.
If you would like to learn more about the dreidel game and other Chanukah traditions, please visit your local or school library for more detailed books. Happy Holidays!
Academy Announces Best VFX Considerations
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the films in consideration for Achievement in Visual Effects for the Academy Awards.
The seven films in consideration KING KONG, BATMAN BEGINS, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE, THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, STAR WARS: EPISODE III -- REVENGE OF THE SITH, and WAR OF THE WORLDS.
After fifteen-minute clip reels from each film are screened for the Visual Effects Award Nominating Committee on January 25th, members will vote to nominate three of the films for Oscar consideration. The nominations will be announced January 31st and the 78th Academy Awards will be presented on March 5th. EDITOR'S NOTE: TOUGH RACE THIS YEAR, HUH? (AND IF THEY SNUB UNCLE GEORGE........GRRRRR......)
BY THE BY, MORE AWARDS STUFF COMING SOON. (I'M STOCK-PILING PRE-OSCAR/PRE-GOLDEN GLOBES ITEMS. BE FOREWARNED).
NECA has released an image of their 40 inch long PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN Diorama. EDITOR'S NOTE: AND THERE'S STILL A COUPLE OF SHOPPING DAYS LEFT BEFORE SANTATIME!
The 2nd and 3rd Series of Pirates figures will connect bases, along with the Boxed Set, to form a huge diorama.
Pre-XMAS Biz News
A LA CARTE CABLE NOT IN CONSUMERS’ BEST INTEREST
Kagan Report Finds Costs Would Rise
December 20, 2005
By Chuck Ross
LOS ANGELES (AdAge.com) -- As cable operators scramble to offer family-friendly tiers to ward off a government-mandated a-la-carte system of delivering channels to customers, it's become clear that consumers' best interests are not really what's being served.
That's the conclusion to be drawn from Kagan Research's latest look at the economics of the situation.
The problem is that the underlying conclusion that set off this latest round of discussions is based on a false premise, according to Kagan. That premise, as articulated by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin and based on a yet-to-be released FCC report, is that a la carte is in the best interests of the consumer.
"It's typically not understood that expenses for TV-channel platforms would rise with a la carte," Kagan said in a release last Friday. EDITOR'S NOTE: HARD TO TELL FROM ALL THE HAND-WRINGING AND WHINING COMING FROM THE CABLE OPERATORS. BUT ACTUALLY, I THINK IT'S COMMON KNOWLDEGE...TO EVERYONE BUT THE GOVERNMENT LOOKING FOR SOMETHING BENIGN TO MISDIRECT OUR ATTENTIONS ABOUT, AND TO THE FEW MISGUIDED LOBBYISTS....THAT ALACARTE IS A BAD IDEA.
On average, Kagan reports, cable subscribers pay about $1.49 per day for a bundled package of 64 channels, about seven cents a day more than they paid per day last year, when they received four fewer channels. On an average per-hour-watched basis, subscribers pay 15 cents to 20 cents. To beat the bundle price on an a-la-carte basis, subscribers would have to choose no more than nine channels, Kagan said.
This analysis assumes that most subscribers, in an a-la-carte pricing system, would tend to order channels such as Discovery and ESPN "that are also the most expensive," Kagan said.
"Those who want to rush to a-la-carte pricing are thinking too simplistic and are not thinking through the implications," Kagan Senior Analyst Derek Baine told TelevisionWeek. EDITOR'S NOTE: LIKE I SAID....OUR GOVERNMENT AT WORK. PROTECTING US FROM THINGS THAT AREN'T REALLY A PROBLEM, WHILE THE REAL PROBLEMS....WAY TO COMPLICATED TO MAKE FOR GROOVY SOUND-BITES....GO UN-TENDED TO.
The entire push for a la carte is based on flawed thinking at an even more basic level, Mr. Baine said. "Most ironically, what started all of this was the uproar about indecency that started with the Janet Jackson incident at the Super Bowl. You hear the argument that if there [were] a-la-carte choices or family tiers, many of us would not have seen that," he said, adding that the incident with Ms. Jackson happened during the Super Bowl over mainstream broadcast TV and would not have been blocked in any homes by family tiers or an a-la-carte system. EDITOR'S NOTE: DUH.
If only half a cable operator's subscribers migrate from a basic bundle to an a-la-carte model, "TV-channel operators would need to raise per-capita channel-carriage fees by a multiple of four," Kagan said in its release.
Currently, on average, basic-cable networks derive about half their revenue from fees they get from cable operators, about 44% of their revenue from ad sales and the rest from "miscellaneous activities," according to Kagan. EDITOR'S NOTE: MISC. ACTIVITIES? DRUG SALES? PANDERING? MONEY-LAUNDERING?
"If we went to a la carte, niche channels with small audiences would never get off the ground," Mr. Baine said. "Take the Food Network, for example. If the industry had been on an a-la-carte model when it wanted to launch, it would simply have never got off the ground. But because it was part of a basic bundle, it was able to find an audience and it prospers."
A la carte is, quite simply, "a bad consumer idea," said Brad Siegel, a cable-programming veteran who is vice chairman of the 14-month-old Gospel Music Channel. It "could cost the consumer so much more money to get so much less," he added. EDITOR'S NOTE: SOMETHING WE'RE ACCUSTOMED TO FROM OUR GOVT., OF COURSE. "Anyone who advocates [a la carte] doesn't understand what the impact would be for the consumers and the financial model of the business as a whole."
However, others argue that the fact cable operators are now saying they can come up with family tiers argues for going to an a-la-carte system. That Time Warner Cable, for example, has said it now has a plan for a family tier "demonstrates that the cable industry does have the ability to offer options, when they've been claiming for many months that they can't," said Lanier Swann, director-government relations for Concerned Women for America. EDITOR'S NOTE: JUST BECAUSE THEY CAN, DOESN'T MEAN THEY SHOULD, OR THAT IT'S A GOOD IDEA. (YOU SILLY DOOFUS)
Transition to Digital Gets Closer
By STEPHEN LABATON
WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 - The House of Representatives moved early Monday to provide millions of households with coupons to buy equipment to keep their television sets working after broadcasters switch from analog to digital signals. But consumer groups warned that the new law would still impose significant costs on viewers. EDITOR'S NOTE: BUT THE PICHERS WILL BE SO PURTY!
The House measure, including a mandate to complete the transition to digital television by early 2009, was included in budget legislation approved shortly before sunrise by a vote of 212 to 206. The provisions, awaiting Senate approval, are of enormous importance to the television, cable and wireless telephone industries.
As part of the transition, the legislation would provide each household with up to two coupons worth $40 each for converter boxes to attach to analog television sets so they are not obsolete once broadcasters surrender their analog licenses on Feb. 17, 2009, as the new law would require. Not coincidentally, the date was selected to fall two weeks after the Super Bowl and a month before the widely watched National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament.
Supporters of the legislation said it would allow enough time for a smooth transition and would raise billions of dollars for the Treasury from the sale of analog spectrum licenses that will have to be surrendered by the broadcasters and are being sought by wireless telephone and broadband providers. The legislation would also set up a $1 billion program for emergency workers to upgrade their communications systems.
"A great technical revolution that has been in the making for years will finally be complete," said Representative Joe L. Barton, Republican of Texas, who heads the Energy and Commerce Committee. "We will have three years to prepare for the transition. EDITOR'S NOTE: AT THE SPEED THAT TECHNOLOGY IS ADVANCING, BUT THE TIME THE LUDDITES IN WASHINGTON GET TO THIS 'MILESTONE', I'M WILLING TO BET THE TECH WILL HAVE MOVED ON TO SOMETHING ELSE. (VERY LIKELY EXPONENTIALLY).
"That is more than enough time for manufacturers and retailers to move low-cost digital televisions and converter boxes into the market, for the Federal Communications Commission to complete the channel allocation process, for broadcasters to finalize their digital facilities, and for government and industry to prepare consumers for the transition."
But consumer groups said the money allocated for the program, $990 million to $1.5 billion, would not be nearly enough for all of the analog television sets and that, in any event, many consumers would still need to pay $20 or more to upgrade each television set in their home that is not connected to a cable or satellite service. (The converter boxes are expected to cost about $60 apiece, and the coupons cannot be combined for a single purchase.)
"This is the government making your TV go black and then only paying part of the costs for some of the people to make it work again, and none of the costs for others," said Gene Kimmelman, public policy director at Consumers Union. EDITOR'S NOTE: MAYBE PEOPLE WILL LEARN TO READ AGAIN. OR TALK TO ONE ANOTHER. (HOW HORRIBLE)
An estimated 70 million to 80 million television sets now in use are analog and are not attached to cable or satellite services, though experts say that by the completion of the transition, consumers will be using many more digital sets and fewer analog ones.
The consumer groups and some Democrats had preferred a version of the measure adopted by the Senate Commerce Committee two months ago that would have provided $3 billion for converter boxes.
The conversion to digital signals will not affect consumers who own digital television sets or subscribe to satellite services or digital cable services. But analysts and cable company executives said additional legislation might be required to enable cable companies to alter their broadcasting feeds so that the more than 50 million customers who subscribe to analog cable services would be unaffected. EDITOR'S NOTE: THE CABLE COMPANIES ARE ALREADY FORCING US OFF OF THE ANALOG BOXES. I HAD ONE EACH OF THE ANALOG AND DIGITAL BOXES AND THE ANALOG SIGNAL WENT BLACK LAST YEAR.
The cable companies have sought legislation that would allow them to convert digital signals back into analog signals before transmitting them into homes, which would be far less expensive than replacing set-top boxes in each residence.
The House legislation will raise billions of dollars for the federal Treasury from auctions for spectrum licenses that must be surrendered by broadcasters. Those licenses are desirable because of their special characteristics - they cover large distances and the signals easily penetrate buildings.
As a result, wireless telephone companies and others have been urging the quick auction of those licenses to expand their broadband and other services. The government estimates that those auctions, which will begin in 2008, could raise at least $10 billion for the Treasury as it faces growing deficits from the war in Iraq, hurricane damage in the South and the new program to produce vaccines for the avian flu.
As a practical matter, the existing did not encourage a speedy transition to digital television because it required broadcasters to surrender their analog licenses at the later of two dates - Dec. 31, 2006, or when 85 percent of households receive digital signals.
Experts said the 85 percent requirement threatened to delay the transition for many years, although broadcasters have lobbied against setting a more immediate deadline.
CABLE WINNERS INCLUDE TNT, USA AND CARTOON NETWORK
Year-End Ratings Show Cable Nabbed 55% of TV Viewing
December 20, 2005
By Abbey Klaassen
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The good news for TV networks is that TV viewing is up about 10% from five years ago. Better news for cable networks is that they’ve reaped most of that increase in viewing.
According to Turner analysis of Nielsen Media Research, while 55% of TV viewing is to cable networks, the cable industry only nabbed 31% of total prime-time advertising dollars -- a sticking point for many in the cable industry. EDITOR'S NOTE: WHINE WHINE WHINE. (SOME OF THE AD PODS ON CABLE ARE SO FREQUENT AND SO LONG, I HAVE TIME TO GO TO THE BATHROOM, MAKE MYSELF A SNACK, ...........AND GET A MASTER'S DEGREE, BEFORE THE SHOW COMES BACK ON).
But among the cable landscape, there are also clear winners and losers.
This year was no different, as Turner’s TNT won the crown for viewers 18 to 49, averaging almost 1.2 million in prime time. The network was fueled by a pair of drama series that both ranked in the top three new original cable series for the year for viewers 18 to 49. “The Closer,” starring Kyra Sedgewick,” and “Wanted” with Gary Cole both averaged more than 1.5 million viewers in the demo.
In the past two months, however, NBC Universal’s USA network has given it a formidable challenge for the title, largely due to the return of Monday night WWE “Raw” telecasts, which regularly rank among the highest-rated and most-watched cable entertainment programs. TBS, ESPN and Lifetime ranked third through fifth in viewers 18 to 49.
"Adult Swim," the late-night programming block on Cartoon Network, had a banner year, although it wasn’t rated for the full year of 2004.
In a year-end ratings presentation two weeks ago, Turner Broadcasting research chief Jack Wakshlag had some fun illustrating its delivery of adults 18-to-34, as he compared "Adult Swim" and late-night hosts Jimmy Kimmel, David Letterman, Jay Leno and Jon Stewart. All, he noted, were out-delivered by "Adult Swim."
In the kids' category, Nickelodeon managed to increase its already-formidable lead position. It finished the year in first place for kids 2-11 with 1.2 million viewers, ahead of Cartoon Network’s 774,000 and Diseny’s 747,000. The network was encouraged by an 8% increase in tween viewing as well. It scored 523,000 tweens, ages 9 to 14, and its “Zoey 101” was the third-highest-ranked tween program after Fox’s “American Idol” and CBS’s “Survivor: Palau.”
A&E’s new programming look aged downEDITOR'S NOTE: 'AGED DOWN'? DONCHA LOVE THE WAY AD PEOPLE 'DUMB' DOWN THE LANGUAGE? the network dramatically. It was up 12% in 18-to-49s and 28% in 18-to-34s. Rainbow’s AMC, meanwhile, notched 16% and 17% gains in 18-to-49s and 18-to-34s, respectively.
Hallmark Channel grew 24% in 18-to-49s. FX was up 5% in the demo and Food Network up 12%. Among music networks, BET increased its 18-to-34 demo 15%, CMT increased 24% and VH1, despite its maturity, was up 15% in 18-to-49s and 18% in 18-to-34. Spike was up 23% in 18-to-49s, but could run into trouble in 2006 without the return of its top-rated program, WWE “Raw.”
Remaining within a few percentage points of their 2004 performances were Lifetime, Comedy Central, TBS, HGTV and History Channel.
Discovery fell 12% in 18-to-49s and, despite ESPN’s insistence that the absence of hockey didn’t hurt, it’s 2005 18-to49 ratings dropped 11%. TLC tried to shore up its losses and ended the year down about 25% in all demos.
Several smaller cablers ended the year with significant gains: MTV2 will be up 48% in 18-to-34 and National Geographic will be up about 60% in 18-to-49s and 25-to-54s. Comcast’s OLN was up about 26% and Discovery Health was up 30% in18-to-49s.
Among the news channels’ 25-to-54 sales demo, CNBC was down 7%, CNN and MSNBC both up 7% and Fox News down 12%. While CNN Headline News had the most growth at 52%, Fox News remained the leader for number of 25-to-54 viewers, by an almost 80% margin. EDITOR'S NOTE: AND MY HEAVY VIEWING OF BBCAMERICA MUST SURELY HAVE TRIPLED THAT LITTLE CHANNEL'S RATINGS!
The Lord Voldemort actor recently did an interview with USA Today where he said he will reprise the role of Harry's foe in Order of the Phoenix. EDITOR'S NOTE: AN EARLY XMAS GIFT!
He also talked a little about how his slimy Voldemort, complete with a reptilian nose and gleaming skull, turned out.
"When I saw it all put together, I thought it was great. It's a long scene and was cut down a bit, and I wondered if it could have had a little more air in it."
He wasn't sure how his nose would look "because it's quite difficult technically to make that work." As for his head, "It's not a bald cap. It's all me."
For Emma Watson, the holidays mean time for serious studying
Emilie Le Beau, Special to the Tribune
Forget memorizing lines for the next Harry Potter movie, English actress Emma Watson has some serious homework to finish.
Watson, 15, plays Hermione in the "Harry Potter" movies and will start making the fifth film in February. EDITOR'S NOTE: WOOHOO! CHUGGIN RIGHT ALONG!
Until then, she'll be in school, cramming for exams like everyone else. And while Hermione adores studying, Watson isn't so thrilled about her exams.
At school, Watson also plays field hockey. And to keep in touch with Potter pals such as Daniel Radcliffe and Katie Leung during breaks, she sends text messages.
KidNews talked to Watson recently about homework, the holidays and Hermione.Q.
How will you spend the holidays?
Unfortunately, my exams are in January. For Christmas, I will be doing revising. Ugh. But still . . . [I will enjoy] just celebrating Christmas, having a bit of time off. Seeing friends and family.
Q. Which exams are you worried about?
My worst subject is chemistry. It's a killer--I hate it. My favorite subject is probably art, maybe English. But yeah, chemistry is the one that is a killer, and geography coursework is pretty painful at the moment as well.
Q. What did you think of the new Harry Potter video game?
I thought it was good. Kind of creepy though, 'cause for the first time they actually look like us. Which is kind of weird for me. . . . I was shown [the game] when I was on the set.
Q. Have you brought home any of the new "Goblet of Fire" toys?
No. I wouldn't want to because it's really creepy having dolls of myself. That's weird. EDITOR'S NOTE: BUT IT'S NOT WEIRD FOR ALL THE REST OF US TO HAVE DOLLS OF YOU, RIGHT?
Q. What do you do when someone buys you a Harry Potter-themed gift?
I've had some things like Harry Potter T-shirts, and I just can't get away with wearing [them]. Among my friends at school, I'd get teased. I can't really wear them. I try not to; you can't rub it in people's faces too much.
Q. When the sixth Potter book came out, how did you get it?
I went and queued up like everyone else. I read it in two days flat. I loved it. I got it at an airport . . . a couple days after it came out so the queues [lines] weren't too big. So I got away with it. . . . I didn't really have the chance to get recognized.
Daniel Radcliffe in K-Zone Magazine, December 2005
You can't avoid Harry Potter right now! He's the most famous wizard on Earth and the 16-year-old who plays him is also a superstar.
Daniel Radcliffe talks to K-Zone about Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire!
K-Zone: You're in between films at the moment. What kind of stuff do you get up to when you're not filming and not at school?
Daniel Radcliffe: That doesn't leave a lot of time! A couple of weeks ago I started my A/S-Levels (like the HSC) so I'm quite busy at the moment. During the holidays I went to the Reading Music Festival which was really cool.
KZ: Did you camp?
DR: I wasn't quite that hardcore. My friends went the year before and got all their stuff stolen. Also, people might have found out whose tent it was and then I'd have been in trouble. I stayed in this local hotel where I was told all the bands stayed, but none of them turned up!
KZ: Mike Newell's the first British director of a Harry film. Was it different working with him on Goblet of Fire?
DR: Yes. He understands the world of boarding schools, because he went to one. That's how he grew up.
KZ: Did he make the flick funnier?
DR: It needed lighter bits to contrast the very dark bits. There are parts in the film - although I find it hard to find anything that I personally do remotely funny - where I've watched a scene I'm in and found myself laughing at it.In the Homework Club scene, Rupert [Grint who plays Ron Weasley] and I are talking about how to get dates for the Yule Ball. We're not supposed to be talking in there, so Snape keeps coming up behind us and smacking us on the back of our heads with books, which is incredibly simple but very funny.
KZ: 'Cos of the nature of the book did the film require more physical challenges, like acting underwater?
DR: Yeah, that was physically tough, but the thing I found hardest was the dragon task. There's a bit in the dragon task that isn't actually in the book - I fall off my broom and start sliding down a roof. I had to be suspended from the ceiling on a wire and then they let me go. It was very scary because I free-fell 18m in about 2.5 seconds. I'm not even going to pretend I was being brave! The mental challenges were things like the confrontation with Voldemort. While it is physical it's also incredibly emotional for Harry because he's meeting the person who killed his parents and whom he wants to kill. Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort is fantastic and in the event that I'm not great he'll distract the audience. That's my plan.
KZ: You had the horrendous challenge of learning to ballroom dance for this one...
DR: That was tough! You'll notice in that scene you never see my legs - the dancing's all from the waist up! All the other kids had about three weeks to learn the routine, but I was doing a big scene with Mad-Eye Moody while they were learning and rehearsing and only had about three hours rehearsal time in total. As soon as I got past the first six or seven steps it would fall apart!
KZ: Do you and Rupert still get up to fun stuff or have you matured?.
DR: It isn't so much that we've matured, but we've been forced to grow up 'cos of school! I never saw this, but I was told Rupert was making a film out of LEGO people. I really wanted to see it and would have been involved if I wasn't doing exams. EDITOR'S NOTE: NICE TO KNOW THAT THE KIDS HAVE NORMAL ENOUGH LIVES THAT EXAMS STILL MATTER TO THEM.
KZ: What was the film about?
DR: I have no idea. It might be a Harry Potter film in LEGO 'cos they make Harry Potter LEGO! I remember during the third film we were building a mini-golf course out of cardboard boxes, but that was a while ago. I can't remember anything funny we really did during Goblet of Fire.
KZ: They're working you too hard obviously...
DR: Seriously, that's what it is! You should call the producer David Heyman's office and say, "you didn't allow Dan to participate in the LEGO film. How dare you?"
KZ: New Harry books are coming out ahead of the films. Is it daunting? Do you feel locked in?DR: If, when the sixth book came out, it wasn't good I would have thought, "oh, that's a bit disappointing. Am I going to do this? I don't know". But because I really enjoyed it, I thought it was absolutely fantastic. It's not daunting, it's exciting. If the sixth film happens, which it probably will, it's something to look forward to. It's not like a 'to do' list. EDITOR'S NOTE: WOOHOO! HOPEFUL SIGNS. (STICK WITH US FOR JUST A FEW MORE, MR. R. YOU CAN HAVE A LIFE IN A COUPLE MORE YEARS, OK?)
Pre-XMAS TV News
By Toni Fitzgerald Dec 19, 2005
The death on Friday of actor John Spencer,EDITOR'S NOTE: SNIFFLE best known for his role as former White House chief of staff and current vice presidential candidate Leo McGarry on NBC’s “The West Wing,” presents a major dilemma for both the series and NBC.
Spencer, who died of a heart attack, was a longtime fixture at NBC, also appearing on the drama “LA Law” from 1990 to 1994.
Like his “Wing” character, he was a recovering alcoholic, and he was one of the show’s most popular characters for his honest portrayal of that problem.
His death could not come at a worse time for the show, now in its seventh season, with its future already very much in doubt because of sinking ratings and rising salaries.
The real-life death of such an integral character could well spell the official end for “Wing,” a show that was once among TV’s most-watched dramas and is now mustering just 8 million total viewers, barely half of what it averaged in its prime years.
"Wing" was renewed last season at about half the cost of the previous year, forcing many regulars into recurring roles.
Spencer would ostensibly have played a major role in the show’s season-long election storyline as the vice presidential candidate. In fact, his selection last spring was the show’s season-ending shocker, and one focus this season has been presidential candidate Matt Santos’ seeming distaste for McGarry. EDITOR'S NOTE: THEY'VE BEEN GETTING ALONG MUCH BETTER AS THE SEASON PROGRESSED. ONE OF THE SAD THINGS ABOUT LOSING THE LEO CHARACTER...THE SLOW, SWEET WAY LEO AND SANTOS HAVE BEEN LEARNING TO LIKE AND APPRECIATE ONE ANOTHER.
Without McGarry, whose character was a mentor to many of the younger White House staff and the closest confidante of president Jed Bartlet (Martin Sheen), the show will lose its wise old sage. And one of the great joys of “Wing” was watching McGarry advise them correctly while he himself dealt often unsuccessfully with private demons.
Just how “Wing” will deal with Spencer’s death is unclear. His character suffered a heart attack last season, and during his recent campaign questions about his health arose.
It would not thus seem surprising for McGarry to die of a fatal heart attack, but the writers won’t be able to do that without rewriting history. The first episode of the season showed a scene three years in the future where Spencer appeared. EDITOR'S NOTE: ONE WEBSITE I READ SUGGESTED THEY RECAST THE ROLE. THAT WOULD BE TOUGH TO TAKE, BUT MIGHT BE THE ONLY WAY PLOT-WISE TO MAKE THE WHOLE THING MAKE SENSE. (OR IT COULD BE LIKE THE OLDEST CUNNINGHAM SON ON "HAPPY DAYS" WHO WAS JUST NEVER SPOKEN OF AGAIN?)
Unless “Wing” sets that as a fantasy sequence, it can’t very well write McGarry out.
Past shows have lost key characters as well, and most did not last long afterward. The most famous, and most recent, instance was John Ritter’s death during the second season of ABC’s “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter” in fall 2003.
The show incorporated Ritter’s death into the plotline and enjoyed a short ratings surge before falling way back last year, bringing wife Katey Sagal’s character to the center of the show. “Rules” was canceled last spring.
Nearly 20 years ago, actor Freddie Prinze committed suicide while starring in “Chico and the Man.” Though his role was recast, the show was canceled soon after. EDITOR'S NOTE: AND PETE DUELL IN "ALIAS SMITH & JONES". SNIFFLE.
In 2000, “Sopranos” actress Nancy Marchand, who played Tony’s mother, passed away. She was not a focal point of the storyline, and HBO used scenes she had already shot as well as computer tricks to set the scene for her on-screen death.
Spencer was 58 years old. He got his start on television at age 16, when he played the boyfriend of one of the twins on “The Patty Duke Show.” He had extensive stage experience and appeared in many movies, including “Presumed Innocent,” “Copland,” “Black Rain” and “Albino Alligator.”
EDITOR'S NOTE: REST IN PEACE, MR. SPENCER. YOU BROUGHT MUCH ENTERTAINMENT TO MANY OF US. SAFE TRAVELS TO THE NEXT STAGE.....
TREK to Boldly go to G4
G4 is in discussions to acquire the syndication rights to the original STAR TREK and STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION series.
Sources told the Hollywood Reporter that TREK will "be part of a Comcast effort next year to reposition the channel brand of G4, which struggled to establish itself as the TV home for video gamers, in a broader play for young male viewers." EDITOR'S NOTE: FOR THE 4 OR 5 PEOPLE WHO CAN FIND IT ON THEIR CABLE LINE UP.....
NBC Signs up for Moore
NBC Universal Television Studio has signed a two year deal with BSG's Ronald D. Moore.
Moore is already at work on a new fantasy show called PEN AND THE SWORD. The series centers on a young man at a temp agency who discovers the building he works in is a portal to a sort of medieval alternate reality. The man slides between worlds, trying to unravel the connection between the two -- i.e., verbal spats between colleagues in one dimension are sword fights in the other. EDITOR'S NOTE: I HAD DAYDREAMS LIKE THIS WHEN I WORKED IN MY LAST JOB (THE ONE I DUBBED "SATAN'S SALTMINES INC"). SIGH....WERE THAT SUCH A PORTAL EXISTED......
He is also working on WAREHOUSE 13 for the Sci Fi Channel. This show revolves around a pair of government officials banished to a storage facility in North Dakota where they spend their days cataloguing artifacts and other odds and ends collected by the government over the years. Unbeknownst to them, every item has a backstory, pulling them into fantastic and supernatural quests each week.
Martian crashlands in Smallville?
“Smallville” is getting more and more exciting by the day – and no, not only because they’re putting Erica Durance in a skimpy Bikini occasionally. EDITOR'S NOTE: CLEARLY A FANBOY NEWS SOURCE. (SO MANY HORMONES, SO FEW REAL, LIVE GIRLS IN HIS MOM'S BASEMENT).
According to Krypton Site, there could be a few more surprises for fans in the coming season, including the appearance of another popular DC Comic character: The Martian Manhunter.
Executive Producer Miles Millar recently told the official “Smallville” magazine that "One character we may bring to the show is the Martian Manhunter. There's always the possibility of having characters back, like the Flash or Mxyzptlk. If we find the story and it's organic, not forced, we love to do that."
The site reports that another DC character, Cyborg – from DC Comics' Teen Titans - will appear in episode 15 of the current season.
Alias spin-off or movie?
Sidney might be moving on, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the rest of the “Alias” gang are ready to demolish SD-6.
According to TV Guide, producers of the recently axed “Alias” are considering spin-off possibilities.
"I would say we haven't seen the end of all things 'Alias'," executive producer Jeff Pinkner teases. "There are versions of this show which could exist after this season. There are plenty of stories we'd love to tell."EDITOR'S NOTE: I'M ALL FOR A GOOD EXTENSION OF THE SHOW. BUT I HOPE THEY DON'T DRAG IT OUT IN A WAY THAT MAKES US FORGET WHAT MADE THE ORIGINAL SO BELOVED.
Among the formats Pinkner and Abrams have discussed is a spin-off series revolving around villains Sark (David Anders), Peyton (Amy Acker) and Sloane (Ron Rifkin). "It's the triumvirate of evil!" Pinkner says. (No official discussions with ABC have taken place yet.) Producers have also toyed with the idea of a big-screen adaptation starring Garner! EDITOR'S NOTE: A. I'M NOT TERRIBLY IMPRESSED WITH AMY ACKER. I'M ALL FOR ALL-SARK-ALL-THE-TIME, AND RIFKIN ROCKS, OF COURSE. BUT THEY CAN DO BETTER ON THE BAD CHICK THAN ACKER'S RELATIVELY UNINTERESTING WITCHY CHICK. B. BIG-SCREEN GARNER. ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA.
Telenovela 'Betty' to U.S. as ABC hour
ABC is going ahead with its version of the hit Colombian telenovela "Betty La Fea," giving the project a cast-contingent pilot order.
"Betty," from Touchstone Television, Ben Silverman's Reveille and Salma Hayek's Ventanarosa Prods., is a one-hour centered on Betty, an unattractive but efficient secretary at a fashion magazine. Silvio Horta penned the pilot and is executive producing with Silverman, Hayek and her producing partner Jose Tamez.
The telenovela genre is red hot these days, with CBS developing at least five projects with the goal of fielding at least one in the summer as a 13-week serial EDITOR'S NOTE: YAY. THIS IS EITHER GOING TO BE A FUN SUMMER THING, OR MAKE ENGLISH-LANGUAGE TV JUST AS SMUTTY AND STUPID AS SPANISH-LANGUAGE TV. (NOT THAT ENGLISH-LANGUAGE TV DOESN'T ALREADY HAVE PLENTY OF SMUTTY, STUPID MOMENTS ALREADY)!
Ricci entering 'Grey' area
Christina Ricci has been tapped to guest star on the special episode of ABC's sophomore hit "Grey's Anatomy" that is slated to air Feb. 5 after the network's broadcast of Super Bowl XL.
The plot for the episode of the medical drama, from creator/executive producer Shonda Rhimes and Touchstone Television, is being kept under wraps. Ricci's character is said to be coming to Seattle Grace Hospital "not as a patient but in a life-and-death situation."
Idol To Try Out Thursday Time Slot
EDITOR'S NOTE: NOT THAT I CARE.....
Fox’s American Idol is gently dipping its toes in the competitive Thursday-night waters for the first time, scheduling a one-hour live results show in sweeps that will send home four performers at 8 P.M. Feb. 23, as well as two others in March.
Four more contestants—two males and two females—will be eliminated from the competition show from 8-9 p.m. on the March 2 and 9 episodes (preceded by Tuesday- and Wednesday-night performance episodes). The top 12 finalists will also be revealed on the second Thursday-night telecast.
All other episodes from January through the finale in May, which traditionally ends on the final night of the season, will air as usual on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, a spokesman said.
Other networks had avoided making midseason scheduling decisions until recently, when Fox formally announced it was sticking with its standard game plan for the fifth edition of the highly rated musical competition series. Idol has been a spoiler, and other networks were nervous over speculation it was considering moving one of its two weekly episodes to Thursdays.
Idol will begin Jan. 17 and 18, with the show featuring audition cities on the first four consecutive Tuesdays through Feb. 7. Those will be comprised of two two-hour and two one-hour episodes. Additionally, Fox has slated three one-hour Wednesday night episodes to air through Feb. 1.
The Hollywood round will be from 8-9 p.m. Feb. 8, 14 and 15, with the top 24 semifinalists—12 males and 12 females—moving into later rounds.
The Fox Reality Channel previously announced that Idol will make its cable debut from Jan. 2-17 leading up to the network debut. EDITOR'S NOTE: THIS WAS OFFERED AS A SERVICE TO THOSE OF YOU....PROTECTING YOU BY NOT NAMING YOU....WHO WATCH THIS SILLY SHOW.
'O.C.' tide shifts to 9 p.m. Thursday
Fox has reshuffled its midseason Thursday schedule, sliding teen soap "The O.C." to 9 p.m. EDITOR'S NOTE: EST....
"O.C." will make the move from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Jan. 12., when it will be joined on the Thursday schedule by veteran comedy "That '70s Show." "That '70s Show" will run back-to-back episodes in the 8 p.m. Thursday hour until March 16, when Carsey-Werner's current companion on Wednesday, "Stacked," will take over the 8:30 p.m. slot. Fox's original midseason plans featured "That '70s Show" and "Stacked" relocating to Thursday's 9 p.m. period March 2 EDITOR'S NOTE: AGAIN...MERELY A SERVICE. PLEASE DON'T ASK ME TO WATCH ANY OF THOSE SHOWS.
'Boys' club: Polone, Tarses get TBS pilot
Three months into their partnership, producers Gavin Polone and Jamie Tarses have landed their first pilot order for "My Boys," a single-camera romantic comedy from writer Betsy Thomas, picked up by TBS.
The project, produced by Sony Pictures Television and Polone's studio-based Pariah, centers on a woman in her late 20s, a sports columnist for a Chicago paper, whose life revolves around men -- her brother, her ex-boyfriend, her best friend and a sportswriter for a rival Chicago paper. In addition to writing, Thomas is executive producing the pilot with Polone and Tarses. Thomas, who created the WB Network comedy "Run of the House," is repped by CAA.
Pre-XMAS Movie News
SURE WISH THEY COULD FIGURE OUT A WAY TO RELEASE MOVIES YEAR-ROUND, INSTEAD OF ALL IN THE LAST WEEK OF DECEMBER.
Disney returning to Narnia EDITOR'S NOTE: SHOCKED?
Not surprisingly, Disney has given the thumbs up to the second jaunt in the “Narnia” tales.
“The Chronicles of Narnia : Prince Caspian” is slated for a December 2007 release, says Narnia Web.
The sequel would see Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy returning to boarding school when they are summoned from the dreary train station (by Susan's own magic horn) to return to the land of Narnia -- the land where they had ruled as kings and queens and where their help is desperately needed.
Brosnan is Steel interested EDITOR'S NOTE: FYI TO WHOEVER WROTE THE EVER-SO-WITTY TITLE OF THIS STOLEN SNIPPETT....IT'S STEELE. (IF YOU'RE GOING TO PUN, PUN ACCURATELY)
Seems those rumours about Pierce Brosnan and Stephanie Zimbalist reuniting for a “Remington Steele” movie might be true.
The former MI6 employee told IGN FilmForce that he’s in talks to bring his popular character back from the telly graveyard.
"The show is out on DVD now and so we have started negotiations on making a movie out of it," said Brosnan. "I think there's an audience there. There's a sentimental memory and fondness for it."EDITOR'S NOTE: I AGREE. ONE OF MY FEW FOND MEMORIES FROM THE....SHUDDER...80'S. BUT WILL STEPH TAKE HIS CALLS? (I WAS UNDER THE IMPRESSION IT WASN'T A CONVIVIAL SET?)
Apple.com has been on a roll this week. They are now offering the trailer for V FOR VENDETTA.
V hits theaters on March 17, 2006. The film stars Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman. It centers on a terrorist freedom fighter known only as "V" who begins a violent guerilla campaign to destroy those who've succumbed to totalitarianism, and recruits a young woman he's rescued from the secret police to join him.
James McTeigue directed from a script by Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski, which was based on the graphic novel by Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore.
EDITOR'S NOTE: ACTUALLY LOOKS PRETTY GOOD. (ALTHOUGH WITH THE WACHOWSKI BROTHERS, LOOKS MIGHT BE ALL IT HAS).
Your first look at Ghost Rider
Nicolas Cage flames up as “Ghost Rider”, and Sony are giving you your first look at the film right here.
Keira looking fine in Silk
Foxy Keira Knightley will go from wearing corsets to, um, wearing corsets.
The “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Pride and Prejudice” stunner will star in “Silk”, based on the book by Alessandro Baricco, says KeiraWeb.
Set in 19th Century France, the film will tell of a married silkworm smuggler, Herve Joncour who travels to Japan to collect his clandestine cargo. While there he spots a beautiful European woman, the mistress of a local baron, and they fall in love. When Herve’s wife begins to suspect something is up, a black cloud starts to mask the unrequited love. EDITOR'S NOTE: A BLACK CLOUD HAS BEEN KINDA HAUNTING MY LOVE LIFE TOO. (ALBEIT, SANS CORSETS)
Michael Pitt, who played Jen's one-time boytoy Henry on TV's "Dawson's Creek" and that Cobain-esque character in the recent "Last Days", might play the husband character.
Bookcrossing.com says of the book : France, 1861. When an epidemic threatens to wipe up out the silk trade in France, Hervé Joncour, a young silk breeder, has to travel overland to distand Japan, out of bounds to foreigners, to smuggle out healthy silkworms. In the course of his secret negotiations with the local baron, Joncour's attention is arrested by the man's concubine, a girl who doesn't have oriental eyes. Although they're unable to exchange so much as a word, love blossoms between them, a love that is conveyed in a number of recondite messages. How their secret affair develops is told in this remarkable love story. As haunting as a strain of passionate music, Silk is an enchantment, an exquisite narrative and stylistic tour de force..
The film, to be directed by Francois Girard [“The Red Violin”], will be before the cameras next Spring. Yep, KK's going to film it in-between "Pirates of the Caribbean 2" and "Pirates of the Caribbean 3".
Elle Woods Vs. The Bell Witch
Moviehole mate Reese Witherspoon has snagged another job just before the holidays. The talented blonde is being courted to star in a new Universal drama that's written by Don Winston. At present, the spec is called "Our Family Troubles", but will likely change title before it makes it to the screen.
According to Variety, the "Walk The Line" star will play a first-time mother that starts to doubt her own sanity when she starts encountering some pretty strange things. The woman is determined that a legendary evildoer by the name of The Bell Witch is planning to harm her baby son.
CanMag.com is reporting, off an Entertainment Tonight broadcast, that Peter Jackson is considering a sequel to THE FRIGHTENERS.
Jackson told ET, he's hoping the new FRIGHTENERS DVD sells well enough that he could possibly convince Universal to do a sequel. He would even love to see Michael J. Fox return for a small role.
Burns Will LOOK UP IN THE SKY for Singer
Bryan Singer has set documentary director Kevin Burns to direct the film LOOK UP IN THE SKY: THE AMAZING STORY OF SUPERMAN.
Burns and Singer will executive produce the feature length project, which they hope to get a theatrical release for via Warner Bros. and even show it possibly on TV before SUPERMAN RETURNS opens.
Singer told the Hollywood Reporter, "I have such an admiration for the evolution of the character and what Superman has represented over nearly eight decades. I wanted a document that respects the legacy and the collective consciousness of Superman." EDITOR'S NOTE: DONCHA LOVE IT WHEN THE DIRECTOR DRINKS THE COOL-AID? (I STILL THINK THE NEW SUPES LOOKS CHUBBY IN THE TIGHTS; LET'S JUST HOPE HE CAN ACT).
John Powell to score 'X-Men 3'
X-MEN 3 will get an original score by John Powell (ROBOTS, SHREK, PAYCHECK). The prestigious assignment has been confirmed to Music from the Movies by 20th Century Fox.
Powell, whose previous action scores include FACE/OFF, THE BOURNE IDENTITY and THE ITALIAN JOB, is working for the first time with director Brett Ratner.
Previous reports about Lalo Schifrin being involved in the project (Ratner worked with him on the two RUSH HOUR films and AFTER THE SUNSET) are no longer accurate.
The two first X-MEN films, both directed by Bryan Singer, were scored by Michael Kamen and John Ottman.
Cast members Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry and Famke Janssen all return in X-MEN 3. The film is scheduled to premiere next May.
John Powell's other upcoming films include two animated features: ICE AGE 2: THE MELTDOWN, SHREK 3, and THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM.
Writing team boards 'Skip' for Columbia "
Sahara" scribes Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer have been tapped to rewrite the comedy-actioner "Skip Tracer" for Columbia Pictures.
The story centers on a man who inadvertently kidnaps a young girl embroiled in a custody battle when he repossesses a yacht.
Scribe Steve Franks ("Big Daddy") penned an earlier draft. Neal Moritz is producing through his Original Films banner alongside Brad Luff and Chris Henze. Sony's Jonathan Kadin is shepherding the project for the studio.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Harry Potter 2005 finale
By Vanessa LaFaso
The books weave tales of boyhood wizardry and fantastical mayhem. But Harry Potter magic extends well beyond the written word, and fans in this area now have the rare opportunity to discover the added enchantments of the book's illustrations.
Perhaps, nobody understands the spellbinding artwork of GrandPre better than Michael Barry, curator and owner of ArtInsights at Reston Town Center, where the original works of Harry Potter illustrator Mary GrandPre are the featured exhibit through Jan. 1 and will be a permanent addition to the gallery.
ArtInsights, which specializes in animation art, is the only gallery on the East Coast where GrandPre’s original and limited edition works are available.
Barry and his partner, Leslie Combemale, were interested in expanding their vast collection of animation art with children’s illustrations, but the work was difficult to come by.
“Until recently, none of that has been available,” Barry said. He explained that the artists rarely sell their art themselves and either work through publishers or simply give away their pieces as gifts to loved ones. “Many of the owners never investigated the possibility of the market,” Barry said.
Simply a phone call away
One would think that acquiring images from such a widely popular series as the Harry Potter books would be a daunting task. Yet, it was as simple as a phone call.
“She [Combemale] just decided to pick up the phone and call her [GrandPre] on the chance she wanted to sell originals,” Barry said, noting GrandPre was “a little surprised that we wanted to buy these.”
Barry said the gallery has already sold a half-dozen GrandPre originals and “dozens” of limited editions.
In addition, a portion of the profits will benefit First Star, a children's charity committed to helping victims of abuse and neglect.
“They are not very expensive so they make for a nice first piece,” Barry said. The framed Harry Potter limited editions are priced under $300, and even the originals will not break the bank. In addition, a portfolio of all seven prints—complete with a certificate of authenticity—is available for “the serious collector.”
ArtInsights also is the only gallery in the nation authorized to carry GrandPre's original illustrations from other children's books, all done in the same familiar style as the Harry Potter works—rich colors, sweeping motion and vibrant expressions.
Ray Smith, a 43-year-old Reston resident, is so fond of GrandPre's work that he is keeping his ears open for more opportunities to collect. "I've asked Leslie to see if there's anything else available," Smith said.When asked if he is a fan of the Harry Potter books, Smith said, "Oh yes, I've read all the books, that's where I know her [GrandPre] from."
One of the first
Barry, 53, a Corcoran School of Art graduate, and Combemale, 38, an art historian, opened ArtInsights in 1997, and it remains the only gallery of its kind in the Washington, D.C., region.
Barry and Combemale's venture was prompted by Disney's official release of animation cels to art galleries in 1979.
"We were one of their first dealers," Barry said.
To this day, Barry and Combemale enjoy a special relationship with Disney as well as with Warner Brothers and Bill Melendez studios ("Peanuts" animator). Their collection includes, among other things, an assortment of vintage, hand-painted animation cels and original sketches in pristine condition.
"The cels were only meant to last through production, but were done so well, they managed to survive," Barry explained.
The collection of original works are the pride of ArtInsights, keeping animation collectors like Smith apprised of new gallery arrivals.
"I like the personal touch you get from Leslie and Michael," Smith said."We specialize in originals, that's what we do the most of and are the best at getting," Barry said.
The Art of Harry Potter
About the Art
These enchanting images were created by Mary GrandPre. GrandPre's style may look familiar as her work also appears as the cover art for the seven Harry Potter books written by J. K. Rowling. Paying close attention to light and color, GrandPre's execution of Harry's adventures draws the viewer into a magical dreamlike world. Each print, reproduced in the fine art Giclee process, is hand signed by Ms. GrandPre and hand numbered in an edition limited to 25 images.
About the Artist
Mary GrandPre has received worldwide recognition for her Harry Potter artwork. She has also created illustrations for Atlantic Monthly, Time Magazine, and Random House Publishing, where she illustrated classic tales such as Cinderella. Additionally, she was given an opportunity to develop scenery for the DreamWorks feature "Antz." Currently, she had illustrated six children's books and has been recognized by the Society of Illustrators, Communications Arts, Graphics, Print and Art Direction. She is a graduate of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. EDITOR'S NOTE: AND LEST WE FORGET, SHE IS A RESIDENT OF MY FAMILIAL STOMPING GROUNDS....SARASOTA, FLORIDA! (SO TOUCH ME?)
Harry Potter Works by Mary GrandPre for Sale at ArtInsights