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A First Glance at the Disney Festival of Fantasy parade

The new daily parade at Magic Kingdom has debuted, and it’s stocked with dozens of Disney characters and a set of new detailed floats. Here are five thoughts we had while watching the parade come down Main Street.

1. “Wow, this thing is moving right along.” There are many moving parts on the floats, both big and small, high and low. A notable early example are the “swing thugs” aboard the swaying pendulums on the “Tangeled” float. It looks daring. The first float (aka The Princess Garden) has a rotating round platform (think lazy susan) that lets both sides of the street see Tiana and Naveen (“The Princess and the Frog”), then the “Frozen” sisters, Anna and Elsa. So much is moving that you want to watch the float even after it’s passed by.

2. “Wow, that’s a long way to be doing a Scottish jig.” The ground-level dancers are earning their pay, including the kilted folk from the “Brave” float and the “Newsies”-inspired Lost Boys fronting the “Peter Pan” float. Even the guy controlling the tail of the dragon has choreography.

3.”Wow, that’s high.” The height of the units is notable, and there are cast members up in the atmosphere. The tallness factor would seem to back the rumor that new Christmas decorations will be needed across Main Street, which has had garland crossing that area.

4. “OK, just wow.” When the steampunkish dragon turned the corner and came into view, a roar went up. Followed by another roar when it breathed fire. Once Universal Studios gets its fire-breather into place at Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Diagon Alley, Orlando will once again be home of dueling dragons.

5. “Wow, top that.” The parade starts off strong and builds in intensity. So what grand finale can follow fire-breathing dragon? Mickey and Minnie in a hot-air-balloon float, preceded by Piocchio, Snow White, Seven Dwarfs (including a doubled-up dwarf), dancing hippos, Mad Hatter, Pluto and more. It’s a classic Disney ending.

Of course, it has that new-parade smell, with bright costuming and soaring soundtrack. That will fade one day, but for now most folks will say “Celebrate a What Come When parade?” The new parade runs at Magic Kingdom daily at 3 p.m.

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Vince Gilligan Appears on Community

After bringing his AMC series “Breaking Bad” to its highly praised conclusion and earning an Emmy Award for outstanding drama, creator Vince Gilligan probably could have done anything he wanted for his next act.

Unexpectedly, he opted for a cameo role in the NBC comedy “Community.” At the invitation of that show’s creator, Dan Harmon, Mr. Gilligan will make his professional on-camera acting debut in Thursday’s episode, playing the host of a vintage VCR game with an Old West theme and some deeply confusing rules. (It spoils nothing to add that Mr. Gilligan’s character also appears, in a slightly different capacity, in a closing-credits scene with Gina Gershon.)

Mr. Gilligan, who is now preparing the “Breaking Bad” spinoff “Better Call Saul” for a November debut, spoke recently about his visit to “Community.” In these edited excerpts from that conversation, he talks about what he’s learned from his introduction to acting.
Q.Is this the beginning of your transition into acting?
A.Yes. It’s a steppingstone to porn, which is actually my first true love. [Laughs] Everybody in their heart of hearts wishes they could be Errol Flynn or Harrison Ford, swashbuckling away in a big movie. I always knew I couldn’t act and I couldn’t sing, so I never really tried either. But out of the blue, Dan Harmon called up and said, would you like to do a guest shot on “Community”? And it was irresistible. I couldn’t say no.
Q.How well did you know Dan when he asked you to do this?
A.Not well. We had met at an Emmy party, probably two years before. He’s a great storyteller and a fun guy to hang around with. But he’s busy, I was busy finishing up “Breaking Bad.” And that’s the way the business is. You have a great time talking to someone and then you don’t see them again for five years.
Q.What was he like to work with on your “Community” scenes?
A.As one would expect, “Community” being his brainchild, he’s a hilariously funny guy. Exactly as I was on the set on of “Breaking Bad,” he looked pretty tired the day I saw him on “Community,” but he was a wonderful host.
Q.Did this turn out to be a deceptively challenging assignment?
A.I was so nervous because – not that it needs to be stressed for anyone who will watch the episode – I am no actor. I studied my lines. I tried to picture how Bryan Cranston or Aaron Paul would do it. But I got there and I said to Dan, “Are you sure about this? There’s a very good possibility I may be unwatchably terrible.” And he said, “We know that, too. [Laughs] The whole point of the character you’re playing is that he’s a bad actor. So the worse you are, perhaps the funnier it would be.”
Q.You play the character with a deliberately silly Southern accent. Was this a skill you’ve always had, or one you developed specifically for the role?
A.I swear to God, I did do my homework, however it comes across. I’d watch Gabby Hayes videos and I’d watch Walter Huston in “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” I’d be trying to imitate their voices. I’m not much of a mimic, unfortunately, but I had my upbringing in Virginia to fall back on. I used to have much more of a Southern accent than I do now — it seems to have gone away inadvertently after having lived here in Los Angeles for 20 years. I had to dig deep and pull it out from wherever it was hiding.
Q.So there’s an element of self-mockery in the performance?
A.[Laughs] Oh yeah. Even in the South, there’s different substrates of hillbillies and white trash.
Q.Were you bummed that you didn’t get to share a scene with your former “Breaking Bad” co-star Jonathan Banks, who’s now on “Community”?
A.He is such a sweetheart. He’s so crusty on the outside but he’s like a marshmallow on the inside. He knew how nervous I was and that I had never acted. And when he wrapped for the day, instead of driving home, which I’m sure he would have preferred to do, he hung around to run lines with me off camera. That made me more comfortable.
Q.Did you learn anything from your acting experience that made you see your work as a producer or a director in a new light?
A.I learned viscerally what I already knew intellectually. I know acting is a hard gig, but actually having 30 or 40 union crew members standing around, staring at you — they’re professionals and they’re expecting you to know your lines and not make them go home a half-hour or an hour or two hours later than they normally would. So you feel that pressure of getting it right in the first take.
Q.Was it any more difficult in the scene you share with Gina Gershon?
A.Gina Gershon’s an excellent actress, and man, just smoking hot. And just a very sweet, nice person. She very handily grasped the fact that I had not done this before. [Laughs] And I got to hug her over and over again, take after take, which was very enjoyable. I’m glad my girlfriend, Holly, was not there. That would have put a damper on things. [Laughs]
Q.After this experience, are you thinking about how you might more substantially re-enter the world of scripted entertainment, or are you still kicking back and considering your options?
A.I definitely am not giving up my job. We’re plugging away on “Better Call Saul,” I’m here in the writers’ offices as we speak, and we’re breaking our third episode out of our 10-episode first season. Peter Gould and I, we’re running it together, and we’re having a really good partnership.
Q.So you were eager to re-immerse yourself in the world of “Breaking Bad”?
A.Oh, yeah. I hadn’t written a “Breaking Bad” episode since the final episode about a year ago, and then we had to shoot it and edit it all, then there was the victory lap. It didn’t take long for me to start to miss the world of “Breaking Bad,” and I very much want “Better Call Saul” to get off on the best foot possible. I’ll be here every day, and directing the first episode and co-writing the first episode with Peter. I’ll be as helpful as I can at the beginning of Season 2, putting in a couple weeks full-time with Peter, and then gradually pulling back from it. Because Peter is more than ready to run his own show. And then I’ll look for a movie to do or create another TV show.

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World Of Warcraft Movie Gets Roles for Ben Foster and Toby Kebbell

Actors Ben Foster, Toby Kebbell, Rob Kazinsky, Travis Fimmel, and Paula Patton have all been confirmed to appear in the film. Dominic Cooper, who plays a young Howard Stark in the Captain America movies, is also in negotiations to appear in film, according to a news story from Variety.

Ben Foster has appeared in films like 3:10 to Yuma and 30 Days of Night, and also played Angel in X-Men: The Last Stand. Toby Kebbell played a role in the Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time movie, Rob Kazinsky was in Pacific Rim, Travis Fimmel appeared in the television show Vikings, and Paula Patton’s most notable role was one in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.

It’s unclear exactly what roles or characters these actors will be playing, but we do know that the film will cover the introductory conflict between the orcs and the humans. The movie, which was originally set for release in 2015 was recently pushed back to 2016.

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Could Jennifer Lawrence Play Han Solo in a Stand Alone Star Wars Movie?

Jennifer Lawrence’s talents know no limits, but that doesn’t mean she’s willing to take on every role under the sun. Speaking to Slash Film, the 23-year-old Oscar winner laughed off speculation that she’s been tapped to play a young Han Solo in a standalone Star Wars film. “I can’t play a young Han Solo,” the Hunger Games: Catching Fire star laughed. “That’s awful.” Lawrence said that whoever gets the role will “probably be male,” even though she’s always “wanted to play a man.” The actress’ name was first linked to the movie in February, when Screen Crush’s Britt Hayes wrote an essay arguing that Lawrence has the chops to play the part made famous by Harrison Ford.

“Han Solo has swagger. He’s witty, sarcastic, quick-thinking, and adventurous,” according to Hayes. “He has a wry smile and he’s awfully full of himself for good reason. He’s mischievous and daring and masculine without being muscle-headed. Every lady wanted to be with him and every guy wanted to be him. There’s only one actor under 30 who I think could play Han Solo with the same je ne sais quois of Harrison Ford, and that’s Jennifer Lawrence.” Hayes argued that many of Lawrence’s male peers—Josh Hutcherson, Nicholas Hoult, Zac Efron and Shia LaBeouf, to name a few—are “too feminine” to play Han Solo. “The only other actors close to her age group that have swagger are Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans, and neither of them could play a young Han Solo because they’re just a little too old and a little too Aryan,” Hayes wrote.

While it may be a pipe dream, Lawrence is flattered that someone thinks she has the balls to play the intergalactic hero. “Oh my God, that’s awesome,” she told Slash Film. “Can I do that?”

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R2-D2 Will Return as the Favorite Droid in Abrams Upcoming Film

The new “Star Wars” film will feature a familiar droid.

On Nov. 14, Bad Robot Productions, the production company of “Star Wars: Episode VII” director J.J. Abrams, tweeted out a photo of Abrams and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy with an R2-D2 model.

The photo was taken at Pinewood Studios in the U.K., where “Star Wars: Episode VII” will film in spring 2014, and was tweeted with the caption, “Hi from the workshop!”

On Tuesday, Nov. 19, it was officially confirmed that R2-D2 will be featured in the upcoming film, which is set for release on Dec. 18, 2015.

In a blog post on the official “Star Wars” website, it was explained that the other two men in the photo are Lee Towersey and Oliver Steeples, “Star Wars” fans who are also part of the worldwide R2-D2 Builders Club. The two men are now officially part of the creature effects team for the new film.

“They didn’t apply for their jobs, but still had what is probably the best reference one could hope for,” the post said of Towersey and Steeples.

Steeples then explained that the two met Kennedy when she toured the R2-D2 Builders area at Celebration Europe in Germany this past summer.

“She posed for pictures with us, looked at all the droids we’d built and was very complimentary. I mentioned that the R2-D2 Builders in the UK were available if required, as a semi-joke,” he explained to the website. “When I was contacted to work on the film by [executive producer] Jason McGatlin, it was on her recommendation.”

Both Steeples and Towersey have worked on “Star Wars”-themed commercials in the U.K. Towersey built the R2-D2 droid seen in the Twitter photo.

“It’s fascinating to see the whole process of filmmaking as ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ grows around us,” Towersey told StarWars.com. “I feel very privileged to be in the working environment I’m in at the moment. It’s something I will never take for granted.”

R2-D2 might not be the only character from the original trilogy to make an appearance in the new film. George Lucas also confirmed in March 2013 that talks have been held with original “Star Wars” trilogy stars Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill about having them reprise their “Star Wars” roles in “Star Wars: Episode VII.”

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