Watch ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Cast Talk Nicolas Flamel, Young Dumbledore, Relationships and More!

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Jul 24, 2018

Posted by: Dawn Johnson

Actor Interviews, BigNews, Casting, Depp, Fan Events, Fandom, Fans, Fantastic Beasts, Fantastic Beasts Movie, Film Images, Films, Fogler, Interviews, J.K. Rowling, Kravitz, Law, Miller, Movies, News, Props-Sets, Redmayne, Sudol, Trailers, Warner Bros., Waterston, Yates

The cast of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald enchanted the crowd attending the Warner Bros. Theatrical Panel in Hall H at San Diego Comic Con on Saturday. Filled with magical moments including glowing wrist-bands, surround-screen footage, a Q&A with moderator Aisha Tyler, a surprise appearance from Johnny Depp in character as Grindelwald and, of course, the highly-anticipated new trailer, it was everything fans hoped for–and the magic didn’t dissipate there.

The cast graciously lingered at SDCC, attending a signing event after the panel and then racing through interview after delightful interview with media outlets on site. They started with Entertainment Weekly before moving to IGN, SYFY WIRE, MTV and Entertainment Tonight – it sure was a busy day for the group!

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The cast split up for the IGN interview with cast members Ezra Miller (Credence Barebone), dressed in Toadette cosplay, Zoe Kravitz (Leta Lestrange), Claudia Kim (Maledictus), Callum Turner (Theseus Scamander) and Jude Law (Albus Dumbledore) going first into a discussion about the upcoming film and recently-released trailer–or, rather, a clever and delicate avoidance of any spoiler-y material.

But rather than dive into the deep end straight away, the interview kicked off with a Jude Law voiceover and a round of Harry Potter trivia, which Ezra Miller won, wands down (obviously). From Stupefy, Obliviate, Mors Mordre and Expelliarmus to Lumos, Nox and Finestre–he knew his spells and wrapped up the round with–in his estimation–an ‘Exceeds Expectations’ O.W.L.

Then the cast fielded a question about how the film balances the increasing darkness of the wizarding world with the lightness of the magical creatures, and Law jumped in with a wonderful answer, saying:

“What J.K. Rowling does so well is that balance, you know? So there is–we were talking about this earlier– there’s room in it for children to feel like they’re not being spoken to as children, so it’s not patronizing, and then for adults there’s that wonderful world of imagination and an opportunity to feel like a child again.”

Claudia Kim also tip-toed around delving into details about her character, Maledictus–a cursed witch destined to permanently transform into a beast–by commenting on the relationship she develops with Credence. She observed:

“I think it’ll be really interesting to see how she’s actually able to form some kind of friendship with Credence and join on a journey–am I saying too much?!”

The two characters must find some common ground on which to relate. Perhaps both feel like outcasts, not knowing who to trust and possessing dark powers–and a cursed fate?–that make them oddities even within the wizarding world.

Watch the full interview with IGN below.

IGN then hosted the other half of the primary cast, our rag-tag quartet of unlikely heroes from the first film: Eddie Redmayne (Newt Scamander), Dan Fogler (Jacob Kowalski), Katherine Waterston (Tina Goldstein) and Alison Sudol (Queenie Goldstein). They were asked to kick off the interview with their own running commentary on the new trailer, giving an amusing voiceover that included Fogler observing that Jude Law has the “sexiest neck in the business!”

The close of the trailer, which gave fans a first glimpse of alchemist Nicolas Flamel, prompted the interviewers to ask if they could comment on the role Flamel will play in the story. And while they couldn’t say anything about Flamel’s part in the film, Redmayne did speak to actor Brontis Jodorowsky’s contribution and how the studio created his aged appearance, saying:

“All I know is that the actor was so formidable, and he had to go through these extraordinary make-up–whenever he was on set, it was sort of a good five or six hours of make-up–and he just was sensational. He added a real authenticity…”

Katherine Waterston added:

“They do this incredible CGI trick where they make his face rather big and then they sort of shrink it down in post to make it look all hollowed out…so we never actually saw him the way he looks in the trailer.”

Redmayne also confirmed what we already knew, that the story would, at the very least, take fans to New York, London and Paris, before lamenting over the fact that the cast did not get to shoot on location in France. And though they did not travel themselves, they did comment on the magical sets and how effective they were at bringing the wizarding world to life. Alison Sudol said:

“It’s amazing to see just the detail that the incredible crew has made for each location. Each location is like a completely re-imagined–it’s period and it’s wizarding world, so then you have Paris and it’s just like, it’s so stunning.” 

Waterston expanded on Sudol’s comments, crediting the genius of series creator and screenwriter J.K. Rowling:

“I think that was quite thrilling for us, even on the first film, just to see how rich and expansive J.K. Rowling’s imagination was and it went back in time, and she sees the future, and she knows what’s going on in China right now! We don’t know, you know, but she’s built it all already, so it’s just, I think it just makes our work, what we get to do, that much more exciting and makes the whole, you know, the story-telling that much more rich.”

Watch the full interview with IGN below.

Then, back to the other half of the cast, Kim, Miller, Law, Kravitz and Turner apparated into the SYFY WIRE studio for another interview on the Crimes of Grindelwald film.

Jude Law quickly jumped into an analysis of his responsibilities in taking on the character of Albus Dumbledore, reflecting:

“It was pretty clear what was required of him as a character when you read the script, although the script evolved as we went on, as we made the film. And David Yates, the director, was very encouraging that I kind of make him my own, remembering that, you know, there’s a long way for Dumbledore to go before he becomes the Dumbledore that we all know about and are familiar with in the Harry Potter books. 

“I spent an afternoon with J.K. Rowling, and she kinda gave me the arc, the backstory, of Albus’ life and a little scent of where he’s going, and that was really what I built and tried to construct the character around.”

Kravitz added that she received direction from both Rowling and David Yates on embodying new character Leta Lestrange as well, saying:

“I did talk to J.K. a bit and she had some wonderful insight for me, and David was really helpful in that category, and also I found it in the words, I mean the script really did kind of lead me to who I believe Leta to be.” 

Miller also took the opportunity to express what he loves about the world Rowling has created and how deeply-layered her story is, drawing parallels between the many creatures and the beasts hidden within. He commented thoughtfully:

“I think what’s wonderful about the series, what I love about it so much is it’s about, you know, these creatures and recognizing them in each other and in the world, and instead of seeing them as good or bad, trying to understand them, wanting to know them and get to know them. And my character, you know, it’s also about the beast that is within and what happens if you don’t have any interest in knowing it–or if you try to suppress it or change it. And so this is the continuation of that journey. For him now really trying to figure out who he is, which is common for a lot of the characters in this film. It’s like everyone’s on these wonderful quests for their identity, and in Credence’s, you know, the Obscurial’s position, that makes him very vulnerable.”

Watch the full interview with SYFY WIRE below.

The cast then reunited to discuss behind-the-scenes moments and more with MTV’s Josh Horowitz!

They quickly confirmed that Miller remains the resident Potter expert–J.K. Rowling aside, of course–before Law reiterated that he’d had the opportunity to discuss Albus with the author herself, who gave him insight into the professor’s childhood, as well as a feel for where the story goes.

Horowitz then turned the conversation to the various relationships of interest in the film, which prompted Law to interject, “You have to understand the minefield we all have to tiptoe through now.”

Eddie Redmayne gamely jumped in, however, pointing to Kravitz and Turner while saying, “I kind of love these guys…so Callum and Zoe and brothers and ex-loves,” hinting at the complicated dynamics in play.

This prompted Law to excitedly reply as well, turning to indicate Fogler and Sudol. He said, “I was intrigued about these two because, of course, at the end of the first one, they’re separated. So what’s gonna?–how’re they gonna be brought back?–anyway–.” (We feel you, Jude. Us, too. Us, too…)

This led to discussing Sudol’s performance in the film, which Redmayne strongly praised. Given that the trailer shows Queenie under intense pressure and considering all the possible reasons for her anxious expression–from the question of Jacob’s involvement and safety to Grindelwald’s access to her mind and powers–we’re not surprised she brought her commendable acting talent to the fore to balance every nuance of the story.

Next, Horowitz asked which of the actors were lucky enough to shoot scenes at Hogwarts, and Kravitz and Turner’s hands shot up, confirming our speculation that the recently-released image of Leta Lestrange in what appeared to be a classroom is actually in the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! (The lingering question is why Leta is there…)

Kravitz eagerly elaborated:

“Hogwarts was amazing. I did fully geek out there, and then they had all the students with real owls…it really felt like I was a student there. It was kind of amazing.”

Nearing the close of the interview, Horowitz couldn’t wrap up without mentioning “hot” Dumbledore and the memes that flooded the internet after Law’s casting, to which Law admitted, smiling, “I just discovered what a meme was.” 

Horowitz did bring the conversation back to serious discussion, though, asking Law how he chose to portray the iconic character of Dumbledore at a completely different time of life. Law observed:

“Well, it’s going back in time, isn’t it? So there’s this, you know, it’s like your favorite–or your great-great granddad–and going back and seeing what he was like when he was a younger man, and so, there’s a whole lot I couldn’t even attempt to get in there. So I really just stuck with what, at this point in the story, I’m given to reveal, of which there’s only a little bit. But he’s got secrets, which are hinted at, and demons, which are hinted at, but he’s still sort of mischievous and manipulative–I hope pleasant.  

“Really, early on the director was very generous enough–well, he was generous enough to give me the opportunity to really kind of make it my own, so I didn’t feel like I had to go back and study what I’d already seen in the others.” 

Watch the full interview with MTVs Josh Horowitz below.

Finally, the cast sat down with Entertainment Tonight to talk the film, but before diving into the big questions, they broke the ice reiterating what interviews have hinted at and the new trailer confirmed, that this film will be much darker than the first installment.

Jude Law also echoed his previous comments on Dumbledore–he’s younger, he’s still mischievous, he’s still a bit manipulative–and then he expounded on Dumbledore’s relationship with Newt, saying:

“He has a great friendship with Newt. Newt was a student of his, a student that he championed. There’s a little bit of a past there that I think is already known, right? That Newt was asked to leave Hogwarts, and Dumbledore tried to stand up for him and Newt has this capacity to always act in the right way for the right reason. It’s something that Dumbledore relies on in this situation because Dumbledore cannot get involved in the confrontation that is at the heart of this film. So Newt is his sort of conduit.”

This actually sheds an interesting new light on the dynamic between the two. They’re more than teacher and student or mentor and mentee. Dumbledore needs Newt’s insight, his unwavering sense of moral direction and, it’s clear, his help. What’s interesting about Law’s word choice is his use of the word “cannot.” Does he mean Dumbledore physically, magically or logically cannot act, in a literal sense, or does he mean that he mentally and emotionally won’t act. The difference in connotations is subtle but important and will impact the story in a very important way.

Last, they closed out the day discussing the big close of the Fantastic Beasts Comic Con panel–Johnny Depps’ appearance on stage as Grindelwald. Asked if they knew about the surprise performance in advance, they acknowledged that they did, and spoke about the crowds’ overwhelmingly ecstatic response. Waterston said, “They flipped their lids!”

Law added, “They flipped their lids, and then when he started speaking, it went silent. You could hear a pin drop. It was amazing.” 

That certainly bodes well for the reception Warner Bros. can expect in November, but we had no doubt the film would be magical!

Watch the full Entertainment Tonight interview below.

These interviews offered some fantastic insights into the characters and the story Rowling has developed around them, and we can’t wait for more! Be sure to view the trailer here, along with our scene-by-scene breakdown here. Other Wizarding World news from San Diego Comic Con can be found below:

Day 1  |  Day 2  |  Day 3 (plus Scholastic’s 20th anniversary Harry Potter panel moderated by Melissa Anelli here)





Finding Hogwarts

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.