Harry Potter Set Visit, Part 1: Storytelling, Special Effects and Spoilers!

A mere eleven hours’ flight from L.A., and we were smack in the middle of the wizarding world—that would be the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movie set at London’s Leavesden Studios, the massive arena housing the Ministry of Magic, an animatronic creature creation lab, and enough prop storage to create a Harry Potter museum. We got a good look at how this world is brought to life, and talked to director David Yates, Matthew Lewis, who plays Neville, and Daniel Radcliffe, the Boy Who Lived himself.
Spoiler alert! If you haven't read the book, beware. This set visit report contains details on the seven Potters scene, Bill and Fleur's witchy wedding, movie additions that weren't in the books, and loads of other secrets from the set.
The publicity tent was our first stop at the studio, where we writers perused movie photos, concept art, props and costumes that filled the room. One of these costumes was the outfit that all seven doppelganger Harrys wear: a blue-gray track jacket, red shirt and jeans. The sequence involves six of Harry's friends who take Polyjuice Potion to impersonate him as they flee his home on Privet Drive. The goal: Evade Death Eaters who are hot on his trail and get Harry to a safe house.
Daniel Radcliffe Sees Seven
Although he wasn’t needed on set that day, the titular Chosen One was gracious enough to stop by and chat. Decked in a gray suit jacket and sporting disheveled hair not unlike his character, Daniel Radcliffe described the detail it took to create seven spitting images of himself. "A lot of it is more painstakingly slow than complex." The shot where they drink the potion and start transforming into the seven Potters took 95 takes, he said. "That's impressive by anyone's standards."
Using a motion-control camera, the crew filmed Harry in one spot, then panned around the room of empty space. They then had to film Radcliffe in six more spots around the room as he pretended to be Fleur, Mundungus, or whomever drinks the Polyjuice. At the end of the day, he was shown a primitive version of the shot. "It was the most gratifying thing to see how good it looks. Everyone's overlapping—all arms and hands. It should be really effective because it did take a long time to get right." Despite the lengthy time for just one shot, he enjoyed doing the impersonations. "I was just delighted at how good I looked in [Fleur's] costume! It looked like a David Bowie outfit."
Unfamiliar Territory
From the seven Potters chase scene, to Bill and Fleur's wedding at The Burrow, to various urban locations around the UK, the story then turns into what Radcliffe describes as a "road movie," as Harry and Ron and Hermione go on the run and try to gather vital information. "People will be seeing the kids outside of Hogwarts for the first time, which is a big deal."
For this type of storytelling, director David Yates used cinéma vérité as they move from place to place, living in a tent. Yates talked about relishing the tender moments between Harry and Hermione: "They're both at that stage where Ron's left and there's this intimacy between them. So there are all sorts of corners that you turn because they're young adults and turning those corners in the real world are actually quite fun and interesting. The vérité style just seemed to suit that."
Movie stills that we viewed, though, set a darker mood: a weary Harry keeping watch at a small tent in the woods; a close-up shot of Hermione showing her crying; another photo showing her casting enchantments with bloodied hands; Harry running, and chips of wood flying near him as if he were under attack. "Just for jeopardy, we've added a scene where the snatchers chase Harry, Ron and Hermione," Yates said.
At Bill and Fleur's wedding festivities, Yates also added a tender scene where Hermione and Harry dance for the first time. "It's a really beautiful moment, and it's full of proper sexual tension because they're both teenagers." Another photo of Hermione shows Viktor Krum kissing her hand, and in a rather comical shot, Hermione is also shown in a simple yet stunning red cocktail dress, dancing with Viktor; Ron stands in the background looking sore and envious.
A Witchy Wedding
With a strong French accent, Jany Temime, the fashion designer on the films since Prisoner of Azkaban, spoke fondly of designing for Emma Watson. "She went from a child to a teenager, but all the time she kept in mind that she was Hermione. She never asked me for more glamorous clothes.
Designing for the first Harry Potter wedding was a daunting task itself, as Temime took into account that this is not a Muggle wedding, and the bride is no ordinary witch, but Fleur, the half-Veela fashionista. "Fleur is French so the idea was to have a wedding with a little French tone — not a Weasely wedding, which would've been in tragically bad taste. I wanted to design for her a real witch-princess dress. I thought of the Phoenix – a bird, maybe not of love,

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Emma Watson grew up on screen

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2
Brilliant Schoolgirl Beauty: As Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series, Emma Watson grew up on screen, and her most adult role yet promises to be Beauty and the Beast, to be directed by Guillermo del Toro. The filmmaker got involved in the project as a producer last spring, while Watson joined up in the summer. Of course, del Toro fans know that he’s already attached to multiple projects at the moment, so we’ll still have to wait to see when -- and if -- this Beauty moves forward. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Red Herring Alert: If you like movies with no definitive ending, you’re in luck! Paramount has hired Veena Sud, the creator / showrunner for AMC’s The Killing, to write and direct the remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Suspicion. Filled with red herrings, The Killing has yet to solve a simple little murder case, so it’s hard for some of us to be optimistic about Sud’s plans for a story that originally starred Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine; the latter won an Academy Award for her performance as a woman who suspects that her husband wants to kill her.  [Showblitz]

Uncle Joe is Gone: Actor David Kelly, who enjoyed a long career that was showcased most often on British TV sitcoms and on stage in Dublin, Ireland, has died. He was 82. American audiences probably know him best from his brief role as Uncle Joe in Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, though his appearance, naked on a motorcyle, in Waking Ned Devine, probably set more aged hearts a-fluttering. [The Guardian]

Delightful Damsels: Writer/director Whit Stillman made three films in the 90s that helped define the decade for sophisticated moviegoers (Metropolitan, Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco), and then he went away for a number of years. He’s returned with Damsels in Distress, starring Greta Gerwig, which looks from the trailer to be a fresh serving of arch dialogue and characters who aren’t quite as smart as they think they are. The film opens on April 6. [Yahoo! Movies]

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Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth to reprise their roles as well

Snow White and the Huntsman

Snow Sequel: Fairy tale fans rejoice! A sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman looks like it’s moving forward. Writer David Koepp was hired in late April to pen the script, and now director Rupert Sanders is in talks to return. The studio has options for stars Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth to reprise their roles as well. The film has grossed $118 million worldwide to date. [Deadline]

It Will be Two: We just heard that Stephen King’s short story The Ten O’Clock People is headed to the big screen, and now comes word that his massive novel It will be adapted into two movies with director Cary Fukunaga (Jane Eyre, Sin Nombre) at the helm. Fukunaga will also co-write the screenplays with Chase Palmer. The book centers on a small group who are tormented both as children and adults by a mysterious creature in the form of a sadistic clown. It was previously adapted for a TV mini-series in 1990. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Biblical Love: Earlier this week, Darren Aronofsky’s Noah added Logan Lerman and Douglas Booth to play Noah’s sons Ham and Shem, respectively. Emma Watson is now in talks to play a love interest for Shem, Noah’s oldest son. In the Bible account, Noah had three sons who were all married when they entered the Ark; we’ll have to wait to see what happens in Aronofsky’s version -- and also to find out if Jennifer Connelly or Julianne Moore will play Noah’s wife, and if Liev Schreiber will create problems as Noah’s “nemesis,” as rumored. [Deadline / Variety]

Dark Puppet: Take a peak at the concept art below for Guillerdo del Toro’s stop-motion version of Pinocchio, which he hopes to start shooting as co-director next year. Clearly, this will not be your father’s Pinocchio. [Entertainment Weekly via Dread Central]
Pinocchio - concept art

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Charlie gravitates towards his older classmate and Patrick’s music-obsessed stepsister Sam (Emma Watson)

Perks of Being a Wallflower still
Before Twitter and iPhones, before manic pixie dream girls and the world at our Google fingertips, there was The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Published in 1999, Stephen Chbosky’s debut novel was a time machine back to high school life in 1991. It was a reminder of the old days as well as a guide for the present – a story that resonated with the young so thoroughly that it’s been “passed from adolescent to adolescent like a hot potato” since. Thirteen years later, the essential read has become an essential movie.

Writer (and now, in a rare turn of events, screenwriter and director) Stephen Chbosky’s epistolary novel outlines a year in the life of Charlie, an angst-ridden, wildly sensitive teenager. Anxious to find the good in the world, he begins a one-way correspondence with an unnamed “friend” – a stranger he learned about when eavesdropping on a conversation, a person people look up to, who “didn’t try to sleep with that person at that party.” Charlie begins to send the stranger letters as a sort of living diary and emotional anchor, and just like the novel, so begins the film.

An introverted young man, Charlie (Logan Lerman) is alone in high school, counting down the hundreds of days until he will be free. He’s ignored by his old friends, and only talks to his high school English teacher (Paul Rudd) until he discovers a flamboyant senior. Patrick (beautifully played by Ezra Miller) makes the angst-filled Charlie laugh, and like any awkward person looking to connect with a larger-than-life personality, Charlie gravitates towards his older classmate and Patrick’s music-obsessed stepsister Sam (Emma Watson). The pair, likewise, are drawn to Charlie’s genuine, wallflower ways, and embrace him into their atypical circle, or as Sam calls it, their “island of misfit toys” – the vehicle through which Charlie must face himself and his inner demons.
Remarkably, Chbosky’s film encapsulates the same growing magnetism that made the novel so unique. Charlie isn’t a vivacious protagonist immediately gripping the audience, or, for that matter, his friends within the story. He’s a fractured, awkward, unwitting filter of the events. Sometimes awkward and unrelatable, Charlie’s magnetism comes from his genuine earnestness, which allows for a slow build – the story’s roots slowly stretching through the audience until all narrative barriers and particular experiences melt away and his experience becomes our own. This is a story about a world in 1991, which sucked in readers upon its release in 1999, and now flourishes on-screen in 2012.
Perks thrives because each piece fits into the greater whole, allowing Chbosky to reveal a surprisingly loyal and straightforward (yet cinematic) adaptation. The director’s relative inexperience (he directed one indie film in 1995 before working as a writer/producer, most notably on his co-creation Jericho) serves the story surprisingly well. The camera’s unpolished feel isn’t out of place – it embodies Charlie’s frame of view – while the dim light re-creates the grungy films of the ‘90s rather than the hip polish of today’s teen snark.
It helps that the casting is close to perfect. Most of the actors in Perks, from stars to support, are so ideal for their roles that it seems like the film was written for each actor. Lerman allows Charlie to have a greater sense of self-assurance and charismatic sarcasm, while simultaneously embodying the spirit and innocence of the hero on the page. This magic trickles right down to Melanie Lynskey, who is not only perfectly cast as Charlie’s late Aunt Helen, but who also manages to invoke a palpable sense of sweetness and darkness in her brief appearances in the flashes of Charlie’s memory. Star-in-the-making Miller steals every scene as Patrick. He wears the character’s fragile, charismatically heroic skin just as easily as he tormented his movie mother in last year’s We Need to Talk About Kevin.
Perks of Being a Wallflower Still
The real strength and heart of Perks is that it is much more than any one thing. It is a light, magnetic teen movie just as much as it’s a gritty revelation of many darker teen experiences. In an interview last month, Miller described Perks as an adolescent “necessity,” but it’s also a vessel for lost or forgotten moments. There are handfuls of smaller entry points that add one more root to the film’s hold – one of the most special being the trio’s discovery of David Bowie’s “Heroes.” This new addition to the story is a perfect encapsulation of the characters, that period of life, and that moment in time when you discover something old as if it’s a fresh new thing – how, without the Internet at your fingertips, you had to be patient, hunting and searching until your paths once again crossed with that obsession-creating song.
These days we expect the world. We want to know everything, to have everything, and to experience everything in a crisp and beautiful package. But there’s a beauty in the flawed discovery, in teens who have real, non-Hughesian lives where the magic is a little clumsy (see school dance), in remembrances of the time just before everything changed and media took over. This is the time when group film experiences weren’t instant messages overlaid on a television screen, but masses flooding into theaters and dressing in drag for The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Even embroiled in old songs, habits and lives, Chbosky’s original novel captured the teen experience in a way that still resonates today, and his film is one of the most emotionally loyal, yet satisfying, book adaptations to hit screens. There’s no wild loyalty that gets in the way of cinema (Watchmen), just a perfect understanding of the text and how to capture the same feel with live action.

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Emma Watson takes over the number one spot from Heidi Klum

If you've ever wondered what celebrity names and images online scammers use to bait curious Googlers into harmful clicks, McAfee has your answer. They recently ranked a list of pop-culture celebrities that are the "riskiest on the Web and result in bad links, including viruses, malware and sites laden with malicious software designed to steal passwords and personal information." The company has been running the poll for six years, and the results are always interesting — and often sleazy.
This year, Harry Potter star Emma Watson takes over the number one spot from Heidi Klum — a name we'd never have guessed, really — for the Most Dangerous Celebrity to search for on the Web. According to the company, "this year, when searching for 'Emma Watson and free downloads,' and 'Emma Watson and hot pictures' and 'Emma Watson and videos' you run the risk of running into online threats designed to steal your personal information." Let that be a warning to you pervy Hermione Granger fanfic writers out there.
Cybercriminals chose to use Jessica Biel for the second most malware-ridden clicks, inspired by her recent engagement to Justin Timberlake and appearance in Total Recall. Eva Mendes won the number three spot, thanks to her 2 Fast 2 Furious and Ryan Gosling relationship link. The rest of the list follows suit, with big-name celebs featured in the tabloids or starring in popular Hollywood projects. However, McAfee does state that "Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson were all absent from this year’s top 50 list despite the publicity surrounding the Cruise-Holmes divorce and the Stewart-Pattinson cheating scandal," so big headlines don't always mean risky clicks. The survey also looks at the stats of actors, athletes, musicians, politicians, designers and comedians — and here are some other conclusions they've come to:
Searching for Latinas is Risky
Eva Mendes (#3), Selena Gomez (#4), Shakira (#7), Salma Hayek (#9) and Sofia Vergara (#10) make up five of the top 10 most dangerous celebrities on the list.
Women Are More Dangerous Than Men
Jimmy Kimmel (#13) is the only man to make the top 20, with Piers Morgan and Brad Pitt dropping off the list from numbers three and 10, respectively.
Beware of the Supermodel
Three supermodels have made the top 20 list this year. Searching for downloads of Elle Macpherson (#16), Bar Refaeli (#17) and Kate Upton (#20) can result in landing on a risky site.
Musicians Are Not Safe
Young female artists are definitely a draw to malware and risky websites. Selena Gomez (#4), Shakira (#7) and Taylor Swift (#15) all rank in the top 20.
See the full infographic below for ranking.

How To Dress For A Beach Wedding As A Guest

A beach wedding is very fun for guests, who can amalgamate the festive, wedding atmosphere with the joy that anybody gets from a day at the beach. However, if you’re a gueat at a beach wedding, you should knwo how to dress for a beach wedding as a guest. The following tips about  Lace Applique A-line Wedding Dress can advice you dress appropriately for beach weddings, so you can enjoy yourself while still elegantly dress.
2012 Hottest Romantic V-nck Siren Womens Sheath Maxi Dress
1. Catch some sun and make your outfit more formal with a strapless or halter design. Strapless maxi dresses and halter maxi dresses are some of the most fashionable choices for summer. When you wear them, you also differentiate yourself from the person wearing the sundress. Strapless and halter dresses tend to be far more formal than beach cover-ups or other casual dresses. Ever Pretty’s padded floral printed empire waist chiffon ruffles  Wedding Gown with Chapel Train is an excellent example of a dress that combines fun and formality. The strapless design and fabric choices make the dress more formal, while the colorful floral pattern screams “beach fun.”
2. Wear fun, bright maxi dresses. Capture the action of a beach wedding with a ablaze and admirable pattern. Solid blush dresses, even if they are in the a lot of active colors, arise addled and black on the beach. Instead, accept floral or abstruse patterns. Ever Pretty’s strapless floral printed glassy bow ruffles cocktail dress is a good choice because it appearance a fun bow and ruffles, a ablaze color, and yet a formal cut.
3. Choose a different cut. Indoors, you apparently wouldn’t be able to get abroad with something like Ever Pretty’s agee hem check printed chiffon bedlam v-neck accidental dress, but at a beach wedding, this fun cut and ablaze dress is absolutely appropriate.
Beach weddings give you the chance to express your creative fashion sense by combining formal with fun.  Don’t be abashed to dress with a little flair, but remember, the way you dress at a wedding is a sign of respect to the bride and groom, so always look your best.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Ralph Fiennes
The Harry Potter series is the one franchise in existence that has continually kept the quality of the films good for such a long period of time. With this latest and last installment in the Harry Potter phenomena, the franchise has finally surpassed the Star Wars franchise in financial earnings. Translation: Deathly Hollows: Part 2 made a whole bunch of money. Although I feel like I should note that due to inflation and the extra income from 3D, the Harry Potter movies actually had half the attendance of the Star Wars films. But of course none of this really matters.
One thing that the Harry Potter series didn’t have that the Star Wars franchise had was a great movie (for Star Wars it I would consider A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back as great) … that is until now, or at they made at least two thirds of a great film. Part 2 of the final chapter of Harry Potter is in many ways an outstanding way to cap off the series. However, this particular film felt somewhat incomplete. By that I mean that it did have a clear ending and a very good middle, but there seemed to be no real beginning to this film, unless you count Part 1 as that beginning.

Now before any Harry Potter fans get so upset that their heads start to explode, let me clarify that this is a great film. I’m just not sure it’s a complete film. This movie does very little to introduce anything to anyone who was possibly going into the movie without ever having read any of the books or seen any of the other movies (of course that person would probably either have to have been living under a rock or they would have to be my parents). I myself have seen all of the other films and had no problems following what was going on (except for when my head started hurting a little bit because of the 3D). I basically think the film would have been better served if it weren’t split into two parts and they just decided to make one epic 3 hour movie to cap it off like they did with the Lord of the Rings. Of course, there’s a big reason they didn’t do that (money in case you didn’t know). So the fact that this movie didn’t really have a beginning is really my biggest problem with the film, and I have to say it’s a relatively small problem to have when the rest of the movie was quite enjoyable.
The young actors do a pretty good job, although I must say that really the movie pretty much throws aside all of the characters that aren’t Daniel Radcliffe’s Harry and Ralph Fienne’s Voldemort. I mean the other characters are all there, but they don’t really seem all that integral to the film. They are good though (I want to make sure I shower this with enough complements so I don’t get reamed by any angry Potter fans if this is coming off as too negative). The Hermione character played by Emma Watson was one that I was especially disappointed in because I feel that I’ve heard a lot about how Hermione is a strong female character that girls can look up to and is really the most competent of the Harry Potter trio. In this installment that all seems to go away. It’s almost as if she becomes completely helpless in this movie as there is a moment when even Ron (Rupert Grint) appears to be more prepared for the situation. She turned from being a strong female, almost lead, in the first 7 films to pretty much a damsel in distress in this 8th film.

I guess I should mention what the situation I referred to is before I go any further. Basically, Harry and company are hunting down these Horcrux’s, which from my understanding are little treasures in which Voldemort pretty much put part of his soul (if you want to call it th… look I’m just trying to explain this as best I can to the lay people out there so…). The group needs to destroy all of these Horcrux’s before they can actually kill Voldemort. And Voldemort is not nice. Harry thinks the last Horcrux is in Hogwarts (That’s the school of wizardry. Why am I even bothering explaining that. Anyone reading this is probably familiar with the series). A majority of the film takes place at the school and it turns into a war movie of sorts as all the good wizards try to keep out the bad wizards to give Harry enough time to figure out what the heck he needs to do.
Each an every Harry Potter movie got darker as the series progressed, and this one is no different. A memorable scene from this film for me  shows Voldemort walking across a room of dead people, with blood covering the floors. It has more death, more depression, more violence… more everything, with the exception of humor. They have a lot less humor in this installment than the others.
The love stories that are in the movie really don’t seem to pay off that well. I don’t think anyone really cares about Ron and Hermione and if you do it’s because you read the books and it’s more prevalent in the books (I’m completely guessing there because I’ve never read the books). The romance between those two, especially in this film, is kind of dropped in at very random moments, almost to tell the audience “oh yeah and by the way these two like each other.”
Holy cow! I just reread all of the above and it really seems like I’m laying into this movie. Seriously I really did like this movie. I promise. I’ll just say a bunch of positive things about it in this last paragraph that I’m about to write.
This film is filled with great action, great emotional moments, and strong storytelling. The director even figured out how to make war with wands look pretty cool (okay so that may have been a backhanded compliment). It’s a much faster paced film than it’s predecessors and is very well put together and looks really good (of course the 3D didn’t help at all and made it too dark at certain moments. NO! That doesn’t count as a negative comment on the film. I just hate 3D!). This film definitely gets my seal of approval and I believe that it’s a film that both non-Potter fans and fans of the series will enjoy immensely, as long as you watch Part 1 first.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 
Just to clarify on the Star Wars comparison, I think that there are still no Harry Potter movies that are better than A New Hope or Empire Strikes Back, but every single Harry Potter movie (even the first one) is better than all of the other Star Wars movies that are not called A New Hope or Empire Strikes Back. 
** I hate that snake that Voldemort carries around with him. That thing is terrifying! 

** This series really did get lucky with how well those young actors grew up. 

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