MuggleCast 272 Transcript
[Show music begins]
Andrew: Because this is not an April Fools’ joke, this is MuggleCast Episode 272 for April 2, 2014.
[Show music continues]
Andrew: This week’s episode is brought to you by Audible.com. Audible is the leading provider of audiobooks with more than 150,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including fiction, non-fiction, and periodicals. For a free audiobook of your choice, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast.
[Show music continues]
Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 272. Eric, Micah, and I are here this week. Welcome back, guys.
Micah: It’s great to be back, Andrew.
Micah: The thing is, I just sent an email around a couple of days ago and I said, “You know, there’s some news that has been worthy of talking about over the last couple of months,” but honestly, more than anything else, I just wanted to hear your voice.
Micah: Because let’s face it, most of the talking that we do do, which has been pretty infrequent over the last couple of months. We’ve both been busy.
Micah: But it’s been through text or computer.
Andrew: It’s not verbal. It’s not through our mouths.
Micah: It’s not verbal.
Micah: Exactly. And so it’s great to be back doing a show with you and Eric, and it’s so easy or at least I hope it’s going to be easy. We just get back into the flow of things and…
Andrew: I think this is easy.
Micah: I do, too.
Andrew: MuggleCast has never been hard, except for Chapter by Chapter.
Andrew: Other than that…
Micah: And the occasional episode that had gone missing.
Eric: People are still giving us crap for not finishing Order of the Phoenix Chapter by Chapter. [laughs]
Andrew: Well, here’s a confession: I never really enjoyed Chapter by Chapter because it always felt like homework to me, because we had to read certain chapters before recording.
Eric: That’s true.
Andrew: And it just felt like I was in school and so it was hard. I still did it, but it was just quite the commitment.
Eric: I think we were in school too, so we had other homework at the time. [laughs]
Andrew: Yeah, exactly. I didn’t need more homework on top of… MuggleCast is my escape, not more schooling. Anyway, while I have my volume up plenty loud so I can appreciate every single decibel out of your guys’s mouths and…
Eric: It’s been a hundred days since our last recording.
Eric: This is… actually, it’s… I did the math – that was what I was doing briefly before we began recording – and it’s been actually 98 days since we last recorded a MuggleCast. I think that’s our longest hiatus.
Andrew: Yeah, it might be. Yeah, I guess so.
Eric: So far. To date or something. But that is how long we can go without chatting, apparently.
Eric: We find out. I chat with Micah fairly more frequently, but still this feels nice and it’s good and at least it’s a big enough time window that enough has happened to make for what I think is a pretty exciting episode.
News: Fantastic Beasts Film Series Planned to Be a Trilogy
Andrew: Well, like we’ve said, we would always come back when big news comes up and there was certainly big news over the weekend when Warner Bros… well, Warner Bros. didn’t exactly announce this. It came out of a piece, a New York Times profile, on Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara… I don’t know how to pronounce it.
Micah: You were good. No, that was good.
Micah: You just didn’t add the “hara.”
Eric: That was the Parseltongue version of his name. [laughs]
Andrew: I gave up mid last name. Anyway…
Andrew: Yeah, something like that. So Warner Bros.’ CEO, he was profiled in an article in The New York Times this weekend, and if you looked closely, you scrolled down, you do a little search on the page for Fantastic Beasts, you found a little gem which was that Warner Bros. is planning three Fantastic Beasts “megamovies.” And it was big news because we’ve heard… see, I was kind of undecided on how big of news that this actually was because on one hand we have heard before that Warner Bros. wanted to make a franchise out of Fantastic Beasts, so I don’t think anybody was expecting this to only be one movie unless it totally bombed. On the other hand, the fact that they are planning three movies is pretty significant because they have high hopes for this. New Harry Potter spin-off, if you will. So what were you guys’ initial reactions to the fact that this is going to be a trilogy?
Micah: Well, I tweeted…
Andrew: Oh, you did?
Micah: …after I found out the news, and I said that at the very minimum it will be four movies because we all know that the last one will get split in two.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Micah: …my initial reaction is… and obviously, a lot of people – in terms of the responses I’ve seen – have questioned, “Three movies? Well, no, it could be more.” I think that yes, it can be more but it all has to do with whether these movies are the success that Warner Bros. is hoping them to be. And chances are that you’re not going to get a producer, a director, and a slew of actors to commit to more than three films at the very beginning. I don’t think they’re going to sign on for seven right from the start, even though I’ve seen speculation about it possibly going seven movies. But I’m excited about this. It starts out in New York. It’s happening about seventy years before Potter.
Micah: And it’s going to be interesting to see how they alter the landscape to reflect that time period, and hopefully that means that a lot of stuff is going to be happening right in my neck of the woods as it relates to filming for the series.
Andrew: You think so?
Eric: Oh, lucky you.
Andrew: Does your area… see, here’s the thing. I’ve thought about that as well. I don’t think New York looks like it did back in the 1920s. I think it’s changed quite a bit. So…
Eric: You think it’d be closer to do it… to recreate it if they just did a studio or a green screen.
Micah: A Leavesden Studio? [laughs]
Andrew: Yeah, like if they shoot in London.
Andrew: I mean, I guess they could do some exterior filming in New York, but you’ve got to find things that are… that look like they’re from the ’20s, I think.
Micah: Right. That’s a great point.
Andrew: Like Central Park? [laughs]
Eric: Yeah, maybe.
Eric: But it’ll be really interesting in seeing how much of the film is on location. Just like it’ll be interesting seeing how much of the film is practical effects.
Eric: Or creature effects, as they say, rather than CGI. Because I think if you guys have seen… have any of you seen Noah? It just came out. I heard that all the… actually, staring Emma Watson. I heard that all of the animals were CGI. There were actually no animals at all used in the production of the film. And I would guess…
Micah: You can’t find a good animal actor these days.
Andrew: It’s hard. They’re all in unions. They have high rates.
Eric: They’re all dead.
Eric: Air Bud and Free Willy. Sorry, people. They’re dead. And the dog from The Artist is terminally ill.
Micah: Speaking of that, though, most of that movie was actually shot here on Long Island.
Micah: So again, I’m not saying that Long Island was the focal point for that biblical tale, but…
Micah: …as far as places around New York… what I’m interested in, though, is what areas of New York are going to be connected to this magical world. And it would be interesting to see what kind of ideas pop up in J.K. Rowling’s mind, thinking about simple things like buildings or marquee locations around the city. Andrew, you mentioned Central Park. Is there a Diagon Alley of sorts in Central Park?
Micah: I don’t know. It’s going to be interesting to see.
Eric: Garment District. [laughs] Well, I was thinking too, you think of J.K. Rowling’s kind of humor with areas that are already big and bustling like King’s Cross Station. If she took Grand Central Station and made it twice as big and massive and have it had a secret underground… hell, that could be the market for the beasts. [laughs] It could be in an underground basement.
Micah: Beast market.
Eric: We just don’t know. I think that’s kind of the most exciting thing about these movies. And when this news broke about three movies, I kind of harkened back to the fact that Jo would be writing it, which we found out I guess first, that she’s writing the screenplay for at least the first one. This news that there will be three kind of makes it seem like it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch if she wrote all three. At least the first three, even if they make more.
Eric: What do you guys think? I think that that jump could possibly be made. Perhaps, as has been the case with JKR before, she begins writing and then comes up with all sorts of extra stuff and people think it’s gold because…
Eric: …it is.
Andrew: We’re going to continue in a moment with our discussion on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but first I’m going to tell you where to find an audiobook. See what I did there? Today’s episode is brought to you by Audible.com. It is the Internet’s leading provider of audiobooks with more than 150,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including audio versions of many New York Times Best Sellers. For listeners of MuggleCast, Audible is offering you a free audiobook to give you a chance to try out their great service, and today I am going to recommend something that is pretty timely. If you follow entertainment news, you may have heard that another one of John Green’s books is going to be turned into a film. That book is Paper Towns. We know that The Fault in Our Stars has been shot and it’s going to be hitting theaters this June. The next book to be adapted will be Paper Towns. And I noticed when I took a look the other day that Paper Towns had soared, soared to the top of the Audible bestseller list because there’s a lot of interest now. Why are they adapting this one next? You will be able to find out by listening to it for free. Just go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast for a free audiobook. It can be Paper Towns, The Fault in Our Stars, any of the books that Audible has in their store. AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast. And we thank Audible for their support of the show.
I think right now, my feelings are that this is going to be… J.K. Rowling has a three part story in mind that are going to be told over these three films and that will be it. Because for her to be so passionate about this and… Warner Bros., the CEO, who The New York Times did a profile on, just going over there and being like, “Hey, what do you think of this?” and suddenly she’s all into it. It just doesn’t seem like this can really extend beyond three, and part of the reason I say that is because I’ve sort of been comparing this to The Hobbit. Now, obviously there are clear differences. For one, Warner Bros.’ The Hobbit was based on one small book and turned into three films. This is very different in that J.K. Rowling is writing all three movies, so it’s not going to feel stretched or filled with things that aren’t really necessary.
Andrew: So I think that there is a good chance this is only going to be three. She has a story in mind. She said to them, “Look, this is going to be three movies. Can you accept that?” They said, “Yes.” And what I also think, going along with this Hobbit theory as well, is that they’re going to film this the same way that they did The Hobbit, and that is same director for all three movies, film all three back to back to back, release all three one year apart from one another. The Hobbit currently, it’s in the middle of releasing them a year apart from one another. We had An Unexpected Journey in 2012, The Desolation of Smaug in 2013, and then this year There and Back Again in December 2014. What do you guys think of that?
Eric: It’s possible. I wonder how much of the same cast will be retained film to film, though.
Andrew: That’s the other thing. I think they’ve got to include everybody. Just like they do with The Hobbit.
Eric: Oh, you think so? Yeah, see that’s kind of like… I wonder if it wouldn’t in fact go to opposite ends of the earth, kind of like the Indiana Jones trilogy. And I’m forgetting about the fourth one, of course, but where it’s kind of a different cast of supporting characters [but] the same main character. And I also often compare Newt Scamander to Indiana Jones. I don’t know if that’s accurate, but… where he’s in different parts of the world, looking for different relics. It would be different beasts. So I can see it going the way that you just stated. I could also see it going kind of like any other regular movie where they do a sequel and it’s a couple of years later depending. So I could see it going either way.
Andrew: It’s a formula that works. When I was thinking about this, I looked at the box office totals. The first Hobbit made a billion dollars worldwide.
Eric: Wow! [laughs]
Andrew: Yeah. And then the second made $949 million worldwide, so it almost hit a billion. The third one? Time will tell. Maybe it will be a bigger box office than number two because… for the same reason that the final Harry Potter and the final Twilight did so well. Everybody wants to see it, “Oh my gosh, how’s it going to end?” That’s a draw for people.
Micah: Read the book.
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah.
Eric: Read the book. [laughs] You can’t do that this time.
Eric: And that’s kind of the joy of it.
Andrew: That is definitely the joy of it. I mean, there’s going to be so much interest around this because you legitimately won’t know what’s going to happen.
Andrew: If J.K. Rowling is going to write a compelling enough story like she did in the Harry Potter novels, then this is going to be a huge box office draw.
Eric: And just like you were saying, that kind of makes it great, the fact that she’s writing these movies. Because there won’t be stuff that’s stretched, there won’t be stuff that’s left out. It will be exactly as specific as the books were…
Eric: …because she’s able to write… she’s writing specifically for this format. It doesn’t need to be adapted. Everything that she wants in there is going to be in there and there won’t be a book about it that contains more.
Micah: Well, I don’t know about that. There will be stuff that gets cut.
Eric: Well… but I mean, in terms of what’s absolutely necessary…
Micah: No, she’s going to play a very big role in this.
Eric: …she is making that call versus a screenwriter.
Micah: Steve Kloves.
Eric: Yeah. Or that other guy.
Micah: Goldenberg? Yeah.
Micah: So one thing I did look up, though, because you kind of got me interested in what you said with Grand Central Station, Grand Central Station was created in 1871.
Eric: There you go.
Micah: So there is a very good chance that this station will play a large role in these movies. And I think that the architecture more or less has stayed the same. It’s been, certainly, restored, I’m sure, at one point or another. But that would be a place, talking about what has the look that it could have had back in the 1920s. Grand Central would definitely be one of those places in New York.
Andrew: Yeah, and I understand that that Apple store has actually been there since its inception as well.
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Andrew: So that will be a pretty cool scene.
Micah: Those things can be removed. They can be removed.
Andrew: [laughs] No, I’m kidding. I’m kidding.
Micah: I mean, Grand Central compared to Penn Station. Penn Station is an abomination, as far as I’m concerned. [laughs]
Eric: Well, I think we…
Andrew: Yeah, I can’t imagine Newt going through there.
Eric: Oh gosh, yeah, no. Not Penn Station. The bus terminal? Ugh. But I think we said this before when we first read the news. It’s kind of not what you would think for a beast movie to be set in a major bustling city because you think of these beasts as being kind of in the wild and rural areas.
Micah: Central Park is going to be filled with…
Micah: And other things. Yeah.
Micah: I’m just excited for this world to come to the US, even if it’s seventy years pre-Potter, because…
Eric: That’s true. Because we never saw anything…
Micah: We’ve never seen it. Yeah.
Eric: …from America.
Andrew: And you know what? I may be reading a little bit too into this, but I noticed in that profile, when I was reading it carefully for any other clues, that it says that the story will be starting in New York. Now, like I said, I don’t know if I’m reading too much into this, but could that possibly mean that the story is going to go abroad? Is it going to go back to the UK if it’s “starting” in New York? Or is The New York Times just saying the story starts there because it’s the beginning of the story, dummy?
Eric: I think I’m reading what you’re reading. It’s going to… I think he’s going to travel. I think he travels and is discovering these beasts in their natural habitat. So rather than having this movie be an adaptation of the textbook, it’s kind of the story that led to this main character writing that textbook. So he is going to be going around finding each of these creatures, and I’m sure there will be more creatures than [there] are in the book. But it’s kind of going to be him abroad is just how I see it. I mean, maybe one of those animals gets let loose in New York and that’s a… he’s the one who is tasked with catching it.
Eric: It’d be kind of cool. But I think, yeah, there is definitely a lot of potential for him to travel to each of these people’s… or sorry, these beasts’ natural habitat.
Micah: I agree.
Andrew: Just a reminder as well, he went to Hogwarts. He was born in 1897 [and] he went to Hogwarts. So if this story is set in the ’20s, that means he’s pretty much fresh out of Hogwarts. He decided, “Oh, okay. I’m going to go over to New York.”
Andrew: But I think we agreed on a previous episode that J.K. Rowling is going to have to rewrite a little bit of the history of this character because I’m looking at the harrypotter.wikia.com entry for him and he joined the Ministry of Magic after Hogwarts, he spent two years in the Office for House-Elf Relocation, then he joined the Beast Division and put his knowledge of magical beasts to good use, then he was commissioned in 1918 to write Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. So maybe this first movie actually follows him writing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them?
Eric: It is possible. I mean, I’d love to see it take off at his graduation of Hogwarts.
Eric: Wouldn’t it be funny if they shut down the Studio Tour for a couple of weeks [laughs] just to put everything back together…
Eric: …and show some Hogwarts sets?
Andrew: I mean, for the sake of getting fans really pumped, it would be very cool if we went back to Hogwarts at the start of the first movie.
Eric: I mean, and then you get people like Emma, who said in a recent interview last week that she would love to cameo in Fantastic Beasts. And it doesn’t look like that will ever happen. I mean, she wouldn’t really reprise her role as Hermione unless it was a time-traveling Hermione or if they did a super flash-forward at the end. There aren’t many magizoologists, people with Newt’s position, but I think both Luna and her husband, whoever that may be, become zoologists in the future of the Harry Potter books. So there’s very few people who do what they do. And these casts, just like The Hobbit did with Frodo and some of the cast from The Lord of the Rings showing up in The Shire in the beginning and having it be a flashback. It would be cool to do it. It would be great to see. I think fans would love it. But I think this film is going to stand on its own in a really big way.
Andrew: Yeah, I agree. Umm…
Micah: And didn’t…
Micah: Go ahead.
Andrew: No, go ahead. Please.
Micah: I’m just… I’m interested off of what you said, though, with how it starts in New York. And does that mean we’re only in New York for a fleeting moment before he travels somewhere else or back to the UK? So I’m hopeful that he at least spends some time here, or maybe he’s here for graduate school, or he’s studying…
Micah: …at some institute here in the United States and it’s brought him to New York, or some special project. I think it’s going to be really exciting. And there’s really no boundaries for her in writing this. I feel like, for the most part – Eric, you touched on it – whatever she writes is going to make it… sort of the major plot points are going to make it to the screen. And the fact that none of us have a book that we can really go to and read ahead and know what’s going to happen, I think that’s what’s going to make this in some ways more exciting than Potter.
Andrew: Yeah. No, that’s a great point. It also… lately I’ve been wondering if J.K. Rowling could possibly release some version of this story in book form before the movie hits theaters. And what made me think about that is Seth MacFarlane, the creator of Family Guy. He is working on his first movie where he actually stars, his physical self actually stars in it, called A Million Ways to Die in the West. And he released a book version of it prior to the film’s release later this summer. It’s already out. If you go to bookstores now, you will see it right at the front. It’s called A Million Ways to Die in the West. And it’s not the manuscript, but it’s sort of like an adaptation of the film. And I was wondering… this made me wonder if J.K. Rowling could actually do something similar to this because obviously for J.K. Rowling to produce a Harry Potter spin-off book would be huge news.
Andrew: And I would have to think that publishers are clamoring for this to happen.
Eric: Oh, definitely. And there are novelizations of popular movies just in general.
Eric: Not written by the screenwriter, but just other… that’s just kind of a thing, is to have books based on the film. [laughs] And I wouldn’t want anybody to write it but J.K. Rowling.
Andrew: Yeah, and…
Eric: As to whether or not it would come out before the movie? I’m not sure. Maybe at the same time, maybe after. But it just doesn’t… it almost doesn’t make sense to not have something that she has written not be in book form. But I realize she’s trying something new.
Andrew: Right. Considering her roots.
Micah: And speaking of her writing…
Andrew: But it actually goes into the other question of: Did J.K. Rowling really write this screenplay? Because screenplay writing is completely different from writing a book, as we discussed on a previous episode.
Andrew: So… and I mean, from what we know, she wrote the screenplay. But what does that mean? Because you have to go to college to take screenplay classes and understand how that works.
Andrew: It’s a completely different language. Storytelling language.
Eric: It is. From what I gather, though, there are as many different scripts or screenplays and they are written in as many different ways as there are screenwriters, people writing them. So it’s just like poetry. It’s kind of like that. There’s a script… just from what I know based on viewing and commentary and behind-the-scenes videos on DVDs that I get, people talk about certain screenplays as being very visual. You have the dialogue, but then you have this very heavy description of what should be happening on screen at the same time. And I just imagine that Jo’s screenplays will be like that.
Eric: Where it will be more like… they feel almost more like books because you’re telling exactly what the camera is doing as opposed to leaving it up to director interpretation.
Eric: So I think there’s… I think her screenplays will read more like books and that comes from just her ability for detail.
Eric: But yeah, I think… I don’t know. I really want to lay my hands on an actual screenplay of the Harry Potter books – or sorry, screenplay of the Harry Potter films – to see specifically how it was adapted, like how visual it is.
Andrew: They’re definitely out there because when Warner Bros. submits the films for Oscars, they make those special Oscar “For Your Consideration” sites and they put the screenplays up for public consumption.
Eric: Oh, okay. Yeah, but I think it will be a visual script because I think that’s the way… I don’t think she’d be able to do it any less detailed.
Eric: Because I do think of screenplays… just like you, I think of them as being like skeletons almost. You fill them in with set design and all that other stuff, but the writing is basically just… it’s dialogue. It’s what you show on screen. It’s not any of that sort of inner-thought backstory stuff, unless there is voice-over.
Micah: Mhm. So what kind of release date do you think we’re looking at?
Andrew: I still don’t know. I mean, I want to think 2017. I think that’s the earliest we can see it. 2016 seems too ambitious. Then again, Star Wars starts filming in May and they’re going to be released… it’s going to be released 18 months later.
Andrew: So I have no clue. There is no clue.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: I mean, for all we know, J.K. Rowling is still writing the first… we just don’t know… we haven’t heard any progress updates. That’s what makes it so hard.
Micah: I think you should get Robert Galbraith on the case.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Eric: You mean Cormoran Strike.
Andrew: Well, Robert Galbraith is slowing J.K. Rowling down because as we’re going to talk about in a little bit, she’s writing another story. She’s writing like five more books.
Eric: Yeah, that… I mean, talk about something else that she wrote that’s turning into a whole series.
Eric: Because there’s that much character development to be had. So I think there’s good hope for these wizarding… or these Fantastic Beasts movies. And Micah, you asked if they’d be in New York for a second, but I think it’ll be more than that because this was America during the Roaring Twenties, and I think that New York was probably a huge cultural center at that time, and it would be hard to, I think, just whisk him away. That would stink. But I think it’s going to be there in a big way.
Andrew: Getting back to the idea of if there’s more than three films, I have to think that Warner Bros. politely found a way to ask her if there’s a possibility there can be more than three. Or it could have been part of the deal, that J.K. Rowling’s side of the deal was, “Look, I’ll do this for you, but three and that’s it. I don’t care if you want to split it. It’s three, period.” And we also have to remember that after this Fantastic Beasts announcement initially came out last September, we saw that Warner Bros. trademarked Quidditch Through the Ages and Beedle the Bard. So there could also be a secret plan in the works to turn those into movies after Fantastic Beasts is finished.
Eric: I would love a Beedle the Bard sort of… what would they… how would they call it?
Eric: It would be like a… yeah, either a miniseries or…
Andrew: Short films?
Eric: …one for each one, or just different segments. A segmented film, like Four Rooms or Grindhouse [laughs] or all the bad adult ones I’m thinking of. But yeah, like that.
Micah: Yeah. I think it’d be hard to make Quidditch Through the Ages into a movie, but hey, if anybody can do it I’m sure Warner Bros. can.
Andrew: Was that written by a certain author?
Eric: Yeah, was it Kennilworthy Whisp? I think it was Kennilworthy Whisp.
Andrew: I’m looking. I mean, if Fantastic Beasts was… yeah, you’re right. If Fantastic Beasts was penned by one author, I could see Quidditch Through the Ages also being adapted into a film. I mean, maybe this guy traveled the world, learning more about Quidditch. I guess that could be interesting. I don’t know.
Eric: [laughs] Well, what I want to know is what Mr. Tsujihara – getting back to this interview – said to J.K. Rowling. She said it took one phone call and discussion over tea or a dinner. One day. She was all of a sudden committing all this time to writing not just like a basic skeletal draft, but the screenplay for this whole thing. And she said that the story was a bit of a story that she had tucked away in a drawer for her kids one day.
Eric: Which is just remarkable that whoever this guy is… and this is a great story by The New York Times about how Mr. Tsujihara was the unexpected genius who is negotiating all these billion dollar deals. I want to know what he said to JKR to get her to do this because it’s amazing. There’s new… there’s going to be years of new Potter casting. And hey, if they’re looking for Americans this time, I’m sure that Micah is going to go and try [to] be in one of these things.
Micah: That’s right.
Andrew: Are you, Micah? Are you going to apply?
Micah: Why not? I could at least be an extra.
Andrew: You know, Evanna Lynch got her start through MuggleNet. Now you can too.
Micah: That’s right. Yeah, I could stand idly by on the street or walk past Newt.
Andrew: Oh, you just want to be an extra.
Andrew: Why wouldn’t you want a speaking role?
Eric: I think Micah likes to troll.
Micah: I could get a speaking role, actually.
Andrew: Do an audition right now. Say, “Hey Newt…
Micah: I could be…
Andrew: …have you seen that beast over there?”
Micah: Hey Newt, have you seen that beast over there?
Andrew: Yeah, perfect. It could use a little more of a New York accent, but…
Micah: That’s true.
Eric: Can Micah do a New York accent?
Micah: I really don’t have one.
Andrew: You know David Heyman. You have an in to the casting department.
Micah: That’s true.
Andrew: [laughs] That’s true. That’s true.
Eric: Too funny. Too funny.
Micah: It’s going to be more like a… I’m trying to think. I really don’t have a New York accent, so it’s hard to fake one.
Andrew: Yeah, you don’t. I’m thankful. I don’t like it, the New York accent.
Micah: Or [attempts a Long Island accent] Long Island.
Micah: [attempts a Long Island accent] Hey, Newt.
Andrew: [laughs] Well, keep working on that.
Andrew: In another hundred days on Episode 273, maybe you’ll have a better audition for us. [laughs] No offense, of course.
Andrew: Anything else to say about…
Micah: None taken.
Andrew: …Fantastic Beasts?
Eric: I don’t think so.
Andrew: All right.
News: Future of the Cormoran Strike Series
Andrew: There’s been some other news that we’re going to talk about as well. We’re just going to go kind of in chronological order here, starting back in February. Does anybody else want to intro these stories, or do you want me to?
Eric: Yeah, I’ll talk about this because as we mentioned before – Andrew mentioned just a few moments ago – about Robert Galbraith and the future of the Cormoran Strike series, and a couple of weeks ago, J.K. Rowling spoke, actually, at Oxford: what it’s like to write as a guy. And this was just interesting because it’s the first time we really get her talking about this and how it’s different… how your writing is different and how you have to start thinking like a man and the main protagonist, which… Harry was a young boy, it’s kind of more gender neutral, all that sort of thing. So what she says is she got inspiration from the film As Good As It Gets. She says, “There’s a line…” One moment.
“There’s a line in As Good As It Gets where a woman asks how he writes such wonderful female characters, and he says, and I’m paraphrasing, ‘I think of a man, and I take out the logic,’ or the sense. That made me laugh, as misogynistic as it is, because when I write a man I take certain things out and give free rein to aspects of me that would not be acceptable. To be honest, I think I’m quite blokey – at least I’m told I am, and I like writing both.”
Eric: [laughs] She thinks of herself as being blokey. I think what she means is she’s just being less lady-like in all aspects. She says, “…aspects of me that would not be acceptable.” So I guess she can just be unfiltered and brutal, is kind of how she grasps it.
Eric: Having not finished that book yet…
Eric: I feel all of your eyes staring at me. Sorry. I totally plan to. I couldn’t quite say, except to say that it seemed convincing when I was reading it and I think she does it well.
Andrew: Yeah, no, her writing is as strong as ever in The Cuckoo’s Calling. But speaking of that, we found out in February that the sequel… well, we knew the sequel was coming. She had said as much. The official website said so. But in mid-February, we learned more about the sequel. It is called The Silkworm. It’s going to be released June 24, and this one follows a novelist… well, it’s about a novelist who goes missing. His wife calls in Strike, of course, and at first, Mrs. Quine – that’s the wife – “just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days, as he has done before, and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives – meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.” So that’s part of the synopsis. I think that’s a very interesting premise, so… I enjoyed the first one and I’m very much looking forward to the second one.
Eric: Yeah, that premise seems a lot like sort of what interests Jo, and we know that from the Potter series with the press and certain things that Harry wished didn’t get out or did get out. I think it’s a topic of fascination in the way that the first book featured… and I’m told that it really focused on celebrity and how celebrities are badgered or portrayed.
Eric: And sort of the price of fame, as it were. So yeah, I think it’s probably, in spirit, very fraternal with her other work.
Micah: It’s going to be not as much a flow, I think, as we had with Potter. And what I mean by that is it’s not like… Harry’s story kind of spanned seven books and you knew that you were going through his entire career at Hogwarts, whereas with Cormoran Strike, I feel like you’re just getting individual stories about the cases that he works.
Micah: I’m sure that at some point, if she is indeed going to write seven novels… which has been speculated, right?
Micah: Then there are pieces, I’m sure, that J.K. Rowling will do a great job weaving in from novel to novel.
Andrew: It’s a good point.
Micah: Whether it’s characters or things that have happened in the past. But it’s a different kind of writing, I think, for her because it’s just… it’s sort of these unique cases and…
Micah: The only other thing that I saw in this article that I thought was noteworthy is that she’s already writing the third. So clearly, she really enjoys this character, really enjoys this series. But to touch on a point that you brought up earlier, is it interfering with her writing the screenplay for these films?
Andrew: Mhm. Well…
Micah: I mean, I don’t really care.
Micah: I’m fine to wait for all of this.
Andrew: You don’t? Are you sure?
Andrew: I care.
Micah: You care?
Andrew: But if you think about it, the more time she spends on Robert Galbraith, being Robert Galbraith, then the less time she’s spending on Fantastic Beasts. And this is not to fault her by any stretch of the imagination. I’m just saying this is fact. If you spend more time doing something else, you’re going to have less time doing Y. It’s just what happens.
Eric: Maybe. Try to think of it this way, though. Say her creative juices are flowing and the muscles are being flexed. Once that starts spinning, it’s easier to multitask and come up with equally brilliant material no matter where it is. Once you’re in the writing mood or… think of it like that, where…
Eric: Because she’s doing… almost because she’s doing Robert Galbraith, she can also do Fantastic Beasts and whip it out kind of at a faster pace because she’s…
Eric: …not just doing one thing.
Andrew: But we also have to consider, does she want to be that busy? I mean, this sounds like these are two full-time jobs between writing several more Robert Galbraith books – if that report…
Andrew: …that I’ll bring up in a second is true – and then three Fantastic Beasts movies. This sounds like a tremendous amount of work.
Eric: I think she does want to be that busy because she was before, and I think she had a few years…
Eric: She had a few years where she said, “It’s important that I take time off,” and she did.
Eric: And no tweets happened. [laughs] No news happened.
Eric: For… and no tweets have almost still happened, but I think that she misses it. Or not necessarily misses it, but if I could speculate, I would say that the pressure for her… she’s ready to receive it again.
Eric: And I think that she’s ready to operate under similar circumstances. But she is calling the shots. If she needs to take more time off between this book and the next Cormoran Strike book, I’m sure she will.
Eric: She’ll never be… she’s fortunate to never really have to feel pressure of a deadline again because she’s making up all the rules.
Andrew: Yeah. So the first one came out last year; this new one is coming out this year. I would be shocked… if the seven books is true, I would be shocked if she releases one every year seven years in a row.
Andrew: There’s no reason to release them a year apart from one another.
Eric: I agree.
Andrew: And not to mention, how about some other books that she wants to write?
Andrew: Surely, she doesn’t want to live in Robert Galbraith and Fantastic Beasts for the next seven years.
Andrew: Because Fantastic Beasts is going to take multiple years.
Eric: That’s true. She always made those jokes, though, before, that she goes out in public with a mustache and a shirt… or sorry, a top hat.
Micah: I’m glad she has a shirt. Yeah.
Eric: But maybe she really does want to get into that…
Micah: I would just add this, though. I think, though… and I’m not saying there’s pressure at all, but one thing to keep in mind is that she did not intend for Robert Galbraith to be revealed.
Micah: So there’s a chance that she could have taken much more time in writing these novels over a period of, let’s say, ten years and slowly released them…
Micah: …to her own satisfaction. It was only once the news became public that she now realized that, “Well, if I really like this character, and I really like the series and the direction that it’s going in, I’m going to have to continue to write because people are going to want to read it.”
Micah: And Fantastic Beasts may have been something that she could have focused more of her time on, but now she is in a position where she has to continue to do these two things side by side. And I think with the Cormoran Strike books, maybe she just had a really great cliffhanger [laughs] at the end of the last one and she had to go write the third. Or maybe it’s just all… Eric, as you said, that muscle is working and she just wants to keep writing and writing and writing. I think a lot of Fantastic Beasts is already written in some way, shape, or form. Maybe it’s part of her hundreds or thousands of pages of notes in those boxes and it’s just a matter of piecing all of it together, where… and it’s been written in some way. Whereas this new series is fresh and she has to dedicate a little bit more time to putting it together.
Andrew: I want to add that when we first found out about the first book, The Cuckoo’s Calling, she said on the website… when the website was released a couple of weeks later, she said the second one was already completed. So going back to Micah’s point about the fact that these may have been written in advance, that is… we know for a fact that she had number two done before we even knew number one was written by her.
Eric: Right, and that really makes you question how long it would have gone unnoticed.
Andrew: Yeah. With that said, also, we don’t know for how much longer she wanted to keep it a secret. But I didn’t get the impression that it was like she wanted to wait another year. I thought it was another few months at least she wanted to wait.
Andrew: I could be wrong, but… because how long can you keep that secret, really?
Eric: I don’t know. We’ll never know, I guess, is the answer.
Andrew: We’ll never know.
Eric: There was one other news story based on this.
Andrew: Yeah. By the way, real quick, where was it said that she is already working on the third one?
Eric: Let me see.
Andrew: Where did you see that, Micah? You said that, right?
Eric: Yeah, Micah, you said that.
Andrew: Micah, own up to it now. [laughs]
Micah: It’s in the headline that I’m reading.
Andrew: Oh, this next article. “Third one already in progress.” Okay.
Micah: “Publishing sources say Rowling has been working on the third since last year.” So it’s a good chance that that one is almost a wrap as well.
Andrew: Yeah, I guess it’s not a surprise considering if number two was done last year, then number three is…
Eric: Then number three could be…
Andrew: Yeah, was done this year.
Andrew: That makes sense.
MuggleCast 272 Transcript (continued)
News: J.K. Rowling to Make Appearance as Robert Galbraith
Eric: Yeah. Well, apparently, J.K. Rowling – we talked about this just a minute ago, getting into the mind set of a guy – she’s going to be making a public appearance apparently as Robert Galbraith. This is happening on the Harrogate stage, which is 18th of July at 7:30 p.m. The Royal Hall in Harrogate. And it will be J.K. Rowling’s first and only appearance this year as Robert Galbraith.
Andrew: Yeah. It’s fun to joke that, “Oh, she’ll wear a mustache,” but I think she’s a little too classy for that. I think she’s just going to show up being her usual self and talking Robert Galbraith. It will be interesting. Hopefully, she reveals a little more about when she… like these questions we’ve been asking, when she planned to announce Cuckoo’s Calling. I would have to think it was before the holiday season last year because that would have been a great way to boost sales. [laughs]
Andrew: And then also, how many books does she intend on writing? So this will be good. Hopefully, it will be a fruitful event.
Eric: That information comes from Robert Galbraith’s website, actually, and apparently it’s taking place during the Theakston – I don’t quite know how that’s said – Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate, UK.
Andrew: Yeah. So obviously, a good event for her to be appearing at. I remember when this first one was revealed, there was talk of studios looking into snapping up the movie rights. But we never heard anything else about that, so I don’t know if that fell through…
Eric: [laughs] What you don’t know is those movies have already come out; they’re just called something different.
Andrew: Yeah, exactly.
Micah: David Heyman has them locked up.
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, he might. I mean, he might.
Micah: Can I just say… I mean, we haven’t done a show, but our good friend David Heyman got a hell of a lot of shout-outs during the Oscars this past March.
Eric: Yes. I was enjoying watching him in that show. Every time it went to him or… I mean, Gravity won six BAFTAs and seven Oscars this year, which he produced and Alfonso Cuaron directed, so mad props to those gentlemen.
News: J.K. Rowling Reveals Harry Potter’s Original Name
Andrew: Where are we here? I think we’re past all the Robert Galbraith stuff.
Eric: There’s Harry Batt.
Andrew: Oh, right. Go ahead, you talk about that. I think it’s just a little tidbit.
Eric: Yeah, very interesting tiny little tidbit here from mid-February. J.K. Rowling recently spoke at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford… actually, it was the same date and time we mentioned just before. But she said that instead of Harry Potter, her title character was initially called Harry Batt.
Andrew: Two “t”s. B-A-T-T.
Eric: Yeah, B-A-T-T. In one of those strange “what would have been.” We could talk about would it have caught on, all that stuff, because he’s Harry Potter and everybody knows that. But just an interesting first name. I think the only other instance of that that I recall is Luke Skywalker was originally called Luke Starkiller or something like that, in George Lucas’ first draft.
Micah: That sounds more badass.
Eric: It is badass, but it’s more Sith than Jedi.
Micah: That’s true.
Eric: So Harry Batt doesn’t have as much of a ring to it. If Harry Potter rings? We’re biased. I don’t know if Potter rings.
Micah: Batt just sounds like one of those boring British names.
Eric: What, Batt?
Eric: It’s possible.
Andrew: Yeah, I’m glad she went with Potter instead.
Eric: [laughs] It made all the difference, for all we know.
News: Harry Potter Hogwarts Collection Now Available
Andrew: We all remember Harry Potter Wizard’s Collection, the big, very expensive complete box set.
Andrew: I don’t think either of you guys bought it, right?
Eric: Did you? Do you have it?
Eric: Yeah, I don’t have it either.
Micah: I did not buy it.
Andrew: Oh, you got a review copy.
Micah: If that’s the one we’re talking about. Is it the one in the big box?
Andrew: Yeah, yeah.
Andrew: It’s got the map and…
Micah: Well, they’ve made so many freaking versions of this thing.
Andrew: Yeah. No, the Wizard’s Collection is the big one.
Micah: The super ultimate…
Micah: …platinum Auror edition.
Andrew: Now, lucky for you, they have a more affordable version. It’s called Harry Potter Hogwarts Collection. This is a 31-disc set, so it comes with everything that was in Wizard’s Collection but without all the gimmick. So it doesn’t come with the crazy box with the hidden compartments, it doesn’t come with the map. It’s just a lot… it’s a scaled-down version.
Micah: What fun is that?
Andrew: It’s discs only. Huh?
Andrew: I think Wizard’s Collection came with a map, didn’t it? I’m looking at the little…
Eric: Yeah, I think so. I think it came with a Marauder’s Map.
Micah: No, no, I said what fun is that if it doesn’t have all the compartments.
Eric: Oh, what fun is it? Well, it’s like $500 less fun, so…
Eric: [laughs] That’s the point behind it. There was another post about this, which I didn’t bother linking to, but it has a few extra features that haven’t been seen before. But what you kind of should take away from this collection if you were me is that there are still no bloopers or outtakes.
Eric: Which David Yates, years and years ago – I think it was 2011 – we spoke with him and he promised. He was like, “Hey, this is going to be great. It’s going to come out with outtakes and there’s a ton of them. We have a great blooper reel.” And we have yet to see it and it’s not being advertised as part of this Hogwarts Collection. So for me personally, I’m still holding off.
Andrew: It looks like a nice set, but it’s still $225 and that just seems like a lot of money for eight movies. I know you get the bonus features and you also get the eight-part documentary, which is interesting as well, but $225 for an aging movie series?
Eric: Yeah. This is only for if you never had one of these movies before. If you already own them, it’s useless. And from what I understand, the extended versions of the films with the deleted scenes put back in are also not part of this set.
Andrew: Yeah. It comes with Blu-ray 3D versions of Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and 2, but only Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and 2.
Eric: Yeah. It’s so weird to see… I keep seeing that in stores, too, Deathly Hallows – Part 1 in 3D. And that was converted to 3D almost for home video, remember? Because the effects weren’t ready by the time it hit theaters.
Andrew: Yeah, they scrapped it. Yeah.
Eric: Yeah, they totally scrapped it and didn’t do it. So the fact that it exists in 3D now means they converted it after.
Eric: And it’s just interesting to think about.
Micah: I think it is 3D in the set that I have as well.
Andrew: Yeah. I mean, it’s all the same discs as Wizard’s Collection minus all those, like I described, the gimmicks, the compartments, the fancy box.
Andrew: So yeah. I mean, ultimately though, if you’re looking for a way to get all the movies, you can go on eBay…
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: …and you can buy all of them used for like 30 bucks. I’m sure it’s really cheap to find them.
Eric: Oh, even Blu-rays. They have… I think it was at Walmart, and the Blu-rays… they have Blu-ray double features of every two movies.
Andrew: Yeah, there you go.
Eric: So they have “1,” “2,” “3,” “4,” “5,” “6,” “7,” “8” for $5, $7, something like that. It was absolutely ridiculous. You get them 1080p high definition Blu-ray. Unbelievable. And that was how I had the high-def versions of the Harry Potter films.
Andrew: My favorite is… are the Ultimate Editions.
Andrew: Because remember they were releasing those every few months?
Andrew: I like them because they’re all separate. You buy them all separate and it kind of reminded me of having books, the separate books.
Micah: But they stopped them, didn’t they? Or did they finally go through with all of them?
Andrew: I think they finally went through. I see Deathly Hallows here. But the Deathly Hallows Ultimate Edition is Movies 1 and 2.
Micah: Oh, so it’s combined. It’s not separate.
Andrew: Yeah. On the box, it says Year 7. So I guess they all say Year 1, Year 2…
Andrew: So I like those. I don’t have them all, but I like those.
News: Menu Items for Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley Expansion Revealed
Micah: Guys, I have to be honest with you: looking at this next story does make me a bit hungry.
Andrew: Me, too. I didn’t eat dinner.
Eric: Hungry for a park opening, which we don’t yet have a date on. We were expecting to get a date, I think, on the reveal of when Harry Potter Diagon Alley theme park is coming. We don’t have it yet.
Eric: But there was a whole convention in January. It was mid to late January, like the 20th, where they had the press come in and they actually had a bunch of locals. You could get tickets for it, and I forget exactly what the junction was called, but they did reveal…
Andrew: “A Celebration of Harry Potter.”
Eric: Oh, of course.
Eric: How generic. I should have known.
Andrew: Well, you may remember going way back, the initial name for the first one… this is the second one, but the first one was called “Harry Potter Home Entertainment Celebration.”
Andrew: Remember that? Yeah.
Eric: Yeah. But anyway, they did get to preview… for some of the press, they got to preview the food that would be happening at The Leaky Cauldron. And to be honest, I think everybody went into The Leaky Cauldron and just can’t say anything about it for another couple of months. But the food that’s happening there… just to kind of interest people who have been to the Wizarding World, you know you can get fish and chips and there’s a lot of… there’s this focus on British cuisine existing already in The Three Broomsticks. With Diagon Alley, with The Leaky Cauldron, there’s going to be a few more options, from what it sounds like. A steak and ale pie, a chicken and mushroom pie, a number of additional pastries and creams for dessert. And I think the big thing that you should take away from this news story is going to be, of course, Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor, which will exist in the Diagon Alley section. That’s where Harry goes in Book 3 to do his homework, and Florean helps him out, I think, with Astronomy and gives him free ice cream. So that’s totally going to be there and it’s going to be an ice cream parlor and there’s going to be lots of ice cream flavors specific to that area of the theme park. So just some really cool things to look forward to. As I’m speaking now, my mouth is watering. I should just stop looking at these photos.
Andrew: The rumor… I think they’re aiming for June for release. But there’s also been speculation, “Oh, it’s running a little delayed, so maybe it’ll be later in June or July.” I mean, it’s a big project, especially compared to Hogsmeade, because this time there’s a train involved. You’ve got the mini expansion happening at Hogsmeade for the train, and then of course everything that’s going on at Diagon Alley, so it’s a pretty big undertaking.
Eric: Do we know when Hollywood is opening? The theme park?
Andrew: Next year.
Eric: Next year?
Andrew: Yeah. It’s still…
Eric: Okay. Like in summer?
Andrew: I guess so. It’s still… they just started going vertical on their construction here, so…
Andrew: Yeah, I would assume they’re aiming for summer. I guess that would make the most sense, considering Hogsmeade and now Diagon Alley both opened this year. But I’m not even that really excited for this Hollywood one, other than the fact that it’s close to me, because Hollywood looks to just be Hogsmeade. I mean, they haven’t released any concept art or anything, but I think it’s just going to be Hogsmeade. I mean, they’re really tight on space in Hollywood, so…
Eric: Yeah. Well, didn’t they demolish an entire theater?
Andrew: Yeah, yeah.
Eric: But it’s still kind of…
Andrew: But there was zero room before that, so…
Eric: Oh. Oh. [laughs] Now there’s a little bit.
Andrew: Yeah. Yeah.
Andrew: It should be fine.
Eric: Yeah. But this is exciting. Obviously, these plans have already happened and we’re just finding out about them little bits by bit at a time.
Andrew: Mhm. Mhm.
Micah: Yeah. It’s some heavy British fare, [laughs] to be honest with you, to be serving in a very warm climate, but…
Eric: [laughs] Yeah.
Andrew: Well, I mean, they did that with the first one.
Micah: Yeah, they did.
Andrew: I mean, they have, what? Fish and chips and… I don’t know what. [laughs] I can’t remember what else.
Eric: Bangers and mash. I’m trying to think what else. Yeah, that kind of…
Andrew: We’re Americans. We like to eat a lot of food.
Micah: That’s true.
Eric: Yeah, it’s true.
Micah: That’s very true.
Eric: At least…
Micah: So I’m looking forward to it.
Eric: At least with the Harry Potter parks, there were dietary restrictions. Like there’s no soda being served in…
Micah: But you can have Butterbeer, which has about five thousand packs of sugar in it.
Andrew: It’s true.
Eric: There are some exceptions to the rule, Micah. I don’t make the rules.
News: J.K. Rowling Releases New Quidditch World Cup Information on Pottermore
Micah: So I think, to wrap up the news discussion, we can briefly touch on our favorite subject, and that is Pottermore. [laughs] And there’s some new information that has been released courtesy of J.K. Rowling, who asked that all of the wonderful… all of her wonderful followers, I should say – and maybe some that are not her followers – retweet the hashtag #wizards4scotlandrugbyteam. And as a thank you for doing that, she gave all of the fans a deep insight into the history of the Quidditch World Cup.
Andrew: Yup. I didn’t retweet it, but I did…
Micah: I did not, either.
Andrew: …read it.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Micah: I do not follow her.
Andrew: It was pretty interesting, actually. She had a good amount to share. This was part one. She also did a second part where she revealed that Krum is out of retirement for the 2014 Quidditch World Cup. I thought it was interesting…
Andrew: …that she was talking about present day tournaments, given that I don’t think we ever heard about anything really going on in present day.
Eric: Yeah, that’s true. That’s…
Eric: That’s pretty true.
Micah: …part one focused on the rules and regulations of the tournament, how it’s governed by the International Confederation of Wizards Quidditch Committee, and talked a lot about the structure of the tournament, the history of the game, and some of the more unusual and controversial entries into the rule book. And we’re not going to go into detail here, I don’t think, but…
Micah: …we want to leave it up to listeners to go and experience it, read it for yourself.
Micah: Now, what was the hashtag for? Was it for a specific cause?
Eric: [laughs] That’s…
Micah: If that gets a thousand retweets, I will follow her.
Andrew: [laughs] A thousand retweets.
Eric: Oh, wow. Okay. Does she have to be the first one to tweet it?
Andrew: The tweet was #wizards4scotlandrugbyteam. I don’t totally understand. It had something to do with rugby happening over in the UK.
Eric: But I couldn’t say what…
Andrew: Me neither.
Eric: …but it was definitely something like that. Yeah, a lot…
Micah: I think it’s probably just the general support of wizards – being us – for the rugby team over there in Scotland.
Andrew: It was a clever thing in that J.K. Rowling got directly involved with Pottermore and rallied her followers and obviously was tweeting more, which is a good thing. So…
Eric: Yeah, I agree.
News: Bloomsbury to Publish New Children’s Edition of the Harry Potter Series
Andrew: There actually is one more news story, and that is that Bloomsbury has decided to republish the UK children’s edition…
Micah: Oh, another one.
Andrew: …Harry Potter books. Yeah, start saving up for this new set.
Micah: I do have the children’s editions from the UK, though.
Andrew: Yeah, I mean, those were the best.
Eric: Yeah, me too. I like them.
Andrew: Yeah, they were the best.
Micah: They’re still wrapped in plastic. I haven’t opened them, so…
Eric: Oh, wow. Well, you’re not missing much on the inside of the book. Let me tell you that.
Eric: The UK editions don’t have chapter images. We were really spoiled with Mary GrandPrÈ.
Eric: And really beyond the chapter images – which our listeners may be like, “He’s crazy. Who cares?” – they actually don’t change the font for Hogwarts letters and different letters that Harry gets in the mail from Sirius. There’s that one in Book 3 from Hagrid where the teardrops are on it because Beaky has just been sentenced to death. All of that stuff that was Hagrid’s scrawling handwriting or Mafalda Hopkirk’s beautiful script, none of that is in the UK editions. It’s all just one font. I think it’s Garamond, which is… it just takes you out of the experience. The way that the US versions took you into the experience, I can’t read through the UK books because they don’t hold my hand in that way.
Micah: They don’t hold your hand in that way. Interesting.
Andrew: Maybe they will this time, though, because this new reprint – this new version of the series – is going to be redesigned inside and out.
Andrew: That was something that they said in the press release. So maybe it will include chapter art, and maybe it will be Mary GrandPrÈ’s. I mean, I don’t think there’s any reason not to just use hers unless they really want this new illustrator, Jonny Duddle, to do them. I guess that’s possible.
Micah: Duddle. Like Batt.
Eric: Duddle like a what?
Micah: Like Batt.
Eric: I don’t… oh. [laughs]
Micah: So… but, I mean, if they do use Mary GrandPrÈ’s, she might be able to make a nice little penny off of that.
Eric: No, I don’t think she makes… I really don’t think she makes any money off her art.
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Andrew: Was that sarcasm?
Eric: I’m actually being honest. I heard that once.
Andrew: No, I bet she will.
Eric: No, but…
Andrew: Well, she probably did… she probably doesn’t get a nickel every time a Harry Potter book is sold in the US, but they would pay her, I think, to use them in the UK because it’s a completely different deal. You know?
Eric: Right. I have a feeling that they’ll do it all different. There’s a quote from Jonny Duddle, who says:
“I’m hugely excited to work my way through the wonderful books. I couldn’t have asked for more enjoyable subject matter. It’s exciting, daunting, and I feel the weight of responsibility, and I’m just hoping that my illustrations faithfully reflect the characters and world created by J.K. Rowling.”
So it sounds like he’s talking maybe a little bit more than about covers only.
Eric: If I had to guess from that quote.
Eric: And he’s known for doing picture books, which have a lot more pictures than just the front and back cover. The picture books that he is known for include The Pirate Cruncher and The Pirates Next Door.
Micah: Yes. Which we all have and have read.
Eric: [laughs] Yes. We love those.
Micah: Very familiar with.
Eric: It’s the same… yes.
Andrew: Just like we’ve seen all the content from the new… see, here’s the other thing. Okay, so we have this Bloomsbury… so Bloomsbury is re-releasing them with the new covers. And then also, beginning in 2015, they’re re-re-releasing them…
Andrew: …the complete illustrated versions, and those are the ones that may… we don’t know for sure, but they call them complete illustrated versions, meaning there is going to be a hell of a lot of pictures inside.
Andrew: So it seems strange…
Micah: It’s unfortunate.
Andrew: …for them to do this a year before the illustrated books come out.
Micah: They’re just trying to make money. [laughs]
Eric: It has to be about the success that Scholastic just had with Kazu Kibuishi’s work about rebranding the series, about not having them just look the same as they did fifteen years ago.
Eric: Although they tried it once before with the tenth anniversary, and that went nowhere because they never followed it up. I think this whole blanket redesign is something that’s… in the Potter books, at least in the UK they had the adults’ and the children’s, so there was variety that you would see in the bookshop. But I think they’re in the same situation where they think that making it look a little different is going to increase sales, or the sales speak is of course to “introduce these books to a new generation.”
Micah: Well, that’s it, and I think we’ve touched on that a number of times on past episodes. A lot of the reason behind doing what they’re doing, while financial, is also to reintroduce – or I should say, introduce – the series to a younger generation, and based on the times and however the art is created might have more of an appeal…
Micah: …to a different generation. But one thing… and you guys can correct me if I’m wrong on this, but one thing that I have never seen happen to any book in the Potter series is I have never seen it jacketed based on the movies, and I think that that’s something that Scholastic and Bloomsbury have done a great job of…
Micah: …in not letting it get to that point.
Eric: We should celebrate that right now because if you think about… I mean, I’m sure there’s a copy of Divergent sitting on store shelves now with Shailene Woodley’s face on it. And Twilight did the same thing. And hell, there’s…
Andrew: Hunger Games.
Eric: Hunger Games.
Andrew: And The Fault in Our Stars. Everybody is doing it. For some reason, J.K. Rowling can get away with it.
Eric: With not doing it. You’re right. You’re right. So I’m very, very happy about that.
Micah: Yup. As am I.
MuggleCast 272 Transcript (continued)
Micah: So I wanted to… before we kind of wrap things up here, we did get some tweets in response to asking listeners what they thought about Fantastic Beasts, and…
Andrew: Go for it.
Micah: …let’s go through and read some of them here. Kristen Burford says:
“THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN.”
Yes, we are.
“#FantasticBeasts is more original, so should fare better than #TheHobbit.”
Andrew: Reviews-wise? Yeah, I hope so, so long as the story is good. But box office-wise, a billion dollars is going to be hard to beat. [laughs] But we’ll see. Who knows.
Micah: Yup. Tom Dell says:
Andrew: Oh, I get it.
“Although we already knew back in 2013 it was going to be ‘more than one movie’…”
“…so it’s not much of a surprise!”
Andrew: Right. I said that, guys. Remember?
Micah: Samantha, @gordonsamantha_, says:
“I’m mostly excited about anticipating the next film without knowing what’s next in the story. It’ll add new excitement for fans.”
Andrew: We said that as well. Good point.
Eric: We had something from… it was a tweet from this person, The Art of Spying, who said:
“It’s fan bait, but as fans, we couldn’t be more thrilled!”
What does that mean, it’s fan bait?
Andrew: That people can’t help but… they won’t be able to resist going in to see it because oh my gosh, it’s a Harry Potter spin-off from J.K. Rowling.
Eric: But if you’re talking about something that’s legitimate, [laughs] it’s definitely something written by J.K. Rowling.
Andrew: Yeah, no, I think they’re just saying… she’s just saying it’s incredibly tempting to want to see it. Even though you’re not sure of it.
Eric: Oh, okay. Yeah, I get that. I get that now. Thank you for clarifying.
Andrew: Because I mean, we’re all really excited about a project we have no clue…
Micah: How good it’s going to be?
Andrew: We don’t know anything about.
Andrew: We don’t know anything about it.
Andrew: We know the character’s name. So what? [laughs] And it involves beasts.
Eric: The main character’s name, yeah.
Eric: That’s true.
Micah: Shelby Marie, @shirebadger, says:
“If JKR is okay with it, then so am I. I’m ecstatic to learn even more about the wizarding world.”
Andrew: And I had that view as well until she decided to do this pre-Hogwarts Harry Potter play. [laughs] So count me a little more skeptical…
Andrew: …than I was previously.
Eric: I would agree with how you feel about the play.
Andrew: Yeah. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’m really excited for Fantastic Beasts, but it’s hard to argue that Harry Potter’s pre-Hogwarts years are going to be really exciting. But listen to our previous… our December 24 episode for more on that.
Micah: Yeah. Mario Padilla sent two tweets because he couldn’t fit it all in one. He says…
Eric: Is it [pronounces as “mahr-ee-oh”] Mario or [pronounces as “marry-oh”] Mario?
Andrew: [pronounces as “mahr-ee-oh”] Mario.
Micah: [pronounces as “mahr-ee-oh”] Mario.
Andrew: [pronounces as “marry-oh”] Mario? [pronounces as “mahr-ee-oh”] Mario is, of course, the Nintendo character.
Eric: Oh, I always say [pronounces as “marry-oh”] Mario.
Andrew: But this could be [pronounces as “mahr-ee-oh”] Mario. I don’t know. I’ve known of Mario for a while, this Mario from earlier.
Micah: Tweet at us. Let us know.
“I don’t see why some people are mad/upset about this. There really isn’t source material. This is all coming from Jo’s imagination. She can make as many films as she wants and I will go see them.”
Micah: Good point.
Andrew: And that’s why Warner Bros.’ CEO flew over there.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: He knew it was worth a shot.
Eric: And there are certain plot tricks and plot things that you can do when you’re making a trilogy. If you know from the outset that you’re making a trilogy. So I think they will… the films will have some resonance between each other and references to each other and all that stuff.
Eric: It’ll be fun to have this new trilogy.
Andrew: I just…
Micah: Go ahead.
Andrew: Real quick, I just hope the level of detail is back. I know that’s different when you’re in a movie, but if she’s able to pull it off in the same way that she did with the books, just think about all the speculation that will be going on.
Micah: Zemmer Galpaz says:
“Hope this isn’t an April Fools’ joke.”
Micah: As we record here on April 1. No, it is not. Actually, this is all a figment of your imagination.
Andrew: Yes, I haven’t been recording this whole time.
Micah: Trinica says:
“Even if it’s just a cash cow, I will never say no to more ‘Potter’ material.”
“I hope Cuaron will be the director!”
It could be possible.
Eric: What do you feel… Andrew, did you like Gravity? You saw it, right?
Andrew: Yeah, yeah.
Eric: Yeah, I thought it was good too. And I’m wondering, because of how I feel about the third Harry Potter book, would I give him a second chance? Not that it’s my decision to make, but would I be excited about an Alfonso Cuaron Harry Potter movie? And I think I would. I think I’ve reached that age where I can appreciate his filmmaking.
Micah: You’ve grown past Prisoner of Azkaban.
Eric: Yeah, I’ll never quite forgive, but I think that what he did with Gravity was good and I think that he would probably or possibly work well with some of those visuals of the time period.
Andrew: Oh, yeah.
Andrew: I think Fantastic Beasts would be great for him, based on what I saw in Prisoner of Azkaban. I mean, I’m one of those people who liked Prisoner of Azkaban. I know there’s a big debate, but…
Eric: No, that’s fine. Yeah.
Andrew: It’s just… considering he kind of rebooted the visuals of Harry Potter, I think he has a strong sense of the wizarding world and what you can do with it.
Eric: Yeah, he would definitely be a top, I think, pick for… to direct this and…
Andrew: Yeah. Because I mean, really think about it. Who do we trust with this project?
Eric: Well, you think creatures and you think Guillermo del Toro, but those are all creatures with knives for fingers and…
Andrew: Yeah, I don’t trust him.
Eric: …fifteen eyes. So I don’t know. I mean, the profound visual directors in Hollywood when you think of…
Andrew: Right, would people be excited if it’s a director who just really doesn’t have a good resume? I mean, it has to be somebody with a really good resume, I think.
Eric: I would agree.
Andrew: And let’s also remember that Alfonso seemed interested in the idea of Fantastic Beasts when Vulture approached him at a party a few months ago and asked him, and he said, “Nobody has approached me yet, but yes, that sounds like an interesting idea.”
Micah: And given the relationship with David Heyman coming off of Gravity…
Eric: Right! It’s can’t-miss.
Micah: It’s can’t-miss, yes. And it would now be directed by Academy Award winning director, Alfonso Cuaron, so there you go.
Andrew: Which I guess would be the first time we can say a Harry Potter movie was directed by an Academy Award winner, unless Chris Columbus won something before or…
Eric: He’s an author now, actually.
Eric: And the sequel to his book…
Eric: It was called House of Secrets…
Micah: House of Cards?
Eric: The sequel is out now as well. We got a funny tweet here. It’s kind of sarcastic. We look for this occasionally. The tweeter is called Look at the flowers, @UncyD on Twitter.
Andrew: That’s a reference to The Walking Dead…
Eric: Oh, okay.
Andrew: …a couple of weeks ago. Yeah.
Eric: Thank you for pointing that out.
Andrew: No problem.
Eric: @UncyD says:
“Anything that distracts JKR from writing adult fiction can only be a good thing.”
Andrew: See, that’s… yeah.
Micah: I don’t agree with that.
Andrew: Well, obviously this person does not like The Casual Vacancy or The Cuckoo’s Calling.
Micah: I didn’t like The Casual Vacancy either.
Micah: It was rough.
Andrew: [laughs] It was rough.
Micah: But I did like The Cuckoo’s Calling.
Micah: It was rough!
Andrew: Yeah. No, you’re right.
Micah: It was rough to read.
Andrew: I couldn’t finish it. I’m still looking at it sitting there, taunting me.
Micah: It is.
Andrew: In fairness – I’m looking on Amazon right now – I mean, four stars. That’s not bad.
Eric: Oh, yeah? Okay.
Micah: From who, though? [laughs]
Andrew: I mean, an overall rating, four stars.
Eric: So you’re copying The Cuckoo’s Calling…
Andrew: Oh wait, it’s actually worst. It’s three stars.
Micah: There you go.
Eric: The Casual Vacancy?
Eric: Out of how many?
Andrew: Based on 4,600 reviews.
Andrew: That’s a lot.
Micah: Yup. Well, it wasn’t Potter. But we do have one final tweet here, from Helen Caley. It was actually… it touches on our director discussion just a bit ago.
“So exciting. Interesting if it will have the same director or different ones. Would like a variety!”
So Helen would like to see more than one director throughout the course of the films.
Andrew: Ehhh, I don’t think so.
Micah: Depends how they shoot it.
Micah: Yeah, Andrew, like you were saying before, if they do it kind of all at once, chances are it’s going to have the same… I think it should have the same director. I think it needs consistency.
Micah: The Potter films did not have that, really. And I think that… we were just joking around about the Oscars, but I think that potentially hurt Potter in the Oscars a little bit, not having the same director throughout.
Andrew: That’s a good point.
Eric: I don’t know about that, because the last four films did.
Andrew: Yeah, but there was also the stigma of, “Oh, Harry Potter is a children’s series.”
Eric: Yeah. And it wasn’t really American.
Eric: I mean, you could say, what makes a film American? Because it was funded by Warner Bros. But maybe if it’s set in New York, that people will react more kindly to it.
Andrew: Yeah, maybe. Well, especially if it films in New York, too.
Eric: Yeah. Then it feels more local.
Andrew: There’s something else I was going to say about this. What were you just saying, Micah?
Micah: It was about the directors.
Andrew: Oh, yeah. If you look at True Detective, a series that was on HBO earlier this year…
Eric: I haven’t seen it. People are like, “It’s amazing!”
Andrew: Yeah, everybody loves it. Everybody says, “Oh, it’s the best thing. Maybe better than Breaking Bad. Oh my God.” The entire eight episodes was directed by one director and also had one screenwriter. This is a big trend. I mean, people can really appreciate this consistency across multiple stories, and I think Fantastic Beasts would really benefit from that. I don’t think you can switch from director to director to director for this because if you did, you’d be running the risk of them losing the vision when Warner Bros. is… this is already a risky bet for them. I think you’ve got to play it safe where you can and…
Andrew: …one way to do that will be same director. Just like David Heyman is going to produce them all and it’s probably going to be the same cast all the way through.
Micah: Yeah, I think you have to have… in my mind, it has to be somebody who is familiar with the Potter series. You can’t bring in a director that hasn’t worked on the films before. I don’t think it will work.
Eric: Yeah, I don’t disagree.
Micah: There’s a certain… and I get this isn’t Potter, but it is and…
Micah: …it’s the same world and I think having Heyman there is a huge bonus. It’ll be interesting to see who else gets worked into the fold…
Micah: …across the board, names that we’re familiar with in different areas of the production. I think director-wise, Cuaron is an interesting choice. I think given the material, he’d be a great pick.
Andrew: I also…
Micah: And I hated Prisoner of Azkaban…
Micah: …so it shows you even I’m willing to come around on this.
Andrew: I think it’s also a safe bet that Stuart Craig is going to be involved in this as well.
Andrew: The production designer. I mean, he’s been actively involved in the Harry Potter parks, so his mind has been in it all this time. And I’m just looking at his IMDb right now. He had a film in 2012 called Gambit, and then he’s in pre-production on Tarzan. And guess who’s directing that? David Yates.
Andrew: Harry Potter 5-8 director. [laughs] So there’s all these little connections still lingering even past Harry Potter.
Micah: Yeah. I can see sort of a family reunion taking place here on some level, and I think you want that because… and I would think… I’m not obviously saying that I know this for certain, but I would think that J.K. Rowling would want that because you’ve already entrusted Potter to these people and they did a great job with it. So why wouldn’t you want the same group of people to make Fantastic Beasts?
Eric: Yeah. Well, then again, a different director and a different feel might be a benefit. If you look at… I only just found this out; this isn’t knowledge that I normally store in my head, but the first three Star Wars – Episodes IV, V, and VI – all had different directors. A New Hope was George Lucas, Empire Strikes Back was Irvin Kershner, and then the Return of the Jedi was directed by Richard Marquand. So you think of Star Wars, that is a cohesive, coherent visual look. They go to Tatooine in two of those three movies and have Death Stars in the other two. But the movies are different enough because they’re different parts of the same story, so I could also see them maybe doing different directors and having that be a benefit. I don’t know.
Micah: I don’t know that this… well, I was going to say I don’t know that it’s on the same scale, but it could be. From a revenue standpoint.
Eric: Right. Well, I’m also just comparing HP to Star Wars a lot lately because they both have three films that are in the pipeline, you know? So it’s kind of like a great way to say hey, these are in very similar situations.
Micah: Right, right.
Andrew: Okay, so that’s it for the news. Thank you, Micah.
Micah: No problem. Usually I used to… I don’t know what happened there. I used to take, what, like ninety seconds? This took like ninety minutes.
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Andrew: To do the news?
Micah: [laughs] Yeah.
Andrew: Well, we were away for a few months…
Micah: Way, way, way back in the day, when it was pre-recorded.
Eric: I miss your little jokes. I miss your little jokes.
Andrew: Oh, your pre-recorded news.
Andrew: Well, the big mistake we made with the pre-recorded news was that you were reading the news and then you would move onto a variety of different subjects and then we would repeat them. So it was…
Micah: Right. Or sometimes I don’t know if you’d even discuss it. You’d just move into your…
Andrew: What we wanted to talk about.
Micah: …book discussion, theory discussion for that particular episode.
Micah: News was an afterthought.
Andrew: And now it’s our priority.
Micah: Now it’s the only thought.
Eric: That was eight and a half years ago, guys. Can you imagine that?
Andrew: Yeah, it’s crazy.
Eric: Yeah. But…
Andrew: But once Fantastic Beasts start up again, God knows what we will be doing then, but I have to imagine there’s going to be some speculating going on if J.K. Rowling – like I said earlier – does as good of a job as she did with Harry Potter.
Eric: Of which I think there is no doubt.
Eric: Andrew, are you going to LeakyCon in July?
Andrew: [laughs] Not to ruin that, but…
Eric: Oh, really? No? [laughs]
Andrew: I don’t think so, no. I don’t think so.
Eric: Oh, okay. Okay. But you’ll catch the park sometime, surely?
Andrew: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Of course.
Eric: Okay. Okay.
Andrew: I wouldn’t miss it for the world. For the wizarding world.
Eric: Yeah. [laughs] We did want to mention, of course, that LeakyCon is happening this summer. I know that Micah and I will be there, mainly for our podcast, Game of Owns, which we did want to plug. LeakyCon this year is taking place at the Orange County Convention Center from July 30 to August 3. Not sure what state registration is in, in terms of how full it is or if it’s available. I know hotels are hard to come by at the moment. So head over to LeakyCon.com, but not today because right now it’s actually a plumbing convention website for April Fools.
Andrew: Oh, that one I was invited to.
Micah: A plumbing convention.
Andrew: Yeah. [laughs]
Eric: That one is in June. Maybe Mario will be there.
Eric: But yeah, there’s LeakyCon – so again, that’s in July – and then there’s also one at the beginning of July called Chute 212 and I’ve been just kind of writing about that on MuggleNet. It’s taking place over the 4th of July weekend – so actually, the 2nd to the 6th in July – and that is located at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California. A little closer to you, Andrew.
Eric: And the cool thing about Chute 212 is that they’re developing an entire wizard village that they’re building inside the convention center for guests.
Andrew: A village?
Eric: Yeah, it’s going to be a village. It’s going to be a town. They’re going to have…
Andrew: Like… oh.
Eric: Like, the programming rooms are going to be designed to be like Grimmauld Place. The different areas, like the kitchen, the attic, stuff like that. And then there’s actually just going to be a town where… so the vendor room is going to be like a marketplace.
Eric: Like as part of a town. And they’re going to have a courtyard for Quidditch and stuff like that, so it’s pretty exciting stuff. The website is Chute212.org. Go check it out. I’ll just bring it up because it seems like it’s going to be pretty cool, and I’m going to try to get there this July. And then LeakyCon, of course. LeakyCon.com is the website for that.
Micah: Yeah, and I think we can get into plugging other podcasts here, really quickly. Eric mentioned Game of Owns. It is our Game of Thrones podcast that Eric and I do a couple of times a week with Zack Luye and Selina, who you’ve heard from time to time on this show, as well. And we will be at LeakyCon as mentioned, but the biggest news to discuss here is, of course, that the fourth season of Game of Thrones starts this Sunday, April 6 on HBO, and that means we will be getting into our high season. I don’t know what else to call it.
Andrew: [laughs] High season.
Eric: Yeah. We struggle with off season, on season, so I think high season is…
Andrew: In season.
Micah: High season.
Andrew: You’re in season. Yeah.
Eric: [laughs] Off and on and in.
Micah: There you go.
Andrew: I like high season. That makes sense given high seas. I know Game of Thrones doesn’t deal with ships much, but…
Andrew: Or maybe it does. Does it?
Micah: They do.
Andrew: I need to start watching.
Micah: But yeah…
Eric: You do, yes. Absolutely.
Micah: …season premiere coming this Sunday and we’ll have an episode released the Monday following every one of the ten episodes of the season as well as some other stuff throughout the course of each of the weeks, so definitely be sure to check it out. You can go to GameofOwns.com or our partner site, WinterisComing.net, for all of the latest information, and if you like what we have to say here and you want to hear a more adult version, [laughs] you can check out Game of Owns.
Micah: How’s that?
Andrew: That was great. Very timely. That’s why you guys wanted to do this podcast.
Micah: [laughs] That’s it, yeah.
Andrew: I see. I see now. And of course, I wanted to…
Micah: No, I wanted to talk to you, Andrew.
Andrew: Oh sure, sure. And I want to plug three projects involving the word “hype.” First, of course, there’s Hypable. Then there’s Hype, the podcast that we do every other week on Hypable. A general entertainment podcast. Sort of a reflection of what you see on Hypable. And then Hype After Dark, which is on Hype Podcast as well. Me and one of my best friends do that. It’s a general talk show. We talk real news, entertainment news, real life, all those kind of things. So go to HypePodcast.com for that. That one is a subscription one, $3.99 a month, four episodes a month. So thank you, everybody, for listening. It’s been a fun show, boys.
Eric: I’ll mention one more thing here. There is a new MuggleNet.com. You may notice that the MuggleCast website – maybe functional, maybe not by the time you’re listening to this episode – it is going back up. We recently revamped MuggleNet.com. It’s turning fifteen this year, so changes are happening. It’s becoming a man. But we came up with an entirely new interface over on MuggleNet, so I do want to encourage people to visit MuggleNet.com for Harry Potter news. Just spend some time on it. Give it a chance again because I think this latest revamp is very exciting and we only do these sorts of things… I don’t know, every eight years or so. So it’s really exciting and that just happened. It’s brand new. So go take a look.
Andrew: Just happened. Brand new.
Micah: And it’s not an April Fools joke.
Eric: Right, right. [laughs]
Andrew: All right. Well, thank you, everybody, for listening. I’m Andrew Sims.
Eric: I’m Eric Scull.
Micah: And I’m Micah Tannenbaum.
[Show music begins]
Andrew: And we’ll see everybody next time in a hundred… in two hundred days…
Andrew: …or next week, depending on what tidbit J.K. Rowling drops about Fantastic Beasts next…
Eric: You never know.
Andrew: …for Episode 273, where Micah will also provide his audition for the Fantastic Beasts film.
Eric: [attempts a New York accent] Yes, work on a New York accent.
Micah: [attempts a New York accent] New York?
Eric: [attempts a New York accent] New York. New York. [back to normal voice] Goodbye, everybody.
[Show music continues]