Leaky Exclusive! First Look Inside The Brand New Fantastic Beasts Exhibit At House Of Mina Lima – We Interview The Iconic Duo!

Nov 17, 2016

Posted by: Georgia Gates

Art, Fantastic Beasts, Fantastic Beasts Movie, MinaLima

Leaky had the honour of attending an exciting press preview this week, held at the House Of Mina Lima where the brand new Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them artwork is now being exhibited! The unveiling of the 1920’s New York masterpieces will take place this Friday – in line with the release of the film itself!

After admiring the beautiful work featured on the Fantastic Beasts graphic design floor, we found a moment with Mira to discuss their journey as designers.

As you’ve adapted your work from years of Harry Potter artwork, props and other graphic design, are there any nods to the original films or elements of the Potter Franchise that you’ve carried through?

“Certainly the personality of the wizarding world, and it’s hard to tell if we do it deliberately beacuse we’re so immersed in it. With the newspapers here, we definitely wanted them to have a familiarity to the viewers, that there is a kind of language if you like to the wizarding world – but not necessarily replicating anything. We looked at typography of the period, and found the original type faces from the twenties, that were specifically American. And even in the language, we went to archives in New York and found anything from buisness cards to advertisements and posters, just trying to pick the right kind of thing that’s American and not British.”

Mira guides me over to the table of prop features – “They’ll pick things up – there’s even a pumpkin juice from the twenties!”

In terms of the 1920’s advertising, what did you find most enjoyable about taking inspiration from that era?

“We get so used to looking at reference photos that are all black and white, so when we started to find material from the era, the colours were just so fantastic. Every magazine cover, ever poster, advertisement, was done with very little photography, so everything relied on artists to draw things and create them. Looking at that period, we were given quite a challenge to replicate that.”

In front of us, a glamourous collection of ‘muggle’ advertising is showcased on the wall. Mira points towards the posters and explains further:

“This is all muggle stuff for Times square, so we were trying to capture that 1920’s artistry. They were very refined, but really daring in the colours and the layout. I think it was quite an explosion in design for that era, especially in America after the war, it was a wonderful display.”

In our last interview in June, you mentioned taking reference from aspects of Russian Propaganda for the ‘WANTED’ posters. With Fantastic Beasts,  have you had to research and collect anything as historic for the posters featured?

“We looked at original American police ‘WANTED‘ posters, and so there’s definitely a kind of convention that they would use through the layout and language, it’s quite complex with the amount going on. We would try and shift it in to our wizarding world – although they look like traditional muggle artifacts, if you read the language on them they all reference crimes that are to do with the magical world. We did so many that aren’t featured, but every part of them is correct so that it’s relevant. As you can tell from our aesthetic, we’re used to being quite elaborate in our design. For the church scene, all the reference we found for those fundamental religious organisations, were very basic and simple – if you notice in the scene of the printing press, we wanted it to feel like they were generating everything themselves and just managing to do the best they could. So while some of the artwork looks slightly simplistic, that’s definitely in reference to how things would have been done.”

Was there anything in particular that took extra time and detail to execute throughout the whole process of designing artwork for the film?

“I think probably the New York ghosts, beacuse we had to do that sequence at the beginning of the film – although it flashes by, I think it’s probably all of twenty seconds long! Even when there was a section that was in German or French that flashes past the camera, you have to still create the whole page because it’s going to move. We worked with visual effects to understand how much we were going to see of each paper so we didn’t go crazy! We’ve got the freedom that a journalist doesn’t have, which is that we can place things wherever they look good, but it’s still a challenge. If you look at the newspapers here, they have very little white space so we had to fill everything. We knew the adverts would be really fun to do because we could animate them, but again whenever there’s a mention of a name or a brand, everything has to be cleared in advance. We would research names of the period so they felt relevant.”

Which areas of design were most suited to you individually?

“Eduardo usually takes over the newspapers, we tend to end up doing everything together but if there’s anything hand drawn, I tend to take that on. But we cross over, we’re naturally drawn to certain things. We had three really great assistants for Fantastic Beasts. For example in the street scenes, (it wizzes by) every shot has to have signage and advertisements, shop window displays, so they helped a lot with those tasks!”

Lastly, what excites you the most about working on a brand new set of 5 films?

“Wherever we are, whether it’s in the wizarding world or the muggle world, it’s going to be interesting for us as designers. Selfishly, that’s a departure from what we’ve done previously because there’s more muggle here than in Harry Potter. So it’s an era in which we feel really at ease, and excited by. I think much like Harry Potter, the fact that it’s so heavily dependent on the visuals, whether it’s a prop to drive the story forward or whether it’s beautiful surroundings, we feel privileged to be given that task. It’s a bit of a gift. Mind you, we don’t know what’s coming!”


The following photographs are the official press images – Photo credit: Steve Williams


House of MinaLima_Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them 7





As we’ve previously mentioned, Eduardo & Mira will be hosting a midnight book signing, on the 18th! (tonight for UK fans) Don’t miss out! The House Of Mina Lima shop exhibit is due to close March 2017. If you are unable to visit, be sure to check out their website at store.minalima.com


The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.