Ed Sheeran will guest star on ‘Game of Thrones’ next season

Yeah, you read that right. And you can think Maisie Williams for it.

NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 08: Ed Sheeran performs on NBC’s “Today” at Rockefeller Plaza on March 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

“Game of Thrones” showrunners reportedly made the announcement at a South by Southwest panel Sunday. According to showrunner David Benioff, the show’s executives made the call as a special surprise to Williams, who is a big fan of the singer.

“For years, we tried to get Ed Sheeran on the show to surprise Maisie, and this year we finally did it,” Benioff said during the panel, according to Variety. Variety reportedly reached out to HBO for further details, and a spokesperson confirmed Sheeran would be on the show but simply said, “He has a role. No more details.”

RELATED: Is Sophie Turner’s hair color a ‘Game of Thrones’ spoiler?

Richard Linklater adaptation of ‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’ starring Cate Blanchett to start filming July 2017

Cate Blanchett will star in the Richard Linklater-directed film adaptation of Maria Semple’s bestselling novel, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” — that much we know already. But at the Texas Film Awards in Austin, it was revealed the movie will begin filming this summer.

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 14: Cate Blanchett attends the EE British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Opera House on February 14, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

A walk-on role in Linklater’s new film was part of an auction package at the awards Thursday night (two bidders ended up purchasing the package for $42,000 total, which benefits the Austin Film Society).

Semple’s 2012 novel spent a year on the New York Times bestseller list. It’s the story of Bernadette Fox, an eccentric agoraphobic mother who disappears before a family trip to Antarctica. The book is narrated by her 15-year-old daughter, Bee Branch. No word yet on who will play the daughter in the movie.

The movie’s screenplay was adapted by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, known for “The Fault in Our Stars” and “500 Days of Summer.” Stephen Feder, who worked on Linklater’s “Everybody Wants Some,” will be the executive producer.

PHOTOS: Texas Film Awards red carpet

RELATED: Shirley MacLaine walks the Texas Film Awards red carpet with Richard Linklater

 

Robert Rodriguez honors Bill Paxton at Texas Film Awards

While the Texas Film Awards Thursday night were about celebrating the many accomplishments of the film industry, organizers paused the celebrations to remember two Texas film industry heavyweights that died in the last year: Debbie Reynolds and Bill Paxton.

Bill Paxton, looking concerned, as Fred Haise in “Apollo 13”

Reynolds, an El Paso native, was honored at the start of the ceremony with a “Singin’ in the Rain” tribute performance by Austin musician Suzanna Choffel, and in the middle of the ceremony, Austin director Robert Rodriguez took the stage to honor his friend, Fort Worth actor Bill Paxton, who died in February. The two worked together on Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams (Paxton played Dinky Winks, an eccentric theme park owner). Rodriguez paid tribute to the actor upon hearing of his death, saying working with the Texas actor was a highlight of his career.

PHOTOS: Texas Film Awards red carpet

Rodriguez told a story about Paxton, saying that when they started working together, digital cameras were relatively new and he discovered that he could just “let them run” to catch improvised moments on camera, and Rodriguez thought that would be a perfect scenario for Paxton to improvise funny moments — but when the actor showed up on set, he said, “I’m like an old pony. You gotta walk me around. I need rehearsal.”

Rodriguez was surprised, saying, “You’d think he’s making it up as he goes. He worked very hard at making it look effortless and easy. He was a great man, a great actor, a great friend and a great Texan.”

RELATED: Shirley MacLaine walks the red carpet with Richard Linklater at the Texas Film Awards

RELATED: Wrapping up the Texas Film Awards

Paxton was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in 2007, and the Austin Film Society honored him Thursday night by playing his full acceptance speech for the award, followed by clips from two of his co-stars: Kevin Bacon and Tom Cruise.

Both actors got teary-eyed as they talked about Paxton. Bacon, who worked on “Apollo 13” with Paxton, told a story about a time Paxton took off his oxygen mask while filming the movie and got giddy with laughter. Cruise, who starred in “Edge of Tomorrow” with Paxton, started his tribute with this: “He entertained me.” That’s something many Texans will remember about Paxton.

RELATED: Versatile Texas actor Bill Paxton’s career was all over the place in the best way

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Bill Paxton says he’s no “Super Texan” but he still has state pride

 

Shirley MacLaine walks the Texas Film Awards red carpet with Richard Linklater

Shirley MacLaine, whose legendary film “Terms of Endearment” was honored with the Star of Texas Award at the Texas Film Awards at Austin Studios Thursday night, had someone special on her arm on the red carpet before the ceremony: Austin’s own Richard Linklater.

PHOTOS: Texas Film Awards red carpet

Both were wearing excellent shirts.

They walked the red carpet together, but are they working together anytime soon?

“That would be wonderful,” Linklater said. “Shirley’s not going anywhere.”

Linklater presented MacLaine with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the awards Thursday, honoring the actress’ illustrious career more than 50 films.

RELATED: Wrapping up the Texas Film Awards

RELATED: Robert Rodriguez honors Bill Paxton at the Texas Film Awards

The Austin director, who worked with MacLaine on “Bernie,” called the actress an honorary Texan. He even paid tribute to her with his outfit: his loud bowling shirt had a picture of MacLaine on it.

MacLaine, accepting the award, said she was glad to be there — “I’m glad to be anywhere,” she joked. In her acceptance speech, she gushed about her love for Austin and how great it felt to be in a creative community.

“I think you should build a wall around this city,” she said. “I’m overwhelmed every time I come back here.”

Check out these custom-built LEGO Alamo Drafthouses on display at two Austin locations

In celebration of “The LEGO Batman Movie,” a custom LEGO builder constructed two structures that will look familiar to Austinites: The Lakeline and South Lamar Alamo Drafthouse locations.

Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) has to learn to get along with others, including his ward Robin (voiced by Michael Cera), in “The Lego Batman Movie.” Contributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.
Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) has to learn to get along with others, including his ward Robin (voiced by Michael Cera), in “The Lego Batman Movie.” Contributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Glen Bricker, co-founder of Brickyt, a company that creates custom LEGO builds and kits, tweeted photos of the recreations Thursday.

The shockingly accurate designs will be on display at the Lakeline and South Lamar locations courtesy of the Texas LEGO Users Group, Bricker said, so don’t miss them when you swing by to check out the movie this weekend.

The movie opens Friday, and make sure to read Statesman music critic Joe Gross’ review before you see it.

The site of the original Alamo Drafthouse is for rent

The space the original Alamo Drafthouse theater once called home is on the rental market.

09-06-07 Laura Skelding AMERICAN-STATESMAN The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is moving into the old Ritz building on E. 6th Street in downtown Austin. Construction is underway to convert the old building into a cinema with two screens. The original building was built in 1929 and then it was doubled in width in 1937. The original facade will be kept including the historic Ritz sign above the awning, said Superintendent Daniel Osborne, bottom left of frame. POD
09-06-07 Laura Skelding AMERICAN-STATESMAN The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is moving into the old Ritz building on E. 6th Street in downtown Austin. Construction is underway to convert the old building into a cinema with two screens. The original building was built in 1929 and then it was doubled in width in 1937. The original facade will be kept including the historic Ritz sign above the awning, said Superintendent Daniel Osborne, bottom left of frame. POD

In the heart of Austin’s Warehouse District, the second floor space at 409 Colorado St. was most recently used as a nightclub. But longtime Austinites remember the space as the original location of their favorite movie theater chain. Tim and Karrie League opened the first Alamo Drafthouse in the space in 1997, and it remained there for 10 years until moving to the Ritz Theater on Sixth Street due to high rental costs in the Warehouse District.

Related: Alamo Drafthouse’s Ritz Theater celebrates 87 years

The Craigslist posting suggests various uses for the second floor space:

“Uses include creative office, bar, restaurant, nightclub, brewery, theater, comedy club, day spa, entertainment venue, gaming venue, bocce, arcade, cocktail lounge, ping-pong social, bowling, musical performance, music venue, corporate event space, art gallery.”

But those 8,100 square feet won’t come cheap. The Downtown Austin Alliance lists the lease rate at $34 per square foot per year, which means you’ll have to shell out $275,400 a year (that’s $22,950 a month) if you’d like to turn the space into your next business venture. Not to mention they’d like you to commit to a long-term lease of five, seven or 10 years in order to rent the space. No big deal.

7 lingering questions from ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them’

We need to talk about “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.”

(Disclaimer: Spoilers abound below, so proceed at your own risk if you haven’t watched the movie.)

This image released by Warner Bros. Entertainment shows Eddie Redmayne in a scene from, "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." (Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros. via AP)
This image released by Warner Bros. Entertainment shows Eddie Redmayne in a scene from, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” (Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros. via AP)

I saw the earliest showing I could find in Austin, yesterday at 6 p.m. at Alamo Drafthouse’s Slaughter Lane location. I’m a huge Harry Potter fan (I have a Deathly Hallows tattoo, for goodness’ sake), but even I had really low expectations of the film, to be totally honest. I’ve been skeptical of J.K. Rowling expanding the wizarding world beyond what is necessary and turning it into something that’s cheesy and overdone, especially since reading “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” this summer and having seriously conflicted opinions about it.

REVIEW: ‘Fantastic Beasts’ could use a more fantastic plot

But I loved “Fantastic Beasts.” Sure, the plot was a little predictable, but the world that J.K. Rowling and David Yates created together was unbelievable. We got a look inside the gilded and golden Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA), a mention of the American wizard school Ilvermony and a step inside of Newt Scamander’s case of magical creatures, which hosted multiple rooms, climates and beasts (Bowtruckles, Cccamies, Mooncalfs, Murtlaps and more).

Even more impressive were the intricacies woven throughout the story. If you look beyond the predictable and sometimes cheesy plot, there’s Rowling magic: foreshadowing the big reveal at the end of the film, hints at what’s to come in the next four films and plenty of oblique references back to the wizarding world we know and love from Harry Potter’s time.

Those little hints left me with excitement for the next four films in the franchise but also with way more questions about what’s to come. Here are a few, in no particular order:

Was Ariana Dumbledore an Obscurial?

In this film, we’re introduced to Obscurials, children who have suppressed their magic. Frequently the suppression is due to psychological or physical abuse as a result of their latent powers, and usually the child possessed by an Obscurus (the dark entity itself) dies around their 10th birthday. In the film, Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller) is revealed as an Obscurial who lived well beyond the age of 10 due to the strength of his magic. I couldn’t help but think about Ariana Dumbledore the entire time we discussed Obscurials. Potter fans will remember Ariana as Albus Dumbledore’s younger sister, who was attacked when she was 6 years old by three Muggle boys who saw her practicing magic. Afterward, she was traumatized and couldn’t control her magic (sound familiar, Credence?), causing an explosion that killed her mother when she was 14. She died during a three-way duel between her older brothers Albus and Aberforth and the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (more on him later).

Is Credence Barebone still alive? 

While we’re talking about our good buddy Credence, it’s quite possible he survived the attack from MACUSA agents at the end of the film. His Obscurus exploded into a billion tiny pieces, but viewers might have caught a moment where Scamander spotted a piece of the Obscurus that didn’t seem like it was completely, well, dead. And, after all, there have been multiple reports that Credence is going to be a “notable” character in the Harry Potter universe. What does it mean?

Will we see the real Percival Graves?

Colin Farrell’s electrifying Graves (who, let me just say, really knows how to wear a suit) was revealed at the end of the film to actually be the big bad Gellert Grindelwald, played by Johnny Depp (Surprise!), at the end of the film. But who is the real Graves? How long has Grindelwald been pretending to be him? Did anyone at MACUSA have suspicions about him before the big reveal?

What do the No-Maj’s think happened to Senator Henry Shaw?

Now that the New York City No-Maj community had their minds wiped clean thanks to the venom of the aptly named Swooping Evil, there’s still the fact that Senator Henry Shaw Jr. (Josh Cowdery) is dead, killed by Credence at a campaign rally. What do they think happened to him? It’s not like his father, Henry Shaw Sr. (Jon Voight) is just going to forget that his son is dead. Typically, a Memory Charm (Obliviate) just wipes memories clean, while a false memory charm implants new memories in a person’s mind. Were the No-Maj community’s memories altered to give a reason for Shaw’s death?

What’s next with Jacob and Queenie?

The most heart-wrenching scene of the film was undoubtedly Jacob Kowalski’s decision to step in the memory-clearing rain and wipe clean his knowledge of the wizarding world, Newt Scamander and the Goldstein sisters, Tina and Queenie. The film reveals that maybe his memory isn’t totally wiped, though — when he finally opens his bakery, the baked goods have some familiar shapes: that of Scamander’s magical creatures. His bakery is filled with pastries shaped like Erumpents, Demiguises, Nifflers and more. Enter Queenie, who stands in his shop as the two smile at each other. What now?! I ship this so hard, and I really want to see Dan Fogler’s character in the next four films.

Dumbledore and Grindelwald: When? Where? Why? How?

I have a lot of questions about Grindelwald. He went to school at Durmstrang Institute but was expelled and later befriended Albus Dumbledore, and the two made plans to find the Deathly Hallows, end the International Statute of Secrecy and dominate the non-magic community after the wizarding world was exposed (sound familiar? This was Graves/Grindelwald’s mission in the film). However, their friendship fell apart after the aforementioned duel that left Dumbledore’s sister Ariana dead.

Grindelwald, who was born around 1883, is presumably around 43 years old in “Fantastic Beasts,” set in 1926. Grindelwald was defeated in 1945 at the height of his power by Dumbledore himself and imprisoned in his own fortress for more than 50 years until Voldemort comes along and kills him to steal the Elder Wand.

We already know that Dumbledore is going to appear in the upcoming four films in the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise, but we have no idea what that’s going to look like. My guess is that we’ll see flashbacks to Dumbledore and Grindelwald’s friendship (and rumored romantic relationship?) leading up to the big duel in 1945, but one can only hope.

Most importantly: What’s going to happen in the next four films?

Rowling has said the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise will take place over a period of 19 years . . . meaning it will end in 1945. This means that big Dumbledore-Grindelwald duel will almost definitely take place in the final film. It also means we may get a look at young Tom Riddle, Lord Voldemort himself. He was born on Dec. 31, 1926 and finishes his Hogwarts education in 1945, the same year Grindelwald is defeated. Even if we don’t get a look at Riddle, the film franchise will undoubtedly help us understand the climate in which he rose to power.

This image released by Warner Bros. shows Dan Fogler, from left, Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston in a scene from, "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." (Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros. Entertainment via AP)
This image released by Warner Bros. shows Dan Fogler, from left, Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston in a scene from, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” (Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros. Entertainment via AP)

The next “Fantastic Beasts” movie doesn’t come out until 2018, so we’ve got a while to wait. Until then, you can find me researching how to make Giggle Water at home and figuring out where I can get a stuffed animal that looks like a Demiguise, because that guy was so cute.

All of the Harry Potter movies are coming to the big screen at the Alamo Drafthouse

Wands at the ready.

Are you getting antsy waiting for “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them” to come out on Nov. 18? You can get your Harry Potter fix in the meantime, thanks to the Alamo Drafthouse.

Several local Drafthouse locations are showing all eight Harry Potter movies over next week. It starts with “Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone” on Sunday evening at the Ritz and ends with an epic 279-minute double feature of both “Deathly Hallows” movies on Sunday, Oct. 30 at the Lakeline, Slaughter Lane and Village locations.

So, if you didn’t have a chance to catch Harry, Ron and Hermione on the big big IMAX screens at Regal Gateway Stadium 16 and the Bob Bullock Museum over the last week, grab your fellow Potterheads and maybe dust off some of those midnight premiere costumes that you know you still have, and I’ll see you there — I’ll be the one dressed as Luna Lovegood.

Get a preview of the Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-in's Harry Potter Festival with a showing of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."
Get a preview of the Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-in’s Harry Potter Festival with a showing of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”

Alamo Drafthouse’s Ritz theater celebrates 87 years

Happy 87th birthday, Ritz theater! You don’t look a day over 86.

09-06-07 Laura Skelding AMERICAN-STATESMAN The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is moving into the old Ritz building on E. 6th Street in downtown Austin. Construction is underway to convert the old building into a cinema with two screens. The original building was built in 1929 and then it was doubled in width in 1937. The original facade will be kept including the historic Ritz sign above the awning, said Superintendent Daniel Osborne, bottom left of frame. POD
09-06-07 Laura Skelding AMERICAN-STATESMAN The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is moving into the old Ritz building on E. 6th Street in downtown Austin. Construction is underway to convert the old building into a cinema with two screens. The original building was built in 1929 and then it was doubled in width in 1937. The original facade will be kept including the historic Ritz sign above the awning, said Superintendent Daniel Osborne, bottom left of frame. POD

The Ritz, now an Alamo Drafthouse theater, opened on Oct. 13, 1929, and the Austin American-Statesman had a special hand in its grand opening.

There have been many iterations of the Ritz. Over the years, it premiered countless movies and even briefly became the home of some XXX films during the sexual revolution in the 1970s, until it became a hub for live entertainment.

But in 2007, Tim and Karrie League came around, faced with high rent prices at the Alamo Drafthouse’s original location on Colorado Street in the Warehouse District. They renovated the Ritz, and it was christened as Alamo Drafthouse Ritz on Nov. 1, 2007.

RELATED: A complete history of the Ritz

RELATED: Watch: Austin videographer screens romantic proposal to girlfriend at Alamo Drafthouse