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Stanley Tucci has closed a deal to join the cast of Disney’s live-action retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens. 

Tucci will be playing Cadenza the grand piano, a new character to the realm who is described as a neurotic maestro.

Ewan McGregor is in final negotiations to light up the screen as Lumiere in Disney’s live-action version of Beauty and the Beast.

McGregor joins an all-star line up that includes Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as the Beast/Prince, Luke Evans as the vain villain Gaston, Josh Gad as Le Fou, Gaston’s buffoonish and loyal sidekick, Ian McKellan as Cogsworth and Audra McDonald as Garderobe.

Lumiere is one of the movie’s major supporting roles, a suave maître d’ who is turned into a candelabra by the curse that falls on the prince’s castle. The character appears in a number of musical numbers and has a major solo in the "Be Our Guest" showstopper.

Bill Condon is directing the movie, which begins production in May at Shepperton Studios in London.

Emma arrived at JFK yesterday, with her publicist, Luke Windsor.

The Time 100 Gala takes place in NYC tonight. Emma being part of their list, it is assumed she'll be there.

HQ pictures:

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LQ and tagged pictures:

  • J.K. Rowling mentions Emma:

  • Jill Abramson (first female editor of the New York Times, journalist) mentions Emma and #HeForShe:

What role do men play in narrowing the disparity and removing the double standard? How could women start this dialogue with men?
JA: Men as much as women should be invested in gender equality. It’s a mistake to view the discussion of issues involving gender equality as a discussion that women are having, and it’s vital to invite men into the conversation. I, in fact, just wrote a short piece about Emma Watson who is involved in this campaign, HeForShe. And she doesn’t hesitate in calling herself a feminist, but this particular campaign is geared toward trying to involve men in the fight for gender equality.

[Short piece she mentions, called 'Inclusive Inspiration']

  • Actress and entrepreneur G Hannelius mentioned Emma:

Who are your favorite actors?
GH: Emma Watson, Eddie Redmayne, Miles Teller, Emily Blunt, Emma Stone, too many to name.

  • How to woo Emma:

Find her: On a soap box.

Past flames: The wizard’s romantic life started with a crush on Draco Malfoy, then she dated Francis Boulle from 'Made in Chelsea' (nope, never happened), a rugby player and an obscure Spanish musician (no proof for the latter). These days she’s married to the He For She campaign, which encourages men to embrace feminism.

First date: The Feminist Library on Westminster Bridge Road.

Do say: ‘Fancy going surfing? Feminism’s got a new wave.’

Don’t say: ‘I’ll pay for dinner.’

  • Glenda Cooper (Sunday Telegraph columnist) suggests Emma for Order of Merit. Someday.

It’s known as the most exclusive club in the world. Only 24 people at one time are fortunate enough to be admitted to the Order of Merit – and they meet for lunch once every two years. [...] What jarred with me when looking at a photograph of the members was the sight of just one woman – the former Commons Speaker Baroness Boothroyd. Given that the OM tends to be awarded by the monarch at the end of an individual’s long career, the imbalance might reflect struggles in the past for women’s achievements to be recognised. But surely the Queen will know that in future more of the talented women this country has produced will have to sit around that table.

When a vacancy arises, may I suggest Emma Thompson, the only person to win an Oscar for both acting and screenwriting, or perhaps one day Emma Watson, whose United Nations speech has raised awareness of gender inequality?

Ian McKellen (playing Cogsworth in the movie) shared on Twitter his experience of the first read-through, with the whole cast (though still no mention of Lumière). Another new cast is mentioned though, Hattie Morahan. It is not said which role she'll play.

The reading took place on April 15, which was Emma's (Belle), Luke Evans' (Gaston), and Emma Thompson's (Mrs Potts) birthday.

Part mentioning Emma:

But my favourite moment, because it made me weepy, was when Beast's loving arm was places tentatively on Belle's shoulder after their pas de deux. Clearly dancing and singing rehearsals had started before today.

As Vice Chair at Rada, Rickman is well placed to be concerned about the lot of young actors, yet he does not fret over Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, his former Harry Potter co-stars and arguably the most famous teens in the world during the planet-eating franchise's heyday.

He and life partner Rima Horton - they met when they were both teenagers, and Rima went on to become a Labour Party councillor and an economics lecturer at Kingston University - never had children, but he speaks with pride about the trio. "All of them are brave young souls. You've only got to watch Emma speaking at the UN or Rupert throwing himself on to the West End stage or Daniel making really bold choices with his life and work. I don't know if it's down to luck or the fact that there were lots of voices to mentor them. I suppose we all talked to them when we had half a second on set."

They became household names when they were barely out of primary school, growing up in front of the entire world on the set of Harry Potter.

But fans of the film may be surprised to learn that all is not as it seemed with their favourite characters in the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint were in fact played by “very small adults” wearing wigs for parts of the film, has revealed.

The actor, who played Snape in the film franchise, said child labour laws had placed heavy restrictions on the filming of the early movies, leaving the young actors compelled to leave set to rest and do their school work.

In order to save time, Rickman said, any shots of Harry, Hermione or Ron in conversation with adult actors was shot in part with the help of careful disguises.

Calling the early days on set an “organisational nightmare”, he said: “In the first film, if anybody ever wants to look, of course you've got the problem of kids who can only work a certain number of hours.

“Sometimes there were 300 children on set, and at certain points they all had to go off and do some schoolwork.”

When he was in scenes with Radcliffe, Watson and Grint, he said, he would be present while the crew filmed close-up shots of the children, then 11 and 12.

But when it was his turn to speak, “in would come the very small adult actors aged 33 with a wig on their heads”.

Any scene from the final film featuring the child actors from behind was likely to be a convincing adult stand-in, he told an audience, joking: “That ain’t the back of Daniel’s head.”

At the time, child actors of school age were permitted to work for four hours each day. Current legislation means children over nine are allowed to spend five hours in rehearsal or performance, with a break in the middle.

credit to bensmithard via ewi

Ranking of the most influential people in the world, according to a poll of readers of the American magazine Time, headed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Voting was completed this morning.

Putin, scored 6,9% of the votes, almost on a par with him was a South Korean singer Lee Chae Rin from the group 2NE1. Third place went to a singer Lady Gaga, but it lags well behind the leaders with 2.6% of the vote.

The top ten also included Barbadian singer Rihanna, American country-pop singer Taylor Swift, British actress and model Emma Watson, Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, the Pakistani human rights activist, advocating for access to education for women worldwide Malala Yousafzai, American singer-songwriter and producer Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter.

Pope Francis closed the top ten, collecting 1 5% of the vote.

Emma is part of the poll as one of the pioneers:

Inclusive inspiration

Emma Watson’s alter ego Hermione Granger would doubtless approve of her HeForShe campaign and its gutsy, smart take on feminism.

It’s especially refreshing to see men invited to join the fight for gender equality, as Watson pointedly did in launching the U.N. effort last fall, telling the men that it’s “your issue too.”

It’s also refreshing to see her vigorous embrace of feminism, which Watson defines as “the theory of political, economic and social equality of the sexes.” And apparently she lives by it. Although she is one of the world’s highest-paid actresses, she has spoken out about the paucity of female directors in Hollywood.

Watson was only 9 when she auditioned for the part of Hermione, and she appeared in every Harry Potter film to the end. She followed Hogwarts with a degree in English literature from Brown University.

Her HeForShe speech at Davos was an Internet sensation, but unsurprisingly, it drew the typical antifeminist rants and even some threats. Watson chose to highlight the moving letters she has received from fathers who tell her they are investing new hope in the future for their daughters. But she was also frank about the bullying tactics of her detractors and one site that made an empty threat to release nude photos. Her confident and cool reaction: “If they were trying to put me off, they did the opposite.”