WATFORD, England — Britain’s young royals had a magical day out Friday with a visit to the studio where the “Harry Potter” movies were filmed.
Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry toured Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden near London, home to “The Making of Harry Potter” studio tour.
The royals, accompanied by 500 children and adults from charities they support, had a wand lesson, visited the Great Hall of Hogwarts School and saw props, costumes and models from the Potter series in the company of the boy wizard’s creator, author J.K. Rowling.
William also seemed taken with props from “The Dark Knight” Batman trilogy. “I’m a very happy man,” he joked after exploring the Batmobile and sitting astride the Batpod motorcycle.
Kate, who is six months pregnant and wore a polka-dot dress, smiled indulgently at her husband.
In a speech to Warner Bros. executives, William, 30, said he was “over the moon just to have seen the real Batmobile and Batpod.”
“On the other hand Harry’s just excited to see a real life talking owl in the Harry Potter studios,” William said of his 28-year-old brother. “I haven’t told him yet that Harry Potter is fictional, so please keep the secret for a little longer?”
Friday is the official opening of Warner Bros.’ Leavesden Studios, a former World War II airdrome 20 miles northwest of London.
Warner Bros. has spent $155 million redeveloping the facility, where the eight Potter films were shot, into Europe’s largest filmmaking complex.
It was recently used for the upcoming Tom Cruise sci-fi picture “All You Need is Kill.”
o o o
WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Will.i.am says he’s been unfairly accused of stealing a song from a Russian dance producer for use on his new album.
The producer-rapper-singer has acknowledged reaching out to trance producer Arty after hearing his 2011 song with London’s Mat Zo, “Rebound.” Will.i.am recorded a new version with Chris Brown titled, “Let’s Go,” which has been met with criticism online from Arty’s fans. He said he emailed Arty, who initially responded positively to an invitation to collaborate. But in recent weeks, the Russian DJ and producer told fans on his Facebook page that there was no final deal between their respective labels and “the matter is under review by our legal teams.”
Will.i.am credits Arty, whose real name is Artem Stoliarov, as a writer on the song in the liner notes for his album “#willpower,” released this week. He blamed the slow legal clearance process and said he didn’t know Arty had worked with another producer on the track. Will.i.am said his legal team was also at work on the issue.
“You can’t steal if you credited somebody,” will.i.am told The Associated Press in an interview this week. “He and I communicated. ... It’s not my fault he didn’t tell me about the other guy. So who is to blame? I didn’t know.”
A message sent to Arty’s label, Anjunabeats, was not returned Friday.
Will.i.am, whose real name is William Adams, noted that his album includes collaborations with more well-known electronic dance music producers including Afrojack, Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso.
“I respect that world and in a way helped cross it over for it to be played on radio,” he said. “So it’s just — it’s just — it’s kind of wack the way this situation has turned out because it’s undermined in a way — not really, it hasn’t — but it’s undermined my contributions to that world and my respect to that world. Because the way they’re painting it is not the way it is.”
Will.i.am, whose group the Black Eyed Peas went on hiatus two years ago, said he faced similar issues with slow legal clearances when Estelle and Kanye West released “American Boy” using the beat from his 2007 song “Impatient.”
o o o
NEW YORK — Lauryn Hill says she has signed with Sony to pay her overdue taxes.
Hill, 37, pleaded guilty last year to not paying federal taxes on $1.8 million earned from 2005 to 2007. The singer posted on her Tumblr blog late Thursday that she “signed a new record deal, and that I did this to pay taxes.”
The total Hill owes is in dispute, but it is around $1 million. Her next sentencing date in New Jersey is May 6.
Hill also says she’s working on new music. She hasn’t released much music since her 1998 solo debut, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.” It has sold more than 10 million albums and won five Grammy Awards.
Hill writes that she’s not only signing with Sony because of her legal woes, but also because she needs to express her creativity.