The Harry Potter series came to an end this past Friday, and it (appropriately) went out with the biggest opening weekend of all time. After working on eight movies for about ten years, the cast and crew now have to find other projects to occupy their time with, and we’ve learned of two major players in the series getting involved with new films.

First, STYD has learned that Guillermo del Toro is developing a new version of Beauty and the Beast, with Emma Watson in mind to star. Crazy, Stupid, Love producer Denise Di Novi confirmed the filmmaker’s involvement, and said that she would be co-producing the movie with him. He probably won’t be directing, however, as he’s set to begin filming on Pacific Rim this September, with At the Mountains of Madness planned for some point after Rim‘s release.

Watson is a great choice, as she not only evolved throughout the series into someone who feels like a real actress, but it’s pretty easy to picture her in the role (Beauty, I mean). del Toro would obviously put a darker spin on the story, but unlike one-note hacks such as Tim Burton, the darkness actually has both a purpose and skill behind it. If you couldn’t already tell, I’m completely supportive of this happening, and the talent behind it could lead to one of the most interesting screen portrayals of this story that we’ve ever seen.

When it comes to a man who’s heavily responsible for the film adaptations of J.K. Rowling‘s novels, Variety says that producer David Heyman is planning to next adapt Erin Morgenstern‘s novel The Night Circus for Summit Entertainment. The book hasn’t been published yet — it’s seeing a release in September — but Variety says that the novel tells the tale of “two young illusionists battling out their fathers’ age-old rivalry amidst an enchanted circus, bound by a fated love, and destined to affect the lives of all around them.”

The movie I’m most reminded of by that description is Christopher Nolan‘s The Prestige, which was one of my favorite films of the past ten years; it even made our best of the decade list. I don’t necessarily expect this to be as strong, but it’s an unfair expectation to set for myself in the first place. Heyman showed that he can take a novel and find the talent who will successfully translate it to a film, while making something that can actually function as its own thing; maybe he can work that magic (sorry) here, too.

Here’s a longer synopsis of the novel from Amazon:

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Does Watson seem like a good choice for Beauty and the Beast, and do you think del Toro is a good person to bring the project to life? Would you want to see The Night Circus as a film? Is Heyman’s involvement something that you can get excited about?

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