Writing as gossip columnist Rita Skeeter at Pottermore.com (registration required), JK Rowling has brought the Hogwarts band back together. In doing so, she also evidently crashed the site for a while. When I took a look a little bit ago, all was fine, but it just asked me to “come back later and try again.” In a 1,500 word piece that appears in the Daily Prophet section of the site, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger are gathered together with their families and other old cohorts attending the final of the Quidditch World Cup 2014 — magical timing just ahead of the final of the (Muggle) World Cup in Brazil next weekend. This is the first time Rowling has written new material about the beloved characters since the last book was published seven years ago. There are also a series of match reports and articles about the wizarding sport’s tournament, all penned by Rowling. Back in March, the author posted the first part of her History of the Quidditch World Cup on the site that is the official digital platform for all things Potter.
Mild spoiler alert below:
Today, Rowling (as the vicious Skeeter) writes that as Harry approaches 34, he has “threads of silver” in his black hair, and also sports a mysterious cut over his cheekbone. Rita deduces it has been inflicted as part of his top-secret career as an Auror, … Read More »
HBO has come on board as co-producer of BBC’s miniseries adaptation of novel The Casual Vacancy, from Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. The three-hour mini, written by Sarah Phelps (EastEnders), produced by Ruth Kenley-Letts (The Hour) and to be directed by Jonny Campbell (In the Flesh), will begin production this summer in South West England. Published in 2012, Casual Vacancy centers on Pagford, a seemingly idyllic English village with a cobbled market square and ancient abbey. Behind the pretty façade, however, is a town at war: Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils. The three-part mini is produced by Bronte Film and Television, the independent production company run by Rowling and Neil Blair, who is executive producing with Paul Trijbits (Saving Mr. Banks) and Rick Senat.
Twenty-First Century Fox is divesting of its stake in Star China TV. China Media Capital’s management team and CMC itself will acquire Fox’s 47% stake for an undisclosed sum. The company, which was already majority owned by CMC, operates three 24-hour Mandarin-language channels and the Fortune Star Chinese movie library. James Murdoch, Deputy COO, Chairman & CEO of International for 21st Century Fox said the sale was part of a “broader agenda” to streamline “affiliate ownership structures.” In other words, Fox is looking to get out of companies in which it cannot have a majority position, Bloomberg notes. (Last January, Fox increased its holdings in German pay-TV group Sky Deutschland from 49.9% to 54.5% and is believed to still be keen on reviving an aborted attempt to acquire the part of BSkyB it does not already own.) CMC chairman Ruigang Li said the Star China deal marked “a new era” China Media Capital is a partner in DreamWorks Animation’s Chinese venture, Oriental DreamWorks.
The lawyer who blew J.K. Rowling’s cover as the author of detective novel The Cuckoo’s Calling has been fined £1,000 for breaching privacy rules, the BBC reported. Rowling had penned the book under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith but was revealed as its true writer in July after The Sunday Times ran a story outing her. Chris Gossage, a partner at Russells Solicitors, had confided in his wife’s best friend that Rowling had written the book and that person then revealed the information in the course of a Twitter exchange with a journalist. Rowling swiftly took legal action against those responsible. They apologized, and agreed to pay Rowling’s legal fees as well as making a substantial donation to the Soldiers’ Charity. The more recent fines were applied by the UK’s Solicitors Regulation Authority. Sales of Cuckoo’s Calling skyrocketed after the Harry Potter creator’s identity was made public. Read More »
Harry Potter may have hung up his Firebolt, but his creator J.K. Rowling is not entirely done with the boy wizard. In September, Warner Bros and the author announced they were putting a new film series in the works starting with Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, an original story based on the Hogwarts textbook that appears on a reading list in the first Potter tome. Now, Rowling is taking Harry to the London stage. She will collaborate with a writer on, but not pen herself, a new play about the early years of The Boy Who Lived. Rowling will also be a co-producer on the project with Sonia Friedman (The Book Of Mormon) and Colin Callender, the former HBO Films president who’s busy in the UK with a Dangerous Liaisons adaptation percolating at the BBC as well as a miniseries based on Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies. The Daily Mail‘s Baz Bamigboye got the jump on the story late this week, and since then, a posting to Rowling’s Facebook page says the as-yet untitled play will unveil what it was like to be the boy in the cupboard under the stairs at No. 4 Privet Drive. Read More »
Expanding their longterm, lucrative partnership on the Harry Potter franchise, Warner Bros and author J.K. Rowling are putting a new film series in the works. Rowling will make her screenwriting debut on Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, an original story based on the Hogwarts textbook that appears on a reading list in the first Potter tome, Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone. This is the first in a planned series of films and will feature magical creatures and characters from the Potter mythology, including the textbook’s fictitious author, Newt Scamander. Rowling says it’s not a sequel or a prequel to the Potter adventures, but will kick off in New York, 70 years before Harry’s story starts. No timeline or director has been identified yet. If the films follow the Harry Potter process, they’ll make use of Warner Bros’ Leavesden studios outside London which Warner acquired and revamped after the last Potter film was shot. Warner Bros noted today that the relationship between Rowling and the studio will be managed in London by Neil Blair of Rowling’s literary agency The Blair Partnership, and by Warner UK, Ireland and Spain chief Josh Berger.
Fantastic Beasts will also be developed across Warner Bros’ video game, consumer products and digital initiatives businesses. As part of the newly extended relationship, Warner Bros has also boarded the BBC adaptation of Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy which goes into production next year. Warner will distribute the series globally, excluding the UK. A full press release on the new arrangements follows: Read More »
Over the weekend, The Sunday Times revealed that Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling was the true author of a well-received detective novel written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. The Cuckoo’s Calling had sold about 1,500 hardback copies since its April release, but when Rowling’s identity was revealed on Sunday, the book raced to the top of sales charts on Barnes & Noble and Amazon in both the U.S. and the UK. By Monday afternoon European time, the hardcover edition was listed as “temporarily out of stock” on both U.S. sites. The detective novel centers on war veteran Cormoran Strike who turns private investigator after losing a leg in Afghanistan. He’s barely scraping by when he’s asked to look into the death of a legendary supermodel. Rowling told The Times she’d hoped “to keep this secret a little longer because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience. It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation, and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name.” The book was published in the UK by Little Brown’s Sphere, also the publisher of Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy which is being made into a BBC series. In the U.S., Little Brown imprint Mulholland says it will publish a second book in the series next summer and that The Cuckoo’s Calling is being reprinted, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Jane Eyre producer and Saving Mr. Banks executive producer Paul Trijbits has been brought on to exec produce The Casual Vacancy TV series that’s being mounted by The Blair Partnership and the BBC. Trijbits is the former managing director of London-based Ruby Film and Television. BBC One and BBC Drama said earlier this month that J.K. Rowling‘s first post-Harry Potter novel would be broken out into a series whose number and length of episodes will be determined once the creative adaptation process has formally begun. Trijbits will manage the production and appoint a writer. The story is set in a seemingly perfect English village whose pretty façade hides a town at war. Rowling will collaborate closely on the project, which is expected to air in 2014. Neil Blair and Rick Senat of Blair Partnership will be series executive producers. Trijbits’ other recent credits include Dancing On The Edge, a six-part drama that will air on BBC Two starting in late January.
BBC One and BBC Drama are teaming with J.K. Rowling‘s manager Neil Blair on an exclusive transfer of the Harry Potter author’s first post-Hogwarts novel, The Casual Vacancy. The book will be broken out into a TV series to be produced via an as-yet unnamed independent production company operated by Blair on behalf of The Blair Partnership, and Rick Senat. The number of episodes will be determined once the creative process gets rolling. Rowling will collaborate closely with the project that’s expected to air in 2014. The Casual Vacancy was published in September and sold over 1M copies in its first three weeks. The story, this time for adults as opposed to wizard-loving muggle children, is set in a seemingly perfect English village whose pretty façade hides a town at war. In a statement, Rowling said today, “I’m thrilled that the BBC has commissioned The Casual Vacancy. I always felt that, if it were to be adapted, this novel was best suited to television and I think the BBC is the perfect home.”