J.K. Rowling’s immensely popular book that started it all — “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” — will be read by a lineup of celebrities chapter-by-chapter, in a series of free videos and audio recordings to be doled out over the next several months.
Rowling’s Wizarding World announced seven readers for the special event on Twitter today: Daniel Radcliffe, Stephen Fry, David Beckham, Dakota Fanning, Claudia Kim, Noma Dumezweni and Eddie Redmayne, with more to come. Each will read different sections of the beloved fantasy (known as “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” outside the U.S.), with its themes of family, friendship, courage and overcoming adversity, for families and fans around the world.
All 17 chapters of the book will be released between now and mid-summer. Videos will be posted weekly on harrypotterathome.com, with an audio-only version available for free on Spotify.
Kicking off the series of video readings will be Harry Potter himself: Daniel Radcliffe, who will read the book’s first chapter, “The Boy Who Lived,” streaming today on Wizarding World (at this link) on Spotify (at this link).
The special series is part of Harry Potter at Home, an initiative developed by Wizarding World Digital and Rowling’s agency, the Blair Partnership, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic with the help of partners including Warner Bros., Bloomsbury, Scholastic and Pottermore Publishing.
The initiative includes an open licence to teachers allowing them to post recordings of themselves reading Harry Potter stories on educational platforms and networks and a dedicated hub of information and activities at harrypotterathome.com. In addition, Amazon’s Audible currently is making the audiobook of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (narrated by Jim Dale) available to stream for free via Audible Stories. [Source]
Divergent series creator Veronica Roth has been busy churning out YA books since the success of her bestselling dystopian debut trilogy — which saw its socially-separated teens revolt against the government and its structure — but now she’s moving on to a new audience: adults. Thankfully, however, Roth’s adult debut hasn’t ditched her love of genre. It’s even inspired enough industry confidence that the movie rights have already been picked up. And now SYFY WIRE can give fans an exclusive sneak preview of the upcoming book, Chosen Ones.
The story is one of prophecy, apocalypse, magic, and their various aftermaths. A decade has gone by since five teens (AKA Chosen Ones) teamed up to take down the Dark One — a malicious entity who used Drains to demolish America. The teens are now adults, they’ve got PTSD, and they’re gathered at one of their own’s funeral. They’re down to four when they find out the Dark One’s plotting wasn’t as small-scale as they’d thought (which has to be saying something, since how does anyone underestimate someone named “the Dark One?”). Sloane, one of the surviving Chosen Ones, leads the novel and keeps plenty of secrets from the rest of the team.
Putting fans into Sloane’s shoes is actress Dakota Fanning (War of the Worlds, The Twilight Saga), who performs the Audible exclusive version of Chosen Ones.
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Variety and PBS SoCal KOCE have announced the lineup for the eighth season of “Variety Studio: Actors on Actors.”
The Emmy Award-winning series will air in two episodes on PBS SoCal KOCE, the first on Tuesday, June 19 at 7 p.m. and the second on Thursday, June 21 at 7 p.m. Both episodes will stream on pbssocal.org following their premieres.
This year’s lineup of pairings includes: Issa Rae (“Insecure”) with Michael B. Jordan (“Fahrenheit 451”); Laura Dern (“The Tale”) with Angela Bassett (“9-1-1”); Tiffany Haddish (“The Last O.G.”) with John Legend (“Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert”); Benedict Cumberbatch (“Patrick Melrose”) with Claire Foy (“The Crown”); Jason Bateman (“Ozark”) with Bill Hader (“Barry”); Debra Messing (“Will & Grace”) with Sharon Stone (“Mosaic”); J.K. Simmons (“Counterpart”) with Edie Falco (“Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders”); Alison Brie (“GLOW”) with Jessica Biel (“The Sinner”); Maggie Gyllenhaal (“The Deuce”) with Jonathan Groff (“Mindhunter”); Frankie Shaw (“SMILF”) with Sara Gilbert (“Roseanne”); Jeff Daniels (“The Looming Tower”) with Laura Linney (“Ozark”); Darren Criss (“American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace”) with Mandy Moore (“This is Us”); David Harbour (“Stranger Things”) with Kyle MacLachlan (“Twin Peaks”); and Dakota Fanning (“The Alienist”) with Freddie Highmore (“The Good Doctor”).
“There’s no better way to celebrate another groundbreaking season of television than with our ‘Actors on Actors’ franchise,” said Debra Birnbaum, Variety’s executive TV editor. “We’re proud to shine a light on this year’s most remarkable performances with this series of revealing, one-on-one conversations. And we’re thrilled as always to partner with PBS SoCal to share this content with their audience.”
Variety’s “Actors on Actors” issue will hit newsstands June 5 with clips appearing on Variety.com starting at the beginning of June. On Variety and Variety.com, this year’s Actors on Actors will be presented by Shutterstock.
“Southern California’s creative industry inspires and excites our PBS audiences like few others. And this season of ‘Actors on Actors’ is sure to please, with compelling conversations between some of today’s most popular protagonists,” said Andrew Russell, president and CEO of PBS SoCal. “It’s terrific to team with Variety to produce and share ‘Variety Studio: Actors on Actors.’” [Source]
This year’s film “Please Stand By” in which Dakota Fanning plays an autistic young writer named Wendy who has written a Star Wars related screenplay and wants nothing more than to go and live with her sister, was discussed at the United Nations on April 5. Dakota Fanning explained her interest in bringing to the screen characters and conditions not sufficiently seen. While some have criticized the film for having a lead actor who is not, in fact, autistic, writer Michael Golamco says they hired as many autistic actors as possible to appear in the movie.
The occasion was a session at the UN called “Empowering Women and Girls with Autism,” co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions to the UN of Argentina, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Denmark, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan and Poland. Speaking on the panel from the film, beyond Fanning and Golamco, were producer Lara Alameddine and director Ben Lewis.
The UN Department of Public Information’s engagements with films have included Wonder Woman and Angry Birds; Thursday’s quieter approach for many worked better. The UN itself explains tat “throughout its history, the United Nations family has celebrated diversity and promoted the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities, including learning differences and developmental disabilities. In 2008, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities entered into force, reaffirming the fundamental principle of universal human rights for all. Its purpose is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity. It is a vital tool to foster an inclusive and caring society for all and to ensure that all children and adults with autism can lead full and meaningful lives.
The United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared 2 April as World Autism Awareness Day (A/RES/62/139) to highlight the need to help improve the quality of life of those with autism so they can lead full and meaningful lives as an integral part of society.
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At age 6, Dakota Fanning was very likely one of the only kids on the block playing with a medical neck brace and plastic nasal tubes. Actually, she was one of two. The other was her younger sister, Elle.
Such were the perks of landing her first significant acting job: a guest role in a Season 6 episode of NBC’s long-running medical drama “ER.” In it, the then pipsqueak-actress played a car accident victim who has leukemia.
“My best memory from doing that was all of the medical stuff that they gave me,” Fanning said when she stopped by The Times’ video studio recently. “They gave me the neck brace. They gave me the tubes, the breathing tubes. They gave me fake syringes, gauze. All this stuff. My sister and I played with those fake medical props for so many years to come, I can’t even tell you.”
Fanning would, of course, go on to join the club of young actors who have quickly earned veteran status. Her film work, which includes “I Am Sam,” “Man on Fire” and “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” has earned her the most notoriety. But recently the actress got reacquainted with the small screen with a starring role in the TNT limited series “The Alienist.”
The 10-episode drama, which will air its finale on Monday, is the end point in the winding road Caleb Carr’s bestselling novel traveled to get made. The story revolves around a serial killer on the loose in Gilded Age New York. Fanning plays Sarah Howard, who is part of the dubious team trying to solve the case. The character is the secretary to Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt and the first woman hired by the New York Police Department, determined to become the first female police detective at a time when that was inconceivable.
“I would describe Sarah Howard as someone who is really pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable for a woman in 1896,” Fanning said. “Even the title of ‘secretary to police commissioner’ kind of annoys her a bit. … She’s pushing the boundaries of society. She’s not married. She’s not looking to be married. Doesn’t have any children. Not looking to have any children at this time. And that was really unusual. She’s facing looks from her peers in her social circles and, of course, looks from her male peers in the workplace.”
The series took Fanning to Budapest, where production took place over seven months. She chose to stay at an apartment in that time, likening the search to being on “House Hunters: International.”
“I was a little nervous,” Fanning said. “Doing a film is not usually a seven-month commitment. I haven’t been away from home for that long in a long time. So that was the thing I was most nervous for … I kind of left my life behind and jumped right in and I didn’t want to leave, in the end. I cried hysterically.” [Source]
It was nearly eight years ago that actress Dakota Fanning, then just 16 years old, attended her first fashion show, Miu Miu’s Spring 2011 collection during Paris Fashion Week. “I was so excited to be there. It was very surreal that I was getting to sit in the front row and I was in Paris,” she recalled. “At the dinner afterwards, Rihanna was there. I wore a pink leather dress that they made for me and a pink cardigan that I still have. I got to meet Mrs. Prada and have had this relationship with Miu Miu ever since.”
Now 23 and a fashion staple, Fanning is officially taking that relationship with Miu Miu to the next level, directing the latest installment of Women’s Tales, the brand’s ongoing short film series. Fanning’s 10-minute feature is called “The Apartment,” and officially premiered last night during London Fashion Week.
A few hours before the debut, Fanning was posted up in the brand’s towering store on New Bond Street in eager anticipation of the evening’s premiere. “I’ve known about Women’s Tales for awhile and I’ve been to the Venice Film Festival when they’ve premiered the films there for two different years,” she said.” It was said that if I wanted to do one and when I wanted to do one, there would sort of be a spot for me… The timing was right and I was very excited to do it with Miu Miu and the people I felt I had a real friendship with. I’m somebody who thrives on personal connection.”
Of course, it was Fanning’s chance to fulfill her lingering desire to get behind the camera, which she’s held since she was acting on sets at five years old. “I’ve always had such a great, important relationship with the directors that I’ve worked with, and so many of them have stayed in my life over the years and have become really good friends,” she said. “That relationship is everything when you are working on a film because that person is someone you go to with all of your questions and that you rely on… I had been talking about doing it for so long, and eventually you have to do what you are constantly talking about.”
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