Jude Law Talks Young Dumbledore in ‘Fantastic’ New Interview!

Jul 17, 2018

Posted by: Dawn Johnson

BigNews, Exclusives, Fandom, Fans, Fantastic Beasts, Fantastic Beasts Movie, Films, Interviews, J.K. Rowling, Law, News, Warner Bros., Yates

As San Diego Comic Con approaches and summer turns the mid-year corner, Warner Bros. is gearing up for the Nov. 16 release of the highly-anticipated wizarding sequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. In the last week, we’ve seen an exclusive featurette on the upcoming film and exciting “sneak peek” images from Entertainment Weekly. We’ve even heard from leading cast members Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston and Ezra Miller on how their characters have developed in the interim and how that evolution may effect the story as they reunite once again. But we haven’t heard much from the man tasked with perhaps the most difficult job of all, taking on the mantle of the great Albus Dumbledore. That is, not until now.

In an exclusive interview with Entertainment Weekly, Jude Law sat down to discuss his role in the film, including how creator and screenwriter J.K. Rowling and director David Yates helped shape his performance. In fact, Law revealed that he had the opportunity to sit with Rowling shortly after production began in order to get a sense for Dumbledore’s journey–where he’s been and how that informs where “his head and his heart” are when we meet him.


As to specific instructions from Rowling, Law remained vague, opting to keep his answer relatively broad. He said:

“Well gosh, there was so much reference to interior life. The one thing that came out was the sense of play. He has a youthful mercurial approach to life, but that there’s something that hangs heavy in his heart, in his past, that underlies all of that. There’s a root of good humor and good heart and sense of self and a sense of past.”

We trust Rowling delved into greater detail than Law has chosen to reveal, filling him in on the devastating loss Dumbledore suffered when he lost his sister, Arianna, and his closest friend, Grindelwald, at the same time. Surely, that would hang heavy in his heart and mind, and it will be interesting to see how Law brings that into his portrayal. Beyond that, we’re excited to see more of the playfulness that we get pleasant glimpses of in the Harry Potter series. The eye twinkle, the confidence, the willingness to buck authority and do the unexpected–it all had a beginning, and Law does expound on that, saying:

“As I mentioned before, there’s a sense of humor and mischief, a dash of anarchy, a sense of what’s right and what he believes in, and a sense of mystery. There’s also how he comes around to get people onto his way of thinking — which is rather indirectly. He also has a certain heaviness about him that I don’t want to reveal too much about — and that’s something he has to overcome, or hopes to overcome. He’s also got a great passion for sharing his knowledge, he’s a powerful and inclusive teacher.”

We certainly saw hints of Dumbledore’s methodology in the later series. Many a fan–and character!–grumbled over Dumbledore’s seeming unwillingness to give direct instruction. Some even characterized him as manipulative. But that inclination, it seems, has always been more about leading in the right direction, wisely knowing that the process of arriving at a solution or conclusion is often as important as the end result itself. Dumbledore was, and remained, a teacher at heart.


That being said, Law was careful not to rely too heavily on the interpretations of Richard Harris and Michael Gambon, explaining:

“I’m sure they were in the back of my mind, because I’d seen their work and admired both of them as actors, greatly. I talked with [director] David Yates about that and we both decided that it wasn’t necessary to do an impersonation of one of them as a younger man. This is a man with almost 100 years ahead of him before he became that character so we wanted to look at who he was in this moment and construct our own version. It makes me laugh when he’s called ‘Young Albus’ because I’m 45, so I’m more in the middle of a midlife crisis, but I’m happy to hold onto that as long as I can!”

As for whether or not Dumbledore’s personal relationship with Grindelwald would be explicitly explored, Law reminded fans to take a long view of the story, saying:

“Jo Rowling revealed some years back that Dumbledore was gay. That was a question I actually asked Jo and she said, yes, he’s gay. But as with humans, your sexuality doesn’t necessarily define you; he’s multifaceted. I suppose the question is: How is Dumbledore’s sexuality depicted in this film? What you got to remember this is only the second Fantastic Beasts film in a series and what’s brilliant about Jo’s writing is how she reveals her characters, peels them to the heart over time. You’re just getting to know Albus in this film, and there’s obviously a lot more to come. We learn a little about his past in the beginning of this film, and characters and their relationships will unfold naturally which I’m excited to reveal. But we’re not going to reveal everything all at once.”

As Law said, Rowling is a master at weaving together intricate plot and character development, and we still have three films to follow. There is much yet to be told, and we imagine we’re still just scratching the surface. Hints and clues and intrigue are more to be expected. In that way, Rowling is much like Dumbledore, and we’ll enjoy the journey all the more once we arrive and fully appreciate how we got there.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Law did confirm one detail in the interview, however, much to our delight! Referring, presumably, to the first look photo that was recently released of Dumbledore teaching a young Newt Scamander and the ensuing discussion over whether this conflicted with what we know of his career as a Transfiguration professor, Law revealed:

“He doesn’t teach Transfiguration, actually, not at this stage.”  

So what does Dumbledore teach before taking up the subject of Transfiguration? It would appear that he teaches Defense Against the Dark Arts. Maybe he is even teaching his students how to confront and defend themselves against a Boggart, as Remus Lupin would later do. Perhaps it is only after his eventual duel with Gellert Grindelwald that he feels compelled to relinquish the post. Or prior to that, out of guilt for avoiding their meeting and being unwilling to take up an actual defense against the Dark Arts. Whenever that change occurs, it is, as Law said, “not at this stage.”

Law’s comments give fans much to think about as they eagerly await the next trailer. In the meantime, read Leaky’s current theories on where the film may be headed and Dumbledore’s part in it here, and read the full Entertainment Weekly interview with Jude Law, including discussion on Dumbledore’s relationship with Newt, here!

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.