‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Set Report #8: Interview with Ezra Miller

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Aug 24, 2018

Posted by: Emma Pocock | Comments

Actor Interviews, Exclusives, Fantastic Beasts Movie, Films, HP Cast, Interviews, Leaky, Miller, Movies, News, SetReports, Warner Bros.

It’s always a pleasure to speak to Ezra Miller, who greets us by asking how we enjoyed seeing the streets of wizarding Paris, and telling us he almost ‘lost [his] cool entirely’ when he first saw it! We were lucky enough to interview Ezra about his return as Credence in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, and discussed everything from the abusive relationships Credence has suffered through, to Ezra’s disappointment at not being in any Hogwarts scenes!

Ezra’s Panel is less spoilerific than the other interviews (he tells us “I’m very cautious of being a good Secret Keeper”!), so this coverage is ideal if you’re trying to avoid seeing major plot points, etc.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Set Report Links

Art Department & Plot Run-Through with Martin Foley   |  Walking the French Wizarding World: French Diagon Alley & the French Ministry   |   Props Department with Pierre Bohanna    |    Interview with Director David Yates    |    Interview with Producer David Heyman    |     Interview with Eddie Redmayne (Newt Scamander)    | Interview with Callum Turner (Theseus Scamander)    |    Interview with Ezra Miller (Credence Barebone)    |    Interview with Costume Designer Colleen Atwood    |     The Magical Creatures of Crimes of Grindelwald    |    Character Profiles: Trouble in Paris


Speaking about Credence’s journey, Ezra says that he’s on a new path to find out who he is, which, as we know, leads him to join Circus Arcanus in New York and travel to Paris:

I would say that he is both free and burdened in new ways. Obviously, there is an element of self-awareness, that brings both of those factors into play. So he’s free of a lot of the confines he’s known, and he’s free of a certain sense of uncertainty that he’s known. But with the consciousness of his reality comes also heavy burdens, and obviously, he’s a bit of a ticking time bomb given his particular magical condition.

“There is a burden that comes in the form of a — a burning need to know more about who he — he actually is and to understand the roots that he’s growing from, because obviously he’s had a very fragmented experience up to this point. So this quest for identity, which I can’t relate to at all. No one knows what that’s like to try and figure out who you are. It’s obscure, you know”

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At the time of our set visit, filming was beginning, so just how much do the cast know, going into the filming process?

Sometimes we’re given glimpses into the crystal ball by, you know, the metaphorical Professor Trelawny. We do get a little bit of divination going. Sometimes to give a sense — some people are playing out longer arcs. But there’s definitely a lot that we do not know. There’s a lot that no one knows except for J.K. Rowling. You know what I mean? At all times it’s amazing. It creates actually a really dynamic experience of, I think of making a series of movies. I find it really engaging, and I think everyone’s sort of along for the ride, anxious to know more about the story that we’re all telling together.”

Ezra is asked about the scene at the end of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, where we see a part of Credence float off into the distance, and whether there’s a scene where we see him ‘reform’. As ever, Ezra’s evasive:

“That’s another one of those ones where it sort of could be considered outside the timeline of the story. I mean when it comes to reforming, you know, it’s hard to place it precisely in time. Um, yes, if you guys feel certain that there’s a time of reforming, then I can say that I feel that that’s true too. How literal it is, can’t tell you.”

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Speaking more about Circus Arcanus, Ezra tells us “PETA would have been displeased” at the neglect on show in their mysterious tents:

“The Circus Arcanus. “Circ-oos Arcan-oos. Obviously the histories of side shows are disturbing ones. This era — that world would have been a world of a lot of heavy exploitation. Definitely some animal cruelty. At the very least, PETA would have been displeased.

“It’s interesting because we heard in Credence’s narrative in the first film, the derogatory term ‘freak’ thrown at him in a way that was deeply effective, right? I find it really interesting that we find him here in a sideshow, in a freak show as they were known. I mean obviously it’s fascinating to be a part of this exploration of what that world looked like, but in the magical context, because obviously also for all of its exploitative practices, it’s a place where some people with strange abilities and incredible talents were sort of being glimpsed by the real Muggle world

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Credence was manipulated and neglected heavily for many years, as seen in the first Fantastic Beasts film, and Graves (or Grindelwald) only further increased his distrust of people – did Ezra consciously portray the relationship between Credence and Grindelwald as one of abuse?

“I definitely felt personally that a lot of the exploration with Credence revolved around the idea of abuse and some of the different ways that trauma can happen to a young person. I definitely personally see that in a lot of the exploration of Credence. Something interesting about this idea of light and dark magic, it’s said many times in this series that love is a form of light magic, right? And so Grindelwald’s manipulation of love targeting that deficit that he could perceive in Credence is a form of abuse. You could also say it’s a form of dark magic, uh, to wield power over that human need.”

Continuing on this trail of thought, Ezra shares his reflections on Credence’s trauma, and his knowledge of what he calls ‘the Dumbledore folks':

What I think is interesting in the story of Credence is that he has been betrayed and mistreated by both worlds at this point. He has been mistreated by folks in the wizarding world, and no maj and muggle folks as well. I think there a great skepticism of everyone he sees. I find in Credence this feeling that if he’s ever going to look someone in the eye, it’s going to be to analyze and question their intent and their integrity because he’s just been given no basis to perceive trustworthiness or compassion in another person. And so I find that to be an important part of the exploration. I think he has very little knowledge of any of the Dumbledore folks at this point. I mean, there was a wizard alluded to who Grindelwald was obviously portraying as a sinister figure to him, and I think that is the extent of his knowledge.

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Credence’s relationship with Tina is revealed in the first film, and seeing as we know Tina goes to Paris to look for Credence, Ezra was asked to talk more about the trust between them:

We’ve seen sort of only fragments of a story in which Tina did care for Credence, and that was a rare and noted instance in Credence’s story. But again, when you really think about it, what does Credence actually know about that human being or where she comes from? I mean, the last interaction was a deeply confusing one where there a lot of things going on on the subway tracks, you know?

He also discussed the ‘multi-character’ narrative David Heyman and David Yates explored in our interviews previously:

 

“Everyone has a really strong drive when you look at the characters in this story, both the ones we’re following from the last film, and — and new ones who play crucial roles in the lives of those characters we met in the first one. That I always find to be a fascinating dynamic particularly in a series, when there’s a core group of characters we really care about who then are on journeys, that we have a sense or we have a question of whether or not they will lead back to one another. I think that stuff is cool, you know?”

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When asked about Credence’s new hair, Ezra says, “That is probably the hook that’ll bring people back to those seats”, and on his new costume wardrobe, Ezra is just grateful to be wearing anything by Colleen Atwood:

“Oh, look, I’m — I’m pretty grateful to slip into any given garment that can be found around this entire set. I mean, it’s hard to keep me in the clothes I’ve been assigned, obviously Colleen Atwood is a supreme master, really fun to work with her.”

Be sure to check out our interview with Colleen, who discusses costumes in Crimes in detail!

When Fantastic Beasts was filming, Ezra was also shooting Justice League, and one interviewer wanted to know if there had been any conflicts, to which Ezra responded “There’s this thing called a time turner…”, clearly comparing his busy schedule to Hermione’s:

“Harry Potter number three, Prisoner of Azkaban. It’s a dangerous tool to use, you have to be very careful. But, you know, when you want to take a lot of classes in a Hogwarts’s semester, you just got to do it sometimes, and you just got to make sure you take care of yourself and drink lots of warm beverages. England’s good for that. Yeah, no, there have been no conflicts whatsoever. It’s been a breeze.”

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He’s obviously a big Potter fan, but sadly (for fans and Ezra), Credence will not be seeing Hogwarts in Crimes, which means Ezra didn’t get to, either – he’s not bitter at all!

“I’m excited about a bunch of set pieces. Which ones can we talk about? One of them I missed was I know I can talk about this because no one could keep this one in the bag, is Hogwarts. There’s some Hogwarts which spoiler alert. I’m not in. It’s fine. No, it’s fine. Um — I thought — yeah, I — I thought I would try to sneak on, you know, sneak into the back of a class. Um, it’s very hard. They have a lot of protections.

“Why are you doing this? You’re just pouring lemon on an open wound. You know, that Himalayan salt you’re grinding it in a deep wound right now.

“I had a couple weeks off to do some other work. I was doing that work. I was in the United States and around different parts of Europe, and I came back and I was just asking what they’d been up to, and how it’d been. And they said, “Oh, it’s been pretty much the same except for we did have that week where we were in Hogwarts”. And I was so deeply devastated trying to cover it up, play it cool. I was like, oh, that’s — that’s fine. What the chocolate frog are you talking about? Nobody called me. Nobody even thought to send a text.”

“What the chocolate frog are you talking about?” feels like a line right out of Starkid’s A Very Potter Musical, and even though we’re sad Ezra didn’t get to fulfil his dream of going to Hogwarts, we’re at least glad we got a new catchphrase to use!

Finally, Ezra discusses the pleasures of working on a collaborative set, and such a huge production. He tells us that every voice is heard on set, and that he’s still just as much of a fan as he used to be:

“What’s really great and what I find really wonderful is the creative environment that’s created– the way that this environment facilitates expression is really special. It’s a very particular feeling on this set. It’s immense. It’s also more quiet than a lot of smaller sets I’ve ever been on. There’s a real sense of collaboration in the process of finding each scene. We take time to rehearse which is a rare gift when you’re on a studio schedule making an enormous movie. We have a lot of really considered conversations in which everyone’s voice is heard who’s participating in the scene. We work really intimately with these various devoted departments like the puppeteers and the visual effects department, the props department– various people who are enabling us to fall deeper and deeper into a world of imagination and so that is a delight. I haven’t had any specific requests for things to happen in the story. I’m very, very, very pleased with all of the material. I find a lot of depth and meaning in it. I still do. I still relate and connect to it as directly as I did when I was first interacting with the material as a young person and to be able to ride that wave through this creative experience is sicky nar nar bros.”

And there you have it, Ezra Miller’s response to being in one of his dream roles: “Just along for the ride, cowabunga sicky nar nar, bros.”

With that wonderful outro, Ezra was back to set, and we were off to interview Colleen Atwood!

Catch our report from the Art Department with Martin Foley here, interviews with the Prop Department’s Pierre Bohanna and director David Yates, Eddie Redmayne (Newt Scamander), Callum Turner (Theseus Scamander), and costume designer Colleen Atwood!

Leaky would like to thank Warner Bros for this exclusive coverage of yet another instalment in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, and Ezra Miller for providing laughs and spending time talking to us more about ‘Crimes of Grindelwald’!





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.