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For better or worse, we’re all related

Eric Weiner is the author, most recently, of “The Geography of Genius: Lessons From the World’s Most Creative Places.”

Few things in life yield such a bountiful harvest of joy and heartache as family. Family is fraught and has been ever since the first cave dwellers bickered over who got the “good rock,” next to the fire. Over the years, many authors have weighed in on the mixed bag that is family, but few have done so with the keen eye, sharp tongue and big heart of A.J. Jacobs.

His timing is good. Thanks to advances in DNA testing, we’re living in a golden age of genealogy. That is, he acknowledges, a bit like saying that “we’re in the sexiest era of professional bowling.” In Jacobs’s hands, though, this potentially parched subject comes alive. He makes terms like “mitochondrial DNA” not only comprehensible but fun.

Jacobs concedes from the outset of “It’s All Relative” that he has an agenda: world peace. The way to accomplish this, he believes, is through a kind of genetic sleight of hand. Studies find that we treat people better if we know they’re family, so why not hijack this tendency to favor kin over strangers by tricking our brains into believing that everyone is kin?

“It’s All Relative,” by A. J. Jacobs (Simon & Schuster)

Only it’s not a trick. As Jacobs demonstrates convincingly, we are all family. (“Whether we like it or not,” quips Henry Louis Gates, in a cameo.) Go back far enough, and we all share a common ancestry.

Jacobs’s ancestral journey begins the way all great genetic spelunking begins these days: by spitting into a tube. His DNA results are, at first blush, remarkably boring. Jacobs is a plain-vanilla Ashkenazi Jew, with a smattering of “other.” Thankfully, he isn’t deterred. He digs and digs. He tracks down relatives, distant and really distant. He scours old newspaper clippings. He mines a massive database of tombstones called Find a Grave. (“Genealogists love a good graveyard.”) Soon, he unearths a family history “drenched with booze” and replete with tales of courage and cowardice, virtue and pettiness. Love, too.

At the same time, he explores the nooks and crannies of “the geeky world of family history.” He attends a twins convention; tracks down a real McCoy, of the famous Hatfield-McCoy feud; and discovers that he, like nearly all of us, is part Neanderthal. He makes predictable but rewarding pilgrimages to Ellis Island and Salt Lake City, home of the Mormons, those “genealogy rock stars,” who believe that families are reunited in the afterlife — so studying ancestry is important for strengthening relationships both now and for eternity. Jacobs also considers the controversial question of close-cousin marriage (conclusion: “love trumps ickiness”).

Along the way, he manages to prove Tolstoy wrong. All happy families are not alike. They come in more flavors than ever. Today, we don’t so much inherit family as create it. “You no longer need to share chromosomes to call yourself kin,” concludes Jacobs. (As an adoptive father myself, I consider this a full-on blessing.)

Nestled within “It’s All Relative” is a project, and an ambitious one at that. Jacobs wants to hold the world’s largest family reunion. The Global Family Reunion, he calls it. The plan is to gather a few thousand of his relatives and celebrate not only their kinship but the very notion of kinship. Is it a gimmick? Sure. But it’s a good gimmick, a noble one, and that makes all the difference.

Jacobs is the Zelig of genealogy. There he is doing the warm-up act for Donny Osmond. Now he’s hanging with his very famous, very distant cousins, from Daniel Radcliffe to George H.W. Bush to Ricky Gervais. Jacobs defends this sort of celebrity genealogy — epitomized by such TV shows as “Who Do You Think You Are?” — on the grounds that “they inspire people to trace their own pasts.” Perhaps. Or maybe it’s just a sophisticated way of justifying our voyeurism.

Jacobs, thankfully, tempers his Kumbaya tendencies with some hard-nosed questions. Does knowing your ancestry expand your circle of compassion or shrink it? The jury is out. An anti-Semite discovers he is part Jewish and reforms his ways. White supremacists hold online contests to see who has the highest percentage of European descendants. Genealogy, too, is fraught.

Jacobs doesn’t shy away from this fact, exploring the dark side of genealogy: not only relatives with checkered pasts (one of his in-laws served time in Sing Sing prison for murder) but privacy concerns and the very real danger that all of this DNA testing may render us more tribal, not less.

“It’s All Relative” is a whirlwind of a book, as Jacobs zip-lines from one branch of the global family tree to another. At times, it feels like a blur of great-great-grandfathers and seventh cousins once removed. So determined is Jacobs to leave no branch unexamined that he sometimes loses sight of the forest. I would have liked less time on the twigs and deeper dives into the roots.

Jacobs treats the reader like family. He shares a lot and without asking permission. In particular, he shares his every neurotic twitch surrounding the Global Family Reunion, from the catering requirements (potato salad for 3,000) to the sponsors (fickle) to the deliciously ironic dispute among Sister Sledge (slated to perform their ode to kinship, “We Are Family”). Despite his ineptness, or perhaps because of it, I found myself rooting for him and his quixotic project. Did I believe that Jacobs’s gathering of a few thousand cousins on a soggy Queens field would change the world? Not for a second, but it was fun and uplifting to watch him try.

Perhaps the only thing more fraught than family is humor. Jacobs, courageously, attempts to combine the two. He pulls it off, mostly. I laughed when he described ancestry sites as “Facebook for dead people” or his father, a legal scholar, as “the Wayne Gretzky of footnotes.” I grimaced when he gratuitously deployed the term “cousin humper.”

Besides, Jacobs is at his most endearing when he drops the comedy armor and gets real. With the Global Family Reunion approaching rapidly, he writes: “I’ve never been in charge of a cause that people actually believe in. It’s terrifying. About half the time I feel like a fraud.”

By the end of “It’s All Relative,” Jacobs feels like, well, family. Mostly endearing, occasionally annoying but always well-intentioned and, in the final analysis, indispensable. Now if only he’d call more often.

It’s All Relative
Adventures Up and Down the World’s Family Tree

By A.J. Jacobs

Simon & Schuster. 336 pp. $27

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L’histoire. Une grand-mère de 93 ans sympathise avec Daniel Radcliffe dans les Vosges… sans le savoir

Une femme de Saint-Dié-des-Vosges a rencontré le célèbre interprète d’Harry Potter lors d’une expo. Elle ignorait qu’il était l’un des acteurs les plus connus au monde.

Publié le 14 Déc 17 à 12:19

Daniel Radcliffe lors du Comic Con International à San Diego (Californie) en 2014. (©Gage Skidmore/ Flickr/ CC)

Chloé, une photographe indépendante, a décidé de raconter au blog MadmoiZelle l’étonnante histoire de sa grand-mère Jeanne, âgée de 93 ans : sa rencontre fortuite et improbable avec l’acteur Daniel Radcliffe, le célèbre interprète d’Harry Potter, dans les Vosges !

Les faits remontent en 2013. Jeanne expose alors ses œuvres de peinture dans le cadre d’une rétrospective à la médiathèque de Saint-Dié-des-Vosges. Sa petite-fille raconte : 

Un midi, alors qu’elle assurait la permanence de ladite exposition, elle vit entrer un jeune homme qui s’adressa à elle directement en anglais. Il venait, expliqua-t-il, incognito, sans média, pour quelques heures seulement… dans le but de voir un manuscrit ancien consigné dans la bibliothèque.

« Enchanté, je suis Daniel Radcliffe »

Le célèbre acteur de la franchise Harry Potter n’a pas pu accéder à la bibliothèque et sympathise avec Jeanne en contemplant ses peintures. Chloé poursuit : 

Il apprécia longuement les toiles de ma grand-mère et voulut ensuite lui acheter un catalogue d’exposition. Malheureusement, il n’avait pas d’euros, que des livres anglaises. Alors ma grand-mère lui offrit de bon cœur. Son visage s’éclaira alors, il lui serra la main avec chaleur, avant de se présenter : « merci beaucoup, et enchanté, je suis Daniel Radcliffe. »

Mais Jeanne ne reconnaît pas comédien britannique et se présente à son tour. Leur relation aurait pu s’arrêter là. 

L’acteur lui envoie une photo dédicacée et une carte de Noël

Sauf qu’un an plus tard, la grand-mère de Chloé reçoit une carte de vœux de Daniel Radcliffe. Il s’agit d’une photo dédicacée. 

Elle le reconnaît mais, ne sachant toujours pas qui il était, elle supposa « que c’était un footballeur car il était très beau garçon et très poli ». 

Jeanne range cette photo dans un tiroir. Ce n’est que deux ans après que des amies lui mettent la puce à l’oreille, à la vue du cliché : « Mais enfin Jeanne, c’est Harry Potter ! » 

Depuis, ils ne se sont plus jamais revus, mais Jeanne n’est pas prête d’oublier cette rencontre qui aurait fait fondre plus d’un fan du sorcier. 

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A bot has written a Harry Potter book and it’s not a classic

It’s definitely not magic: a computer has written a Harry Potter novel and it is beyond terrible. The tome was produced by Botnik, which, according to the company’s website, is “a community of writers, artists and developers collaborating with machines to create strange new things.”

The outcome is the majestically named Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash. Needless to say, JK Rowling needn’t be concerned about the robots jacking her steez any time soon. At the most, the bot-written novel might be adapted into a so-bad-it’s-good movie, but you can be certain that Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint would give it a wide berth.

How’s this for an opening line? “The castle grounds snarled with a wave of magically magnified wind.” Some people say that fiction is just a load of bloody hot air – and on this occasion they would be correct.

Sometimes, the bots come up with a plausible sentence or two. “‘Death eaters are on tops of the castle!’ Ron bleated” is actually sort-of not bad, is it? Like, it’s better than anything in Morrissey’s novel. There are lows, though: “The password was BEEF WOMEN,” Hermione cried.” Many readers noted that the Harry Potter books became more textured and layered, more deftly written, as the universe created by JK Rowling expanded through the seven main novels. Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash has, to put it politely, reversed that trend.

Rowling has become big on Twitter in recent years, but is yet to comment on Harry Bot-ter. The ‘bots may become more accomplished scribes over time, and perhaps she’s been spooked by one line in their book: “The dark arts better be worried, oh boy!”

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Lorraine: Une mamie papote avec Daniel Radcliffe, sans même reconnaître le héros de «Harry Potter»

Une mamie papote avec Daniel Radcliffe sans reconnaître le héros de Harry Potter (Archives)

Une mamie papote avec Daniel Radcliffe sans reconnaître le héros de Harry Potter (Archives) — Chris Pizzello/AP/SIPA

« Merci beaucoup, et enchanté, je suis Daniel Radcliffe ». La mamie, aujourd’hui âgée de 94 ans, lui a rendu la politesse. Rien de plus : elle ne connaissait pas le célèbre acteur incarnant Harry Potter au cinéma (et globalement celui qui l’incarne dans l’imaginaire de tous).

C’est l’histoire rapportée par La Parisienne. De passage à
Saint-Dié des Vosges (en Lorraine, oui Harry Potter en Lorraine), Daniel Radcliffe entre dans la bibliothèque de la commune pour mettre la main sur le Graduel de la collégiale de Saint-Dié. C’est alors qu’il rencontre la nonagénaire qui exposait ses peintures. Elle offre au jeune Anglais, intéressé par ses œuvres, le catalogue de l’exposition.

Une photo dédicacée pour la remercier

Cette jolie rencontre s’est déroulée il y a deux ans mais racontée aujourd’hui par sa petite-fille. Entre-temps le comédien anglais, visiblement très touché par le geste de la grand-mère, lui a envoyé une photo dédicacée. Signé : « Meilleurs vœux, Daniel Radcliffe ».

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Tonight’s £101m EuroMillions lottery jackpot could make you richer than Daniel Radcliffe and Harry Styles

Tonight’s Euromillions jackpot is £101million and while it might not be a UK record it will still make the winner far richer than some UK celebs.

One lucky punter from Spain scooped the lottery’s joint biggest ever jackpot of £168m in October while four UK players earned near a million after matching five main numbers and one lucky star.

The record-breaking draw had reached the maximum 190 million euro limit, where it would have remain for a further four draws until it would have been claimed.

But while this draw isn’t quite at that level it would fetch a single jackpot winner more money than Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe’s reported wealth of £78million and One Direction’s Harry Styles’ estimated net worth of £56million.

The biggest ever EuroMillions jackpot of £168million is up for grabs tonight (file picture)
The EuroMillions jackpot is £101million tonight (file picture)
(Image: PA)
Gillian and Adrian Bayford from Haverhill, Suffolk are the UK's second biggest ever winners, scooping £148million in 2012
Gillian and Adrian Bayford from Haverhill, Suffolk are the UK’s second biggest ever winners, scooping £148million in 2012
(Image: PA)

Current British record holders are Colin and Chris Weir, of Largs in Scotland, who won a whopping £161million on the EuroMillions in 2011.

Nobody has matched the right numbers since November3, but tonight’s winners would be met by a team of specialist Camelot advisers, who give immediate advice on investing the money.

Current record holders Colin and Chris Weir, of Largs in Scotland, won a whopping £161million on the EuroMillions in 2011
Current record holders Colin and Chris Weir, of Largs in Scotland, won a whopping £161million on the EuroMillions in 2011
(Image: PA)
Daniel Radcliffe is reported to be worth £78 million
(Image: Getty)

Gillian and Adrian Bayford from Haverhill, Suffolk are the UK’s second biggest ever winners, scooping £148million in 2012.

An anonymous ticket-holder won £113million in 2010.

The Weirs are pictured posing with their giant cheque after their win six years ago
The Weirs are pictured posing with their giant cheque after their win six years ago

UK winners have scooped five EuroMillions jackpots, with the biggest won by an anonymous ticket-holder, who banked £87 million.

The first EuroMillions draw took place on February 13, 2004.

There are now nine European countries participating – the UK, France, Spain, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Switzerland.

As well as the jackpot, two UK entrants will be guaranteed a million in the UK Millionaire Maker.

To scoop the eye-watering jackpot, you simply need to match all five main numbers on your ticket, plus the two lucky star balls.

No one claimed the estimated £94million jackpot on Friday.

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EUROMILLIONS RESULTS LIVE: Winning lottery numbers for Tuesday, December 12

If you have a EuroMillions ticket, you might be about to become richer than the likes of Daniel Radcliffe and Harry Styles.

Tonight’s whopping £101million jackpot is truly eye-watering.

The big EuroMillions draw is about to take place – and you can watch it live here.

The draw will appear as a live video feed above just before it begins.

For a chance at the jackpot players must match all five of the main numbers drawn, plus the two lucky stars.

There are also other chances to become a millionaire, as 10 UK ticket-holders are guaranteed to win £1 million.

Tonight’s winning numbers are: 20, 37, 39, 44 and 50. The lucky stars are 4 and 8.

EuroMillions, which is played in nine European countries, has two draws a week – one on Tuesday and one on Friday – with jackpots occasionally reaching into the hundreds of millions of pounds in the event of a multiple-rollover.

For those who aren’t quite as fortunate, there are, considerably, smaller prizes for matching more than two of the five main numbers.

Tonight’s winning numbers will appear here shortly after the draw – and perhaps you are tonight’s lucky winner?

Here are last Friday’s winnning numbers

Thunderball results: 1, 8, 13, 24, 30. The Thunderball was: 1.

Euromillions results: 4, 22, 30, 32, 34. Lucky Stars: 3, 4.

Euromillions was first drawn in February 2004 and initially only included the UK, France and Spain – before lottery organisers Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria and Portugal joined in October that year.

It's time for the National Lottery Lotto draw
It’s time for the National Lottery Lotto draw

Players from micro-nations between the main players, such as Monaco, Liechtenstein and Andorra – as well as French overseas dependencies and the Isle of Man, can also take part.

The prize is capped at 190m euros – and the odds of winning the jackpot are around 1 in 140m

Good luck everyone!

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Evaluating Personality Tests

A drive to better understand ourselves and the people around us has led to the creation of a thriving industry built around personality testing.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

If anybody with Internet access eventually sees the offer click here and take an online personality test, they’re not very scientific. But they can be fun. BuzzFeed had a quiz called Which “Star Wars” Villain are You? Well, some employers are using more rigorous personality tests. So what can they really reveal about the people who take them? Here’s NPR’s social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE”)

SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: It’s one of the most famous scenes in the “Harry Potter” series. Two lines of kids newly arrived at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry march into a glorious dining hall. Young students make their way to the front where a crumpled wizard’s hat awaits them. It is The Sorting Hat. The hat peers into the minds of the youngsters. After judging their personality traits, it decides which house they’ll belong to during their Hogwarts education – brave Gryffindor, gentle Hufflepuff, smart Ravenclaw or ambitious Slytherin.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE”)

LESLIE PHILLIPS: (As The Sorting Hat) But where to put you?

DANIEL RADCLIFFE: (As Harry Potter) Not Slytherin, not Slytherin.

PHILLIPS: (As The Sorting Hate) Not Slytherin? Are you sure? You could be great, you know.

VEDANTAM: There’s something deeply appealing about The Sorting Hat. It knows people better than they know themselves.

MAKAYLA: Hi, my name is Makayla Blackburne (ph). And the house I’m in is in Gryffindor.

VEDANTAM: I ran into 10-year-old Makayla and a group of her friends recently at PotterVerse, a “Harry Potter” convention in Baltimore.

And do you all know each other really well?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: Yeah.

VEDANTAM: OK, good. All right, so here’s a little test that I want to do, OK? We’re going to pick Makayla. And you’re not going to say it, but the rest of your friends on the count of three are going to call out and say what house you think she should be in, not what she says she’s in or what she wants to be in but based on what you know of her, what house you think she should be in, all right? On the count of three. Ready? One, two, three.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: Slytherin.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Hufflepuff.

VEDANTAM: And what had you said?

MAKAYLA: I said I was in Gryffindor.

VEDANTAM: Wait, your friends got you completely wrong.

MAKAYLA: Well, I went to this camp and it sorted me into Slytherin. But I am sort of cunning so, yeah, they’re right. And she’s right as well ’cause I am sort of nice.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Yes, you are loyal to your friends, I would think.

VEDANTAM: Even among these young girls, it’s easy to see how the question – what house are you in? – flows into a larger question. What kind of a person are you? This need to understand ourselves has fostered a thriving industry built on the marketing and sale of personality tests. Some categorize you by your favorite color.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: And today you’ll discover your true colors, the unique combination of traits that make up your personality.

VEDANTAM: Others promise that discovering your true personality will guide you to love.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Ever hear of the term hopeless romantic? Ever wonder if it happens to describe you? Well, welcome to ItsAllViral. And today, we’re going to be seeing if you are indeed a hopeless romantic.

VEDANTAM: The most famous of these tests is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or NBTI. It sorts people into 16 personality types, each of which describes a way of seeing or dealing with the world. For example, if you’re an ENFP, that means you’re an extrovert, rather than an introvert, you rely on intuition more than facts, you’re emotional rather than cerebral and you prefer to go with the flow rather than have a highly structured life. When Adam Grant, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania first took the test, he found he was an INTJ, an introvert, an intuitor, a thinker and a judger.

But then a few months later, he took the test again.

ADAM GRANT: I got opposite scores on every dimension. I scored (laughter) now I was ESFP.

VEDANTAM: Grant says he began to question the reliability and validity of the test.

GRANT: It falls well short of most conventional reliability standards. And the Myers–Briggs proponents themselves will tell you that it doesn’t predict anything.

VEDANTAM: Many personality researchers put greater stock in a test known as the Big Five. Grant says the Big Five has lots of peer reviewed data to back it up.

GRANT: We can predict your job performance, your effectiveness in a team with different collaborators, your likelihood of sticking around in a job versus leaving as well as your probability of your marriage surviving, depending on the personality fit between you and your spouse.

VEDANTAM: Allen Hammer, a psychologist and former chair of the Myers-Briggs Foundation, disagrees with Adam. He says the Myers-Briggs is as reliable as other personality tests and that it can predict real world outcomes.

ALLEN HAMMER: When people matched roommates on their psychological type, they got a 65 percent decrease in requests for roommate changes.

VEDANTAM: The origin story of the Myers-Briggs is unconventional. In the 1940s, an American woman named Isabel Myers became interested in the ideas of Carl Jung, a contemporary of Sigmund Freud.

HAMMER: Her mother, actually, was interested in Jung first. And then Isabel, who was a housewife at the time and a writer, she got interested in type and then started looking at applications particularly around careers.

VEDANTAM: Isabel Myers and her mother, Katharine Cook Briggs, turned Jung’s theories into a test. Myers also added her own ideas.

HAMMER: Isabel Myers added a fourth dimension, and that’s represented by the letters J and P.

VEDANTAM: Hammer does agree with Grant on one thing. He says the test should never be the only factor in hiring or promoting someone.

JESSICA COMSTOCK: By a show of hands or wands, how many people are familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator?

VEDANTAM: Back at the “Harry Potter” conference, I stopped by a panel discussion called Hogwarts Houses as Personality Types. The panel leader, Jessica Comstock, has designed a detailed chart to show how closely Hogwarts Houses align with Myers-Briggs categories.

COMSTOCK: I’m going to do a little experiment with the first few people. So what is your MBTI?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: ISTP.

VEDANTAM: Comstock looked at her chart. ISTP matches to Slytherin.

COMSTOCK: What is your house?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: Slytherin.

COMSTOCK: Yes, it is.

(LAUGHTER)

VEDANTAM: The delight on the faces of audience members was palpable.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #3: ESFJ.

COMSTOCK: You said ESFJ. You’re a Hufflepuff.

VEDANTAM: And as I looked out at the crowd in this packed conference room, I was struck by another idea. If “Harry Potter” houses work about as well as a psychological test being used by many companies to hire and fire people, well, it makes me want to pick up my wand and say, obliviate (ph). Shankar Vedantam, NPR News.

INSKEEP: Shankar’s the host of the Hidden Brain podcast and radio show. And later this afternoon, on All Things Considered, he’s going to look at how the labels we put on each other can shape who we become.

Copyright © 2017 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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Sundance Now readies Lorenzo Pisoni’s “Circus Kid”

AMC Networks-owned SVOD platform Sundance Now is gearing up to premiere Lorenzo Pisoni’s feature-length documentary Circus Kid later this month.

A Points West Production, in association with Eden Wurmfeld Films and Pro Media, the 69-minute film (pictured) chronicles Pisoni’s unique childhood of growing up in a circus family while showcasing the dynamics that develop in the demanding environment of performance.

Featured in the documentary are Pisoni’s father, Larry, his mother Peggy, his sister Gypsy (who recently created the circus work in the Tony-winning Broadway smash Pippin), and original Pickle Family Circus members, Bill Irwin and Geoff Hoyle.

Founded in San Francisco in 1974, the Pickle Family Circus formed part of the renewal of the American circus, which went on to influence the creation of Montreal’s Cirque du Soleil 10 years later.

Circus Kid is produced by Mad Men actor Jon Hamm, Pisoni, Jennifer Westfeldt, Eden Wurmfeld, William Rexer and Sarah Dussealt, alongside executive producers Daniel Radcliffe, of the Harry Potter franchise, and Karen Lehner.

Circus Kid will launch exclusively across the streaming platform on Dec. 21.

“A glimpse into a childhood of being locked in trunks, thrown stories high into the air and performing with men in gorilla suits felt like great fodder for a fun documentary,” said producer Jennifer Westfeldt in a statement. “But when I met Larry, Lorenzo’s magnetic and complicated father, a deeper story emerged. This film is, at its heart, a bittersweet portrait of Larry Pisoni — who was the best leader, coach, clown partner and boss a circus kid could hope to have — but struggled to be what his son perhaps needed most: a parent.” 

[embedded content]

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Weekly Round-Up: Daniel Radcliffe Producing ‘Circus Kid’, An Emotional ‘Doctor Who’ Christmas Special & More!

This week has seen first look photos and filming wraps from Crimes of Grindelwald, as well as statements from Warner Bros and J.K. Rowling herself on Johnny Depp’s involvement in the film. Bloomsbury also announced that the theme for Harry Potter Book Night 2018 will be ‘Fantastic Beasts’ – so get planning!

Danielle Nicole released an exclusive Harry Potter handbag/accessory line – just in time for Christmas. Alison Sudol, in the spirit of giving and good cheer, released a holiday single, dedicating proceeds to Lumos. We also covered an interview with John Tiffany,  a miniature Potter manuscript written by J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros Studio Tour London’s 2018 event lineup. A busy week, that’s for sure.

We’re bringing you the latest updates from the cast of the Potter films and more, with a new project by Daniel Radcliffe, an interview with Robert Pattinson, Bonnie Wright’s continuing efforts to save the ocean from plastics with Greenpeace, David Bradley on the Doctor Who Christmas Special, Jessica Jones Season 2, the Star Wars world premiere, a Jurassic World trailer, news from Mamma Mia 2 and much more:

Daniel Radcliffe Executive Producer on New Documentary Film Circus Kid

Danielradcliffeblackandwhitenotupclose

Daniel Radcliffe will be producing a new documentary film for Sundance Now, AMC Network’s video streaming service for independent movies. Circus Kid premieres on December 21st, and is  produced by Jon Hamm, Jennifer Westfeldt and Eden Wurmfeld, directed by Lorenzo Pisoni and executive produced by Daniel Radcliffe and Karen Lehner.

The story is summarised as follows:

“[Circus Kid] documents the spirit, the lunacy, the daring, the danger and the dynamics of growing up in a circus family. It captures Lorenzo Pisoni’s unique childhood and showcases Pisoni’s father, Larry, his mother Peggy, his sister Gypsy (who recently created the circus work in the Tony-winning Broadway smash Pippin), and originalPickle Family Circus member, Bill Irwin, Geoff Hoyle and many others in The Pickles.”

Radcliffe said the following:

“Lorenzo has made a film, ‘Circus Kid,’ about his life experience that is at once incredibly unique, touching, and engrossing while also inspiring anyone who sees it to unlock their own coming of age story”

Read more here.

Tom Burke on Being Cormoran Strike

In a recent interview with London Live, Tom Burke discussed playing the lead in the BBC adaptation of Robert Galbraith / J.K. Rowling’s Strike series. The Cuckoo’s Calling is now available on DVD, and the next part in the series will be releasing on BBC One in 2018. Watch the full interview below:

First Look at Emma Thompson As Queen Elizabeth I

In the first photos from the upcoming Upstart Crow Christmas Special, Emma Thompson (Professor Trelawney) has been completely transformed into Queen Elizabeth I. She’ll star alongside David Mitchell as William Shakespeare, who will be rehearsing a play to perform in front of the Queen:

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See more photos here!

Bonnie Wright Continues The Fight Against Plastic Pollution

Speaking on her Instagram, Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley) shared an article she’d written about the problem with plastics for Greenpeace on Teen Vogue, which includes a petition to take action against single-use plastics.

Her article speaks of the beauty of the ocean, her time aboard Greenpeace’s ship (Arctic Sunrise), her experience seeing the huge problem with plastic pollution in our oceans, and how we can challenge corporations to do more:

“My generation has only known a world of single-use plastics — as the way most companies transport and distribute their goods. But it wasn’t always like this. Growing up, picnics at the beach or the park meant thoughtfully preparing sandwiches and storing them in tupperware to take along. Instead now, we only think about eating when we’re hungry, as we’re never far from takeout food or coffee. Eating like this costs us and the environment. It’s time to reject this story of convenience that corporations sell us.”

Read the full piece and sign the petition here. Bonnie Wright will also be attending Wizard World Comic Con this February, which you can read more about here.

Jim Broadbent in Mary and the Witch’s Flower:

Watch the UK trailer for animated feature Mary and the Witch’s Flower, which features the voice of Jim Broadbent (Professor Slughorn), below:

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The film is summarised as follows:

“While spending the summer with her great aunt, Mary follows a cat into the nearby woods to get away from a neighbourhood boy who likes to poke fun at her. Once there, she stumbles across some strange flowers that, unbeknownst to her, contain a magic juice that transforms her little broomstick into one that flies. The broomstick takes her to a secret location known as Endor College – a school of magic. Mary is warmly welcomed by college tutors Madam and Doctor Dee. Believing her to be one of their own, they give her a guided tour of the school, where children discover their hidden magic abilities under the watchful eyes of the school’s professors. While witnessing all the fantastical classes and potions, Mary discovers not all is as it seems, and is soon forced to confront great danger in order to save the day.”

Mary and the Witch’s Flower releases in UK cinemas 2018. Read more here.  

David Bradley Says Filming Capaldi’s Final Doctor Who Scenes “very touching”: david bradley doctor who

Speaking of portraying the First Doctor in the Christmas Special of Doctor Who – which will see Peter Capaldi leave the show as the 12th Doctor – David Bradley said filming scenes often became emotional:

“There was one moment where me and Peter just looked at each other in the middle of this scene and it was like, who was gonna well up first?” He said of Capaldi’s last scene: “Well, it was very touching, from promising beginnings, when we’re suspicious of each other and I say, ‘Who are you?’ and he says ‘I’m the Doctor’ and I say, ‘No, you may be a doctor but I’m THE Doctor.’ “And so there’s a bit of a frisson between them before we’ve both realised that we’re actually both one and the same person.”

He also said of Broadchurch costar Jodie Whittaker’s casting as the 13th Doctor (and the first female Doctor):

“I have to say, as we saw in Broadchurch, she’s got this emotional reserve that is kind of like, there’s no limit to it, she just tells it like it is.

“She’s capable of great emotion and passion and at the same time, anybody who’s hung out with her for a while, which I did, knows that she’s also got a wicked sense of humour, and she’s just got that kind of playfulness.”

Read the full interview here. Doctor Who: Twice Upon A Time airs on Christmas Day on BBC One and BBC America. See the trailer for BBC America below:

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Julie Walters Wraps Filming on Mamma Mia 2

Good news, Mamma Mia fans! Filming on the musical sequel has reportedly finished, and a ‘first look’ is circulating giving an exclusive look behind the scenes. The movie starts Potter‘s Julie Walters alongside Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgård, Christine Baranski and Dominic Cooper:

The film releases July 2018 – we’ll bring you updates as they come! Read more here.

Robert Pattinson On Fame and Ego

In a recent interview with Variety, Robert Pattinson (Cedric Diggory) spoke of the transformative powers of fame, and how his perceptions have changed since he first started acting:

“When something becomes really big you really get an awareness of how small you are, like where it is when you first start acting and you feel like a big shot when you’re only doing something small. My ego was a lot bigger when I first started,” Pattinson said. “Then you start losing control of a lot of different aspects of your life and also the job, especially when you’re doing sequels to something. It doesn’t matter what you think: a) it’s already been written in a book, and b) the tone has already been set up and the machine is already in motion. It’s frightening when you lose your sense of identity.”

In the thick of awards season, Pattinson is certainly making waves with his role in the Sadfie brothers thriller Good Times, which received high praise at Cannes and with reviewers.

He shared his thoughts with Jamie Bell on franchise filmmaking, finding fame so early, working with great directors and more. Watch the interview below:

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The interview was part of Variety’s Actors on Actors series, which is presented by Google Home and will air from January 2nd-4th 2018 at 7pm soon PBS SoCal KOCE. Read more here.

David Tennant in Jessica Jones Season 2

If you’ve seen Jessica Jones, you’re probably a little more creeped out by David Tennant than you were pre-watching. The second season of Marvel’s best Netflix Original (in my humble opinion) will see Tennant return as Kilgrave aka The Purple Man, appearing to be via traumatic memories.

An exclusive first look at season 2 by Entertainment Weekly shows a tormented Jessica haunted by Kilgrave:

“He’s such a part of her construction and her dilemma,” showrunner Melissa Rosenberg told EW. “I think just having him come back and be that mirror again is really important… She was somewhat of a mess even before Kilgrave came into her life, so [Season 2] is about digging deeper into that chaos and peeling back those layers.”

“Jessica is in a pretty dark headspace when we meet her at the top of season 2,” she said.

Watch the new trailer below, and read more here! The 13 part sequel season will debut on Netflix on March 8th 2018. It’s still quite a way off, but granted the first season aired in November 2015, we can wait just a little longer!

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Toby Jones In Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Trailer

Toby Jones (voice of Dobby) features (very) briefly in a new trailer for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, teasing an epic mission to save the dinosaurs of Jurassic World from inevitable doom, as per.

The cast is pretty a-list, bringing back Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, as well as Jeff Goldblum and BD Wong. They are joined by co-stars James Cromwell, Ted Levine, Justice Smith, Geraldine Chaplin, Daniella Pineda, Toby Jones, Rafe Spall and Isabella Sermon.

The film releases June 22nd 2018. Read more here and watch the trailer below:

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Ciaran Hinds and Ian Hart in The Terror

Inspired by a true story and adapted from best-selling novel by Dan Simmmons, AMC’s 10-part thriller series The Terror will debut at 9pm on March 26th 2018. The series is produced by Ridley Scott, David Kajganich and Soohugh, and will premiere with a two-hour episode.

Ciara?n Hinds as John Franklin, Tobias Menzies as James Fitzjames - The Terror _ Season 1, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Aidan Monaghan/AMC

Photo: Ciarán Hinds as John Franklin, Tobias Menzies as James Fitzjames – The Terror _ Season 1, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Aidan Monaghan/AMC

The series stars Harry Potter’s Ciarán Hinds (Aberforth Dumbledore) and Ian Hart (Professor Quarrel), alongside Jared Harris (The Crown), Tobias Menzies (Outlander), Paul Ready (Cuffs), Adam Nagaitis (Suffragette), Nive Nielsen (The New World), and Trystan Gravelle (Mr Selfridge):

The Terror captures a rare combination of fascinating history, complex and flawed characters, the inextinguishable human spirit and the horror and promise of an uncharted world,” said executive producers and co-showrunners Kajganich and  Hugh. “We are looking forward to bringing viewers into this world in March.”

Read more here.

Warwick Davis and Domhnall Gleeson at Star Wars: The Last Jedi Premiere

The latest instalment in the Star Wars saga premiered in Los Angeles tonight, featuring Warwick Davis and Domhnall Gleeson:

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See more from the premiere here. Gleeson recently spoke on playing General Hux, and we heard Davis speak about his experience on the Star Wars films at Comic Con 2017 in London (read more here).

Watch the trailer for The Last Jedi (coming to theaters on December 15th) below:

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That’s all from this week! Read our previous round-up here, and this week’s theater round-up here.

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Beyoncé, Herzogin Kate und George Clooney: Mit diesen Tricks schützen sie ihr Privatleben

Dass sich Promis verkleiden oder falsche Namen benutzen, um in Hotels einzuchecken, ist seit Jahrzehnten bekannt. Mittlerweile machen es sich Stars aber zu einer Art Sport, getarnt über die berühmte Comic-Con und andere Messen zu laufen. Bryan Cranston (61) zog sich 2013 eine Maske seines ‘Breaking Bad’-Charakters Heisenberg über. “Harry Potter”-Star Daniel Radcliffe (28) kam 2014 im Spider-Man-Aufzug und Superman-Darsteller Henry Cavill (34) kam in Guy-Fawkes-Maskierung auf die Comic-Con, um unter anderem Schauspielkollege Will Smith (49) zu veralbern.

Nur wenige Stars sind so offenherzig wie Katy Perry (33) oder Hilary Duff (30) und geben zu, dass sie schon einmal die angesagte Dating-App ‘Tinder’ benutzt haben. Außerdem haben die Promis das doch auch gar nicht nötig, wenn es beispielsweise ‘Tinder Select’ gibt, wie ‘TechCrunch’ im März berichtete. Dabei handelt es sich um einen zuvor geheimen, digitalen Dating-Club für die Schönen und Reichen. Laut dem Bericht kommt man nur auf Einladung rein. Vielleicht ist dies damit auch die bessere Plattform für Hottie Zac Efron (30). Dieser hatte der ‘Times’ im Juli 2016 erzählt, dass er sich bei ‘Tinder’ angemeldet habe, dass er aber mit niemandem in Kontakt gekommen sei, weil alle gedacht hätten, dass es sich um ein Fake-Profil handelt.

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