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Hogwarts Alumni Newsletter: Emma Watson to star in another franchise, plus Tom Felton!

It’s summer, O.W.L.s have been taken and we’re all itching to get back to the castle, which means it’s time for another update to Hogwarts’ Alumni Newsletter.

Last time around when we caught up with the gang, we were excited that Daniel Radcliffe was set to star in a version of Frankenstein as the hunchbacked assistant Igor. This week, a bunch of new projects have been announced that have us thrilled for Hogwarts’ former (and current) favorite sons and daughters. I won’t rehash previously announced work, just the things they’ve added to their growing résumés recently. Read on to find out why it’s possible Emma Watson will be known for a different franchise come 2015. I mean, not really: She’ll clearly always be Hermione Granger. But she’s got another potential big movie happening too! Good things all around!
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'A Very Potter Senior Year': Darren Criss & Team StarKid's last Potter parody hits YouTube

In the beginning, God and Darren Criss created Harry Potter: The Musical, a madcap Harry Potter parody originally performed at the University of Michigan in 2009. The musical, cowritten by Matt Lang, Nick Lang, and Brian Holden and produced by StarKid Productions, arrived on YouTube that summer and quickly went viral, inspiring a 2010 sequel that helped to launch Criss into mainstream stardom. (Its popularity also inspired a name change meant to stave off the litigious Warner Bros; that’s why you now know the show as A Very Potter Musical.)

Potter‘s Harry soon joined the cast of Glee, and StarKid’s other members moved on to other projects as well. Still, though, the story didn’t seem quite finished — which is why a whole passel of StarKids (including Criss) reunited for a one-night-only performance of a second Potter sequel at Chicago’s LeakyCon convention last summer. Though the gang released the show’s cast recording in December, the full musical itself remained absent from YouTube… until this past Friday.

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Hogwarts Alumni Newsletter: What's new for the 'Harry Potter' kids

What’s even more exciting than discovering a new secret passageway on the Marauder’s Map?

Trick question. Nothing is more thrilling than discovering a new way out of the castle. But the past couple of weeks have been pretty great for Harry Potter fans. J. K. Rowling still hasn’t announced she’s writing a prequel (dream big!), but there was a new book cover for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone released, providing readers the perfect excuse to re-read the entire series. And for those who were hopeful the whole gang would find life outside the castle walls, there are a lot of promising developments. Let’s break down the current goings-on of Hogwarts’ favorite class.

Most Likely To Succeed: Daniel Radcliffe
News broke yesterday that the actor is about to sign a deal to star in a Frankenstein film as the hunchbacked assistant Igor.  This isn’t the only bit of creepy casting news for the former Quidditch star. He’s been filming Horns, where he’ll have actual horns growing out of his head. This is all in addition to Kill Your Darlings, which premiered at Sundance last month. Happily, Hogwarts’ favorite son doesn’t seem to be in any danger of awkwardly returning to the famed school, 10 years too late.

+100 points to Gryffindor for picking varied, interesting projects; -20 for consistently signing up for parts that demand he make his fans watch him be a creep. READ FULL STORY

'Warm Bodies': Which supernatural is right for you?

It’s time for Mystery Date: Supernatural Edition! While the whole vampire craze may be drawing to a close (Twilight: Breaking Dawn — Part 2 comes out on DVD March 2) 2013 is still on track to be a huge year for those that love the supernatural. Apologies to viewers who enjoy their zombies more in the style of Walking Dead, but it’s looking like the biggest trend is more romance, less death and destruction. Warm Bodies, in theaters today, centers around a love story between zombie R. and a human, Julie. It’s a great read – and surprisingly, in between the killing and the brain eating, a wonderfully original and charming boy-ish meets girl tale.

Which got us thinking: Readers probably have their personal favorites when it comes to the guys that portray these vampires, zombies, and werewolves (Ian Somerhalder, Robert Pattinson, Alexander Skarsgard, etc.) But what if we took the actors out of it? Based solely on the plotlines in the current books/movies/television shows, which supernatural should you, a “normal” human with a slight love on danger, attempt to begin a relationship with? The answer may surprise you – or help you justify a couple all-too-real conversations about an alleged hypothetical situation (ahem).

Take the quiz below, and then click over to the next page for your results. READ FULL STORY

Tops on Facebook in 2012: 'Hunger Games,' fun., Channing Tatum, and (no joke) 'Duck Dynasty'

This morning, Facebook announced its “2012 Year in Review,” a series of lists of the top trends of the year. And befitting a website that boasts hundreds of millions of users, popular, youth-skewing taste ruled the day — with one very hairy exception.

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Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe on playing each other in upcoming miniseries -- VIDEO

Are Harry Potter and Don Draper two great tastes that taste great together? We’ll find out after the premiere of A Young Doctor’s Notebook, a British miniseries that features Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe playing the titular doctor at different points in his life. Yes, the doctor is British; yes, that does mean Hamm will be speaking in an accent; yes, I understand if you need to go get your smelling salts.

Back? For your delicate constitution’s sake, you may be relieved to know that we don’t hear British Hamm in this behind-the-scenes video. We do, however, get to see both stars enthusing about the project, as well as a glimpse at its “darkly comic” situations — including Radcliffe nonchalantly saying “right then!” after sawing off a corpse’s leg and donning a dead doctor’s apron, then being told that the deceased “was a lot taller than you.”

All told, A Young Doctor’s Notebook looks pretty charming — but considering its stars, how could it not be? Take a look at the miniseries below, courtesy of The Guardian.

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J.K. Rowling sells her 'Harry Potter' house for $3.6 million

Just when you thought shelling out for the $1,000 limited edition box set was a splurge, J.K. Rowling has sold the home in which she wrote four of the seven Harry Potter books for over $3.6 million. Now there’s a real fan.

The 19th-century Victorian mansion defied the lackluster Edinburgh housing market and sold after just three short weeks, becoming one of only six properties in the Merchiston area to go for over $3.2 million this year. Rowling resided in the home from 1999 to 2009, initially purchasing the top half of the mansion before later buying out her downstairs neighbor to convert the mansion into a single property. READ FULL STORY

J.K. Rowling solves America's problems on 'The Daily Show': 'You need a monarch' -- VIDEO

So what if The Casual Vacancy isn’t exactly setting the world on fire. Any novel that leads to a publicity tour, which in turn leads to J.K. Rowling appearing on The Daily Show, is a-okay in our book. The author and Jon Stewart had a grand ol’ time last night, even if they mostly talked around Rowling’s latest published work. (Understandable, considering EW’s review: “What started as a lively comedy of manners has turned into an overwrought slog.”)

Rowling’s well-publicized stint as a welfare recipient — in the U.K., it’s called “benefits” — was the main topic of conversation during the interview’s televised portion. She also took this opportunity to spoil The Casual Vacancy‘s (fake) twist ending: “Dumbledore comes back!”

That quip set the tone for the second half of the interview, which appears online only.  READ FULL STORY

Pop culture's best and worst teachers: Who makes the grade? -- POLL

Great teachers are all alike, in a sense — they’re mentors, role models, lifelong inspirations. Terrible teachers, on the other hand, are all awful in different ways. Some are drunken burnouts, while others are obnoxious frauds or sexually amorphous jerks who invite their personal BDSM slaves to perform lewd acts in front of their fourth graders. (Okay, that last one is probably limited to South Park).

Still, TV shows and movies are filled with characters who exemplify both poles. And in honor of back-to-school season, PopWatch wants to know who you think deserves to be at the head of the class — as well as who needs to have their teaching certification revoked, pronto.

The rules: These polls focus on teachers, so school administrators (sorry, Principal Belding), librarians (ditto, Rupert Giles), coaches (adios, Sue Sylvester), headmistresses (good riddance, Matilda‘s Trunchbull) and guidance counselors (you too, Mr. Russo from Freaks and Geeks) weren’t eligible for inclusion. Otherwise, though, it’s anyone’s game. Will you exalt Mr. Feeny and denounce Professor Umbridge, or celebrate Dead Poets Society English teacher Mr. Keating while pooh-poohing Ms. Halsey of Bad Teacher? The choice is yours and yours alone — but here are your options. Don’t worry; we made sure to show our work.

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Back-to-school with Harry Potter: Last chance to enter sweepstakes

It’s August 31 — Do you have your trunk packed for Hogwarts?

We’re heading into a pretty exciting weekend for Potter nerds such as myself.  It’s time to get back to Hogwarts.The train! The castle! Hagrid! It’s all coming back to me now.

And while I personally haven’t received my acceptance letter yet (over a decade late, but who’s counting?), I can’t help but think about the Sorting Hat. “There’s nothing hidden in your head, The Sorting Hat can’t see, So try me on and I will tell you, Where you ought to be,” as the story goes. But I’ve got a bit of a confession: While I would love to say that I would be sorted into Gryffindor alongside Harry, Ron, and Hermione, I also know that there is no way that would ever happen.

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