‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald ‘ Roundtable Interviews: David Heyman and Callum Turner

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Nov 16, 2018

Posted by: Emma Pocock

Fantastic Beasts Movie, Filmmaker Interviews, Heyman, Heyman Interviews, HP Cast, Movies, News, Producers

Leaky recently had the chance to speak to the cast of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald at roundtable interviews in L.A., and we’re bringing you the interviews today – the official release date of the film – to peruse at will!

Alison Sudol and Dan Fogler | Ezra Miller and Claudia Kim | Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston, | David Heyman and Callum Turner  |  Review: Crimes of Grindelwald   | Paris World Premiere Report  |  London Premiere Report  |   Set Visit Reports

WARNING – SPOILERS AHEAD. You may want to return when you’ve seen the movie, if you’re avoiding spoilers, because there are a few pretty major spoilers in this interview! If you have seen the film, remember: PROTECT THE SECRETS.

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Producer David Heyman and Callum Turner, who portrays Newt’s older ‘war hero’ and ‘ministry man’ brother, Theseus Scamander, joined forces in L.A. to speak to us and a panel of other reporters about Crimes of Grindelwald, and gave some fascinating insights into politics in the wizarding world, choices made to include some characters from the Potter series (cough, Minerva ‘wouldn’t be alive yet’ McGonnagall), the differences between Grindelwald and Voldemort, and Dumbledore and Grindelwald’s relationship and whether or not Dumbledore’s homosexuality is ‘overt’ enough in Crimes:

Q: This film is taking a stance on certain things in the world, perhaps more so than any of the Potter films have before. Did you guys want to use these films to comment on greater questions?

“Gosh, I think that Jo has always been interested in contemporary politics, but I would also say that what she’s writing about in this film, which is 1920’s Paris, was resonant then. History repeats itself. What she’s really most interested in is the people and the characters. The central theme, really, which has resonated throughout all of her work, is that we’re defined by the choices we make. Newt, Dumbledore, Theseus, Leta, Kama, Queenie – they’re all wrestling in some way with the choices that they have to make. I think that’s something we all do every day. I think it feels tangible today because we’re living in a time where people are choosing sides, but I ithink that’s something that’s been going on for a long time.

“I don’t think this is supposed to be a political statement, or anything like that. I think Jo is speaking to the human condition, and to issues which have been prevalent for many years. I don’t think it’s about today, it’s about politics. It’s a time of memorial.”

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Q: The boundary between evil and good is blurred in this film, and the message of Grindelwald is particularly persuasive – how did you construct these boundaries?

“Any leader who is going to gather a following is going to be persuasive. Grindelwald knows his audiences and is speaking to that audience. Whether it be politicians today, or politicians in times passed, they understand their audience. It’s all too easy to see things in terms of ‘baddies’ or ‘goodies’ – it’s just looking at it in a slightly different light.  The most interesting ‘baddies’ are those that are seductive, appealing. I think with Grindelwald, he’s a much more interesting villain than Voldemort. I loved Voldemort, I loved RaIph, who was awesome. However, Voldemort was pure evil. He was a psychopath. He knew no feeling – he was numb, he only knew hatred. With Grindelwald, he’s much more appealing because his argument makes sense. Why should wizards be in hiding? I mean, Queenie is unable to marry the man she loves because of that. 

“Of course, the danger is – as you know – if / when he assumes power, what the consequences of that will be. Whatever side you’re on, whether you’re talking about Barack Obama, or Donald Trump, some people take one side, some people take the other, and Obama supporters don’t like Trump, Trump supporters don’t like Obama. That’s politics. But Obama is incredibly persuasive to Obama supporters. Trump was incredibly persuasive to a large portion of the population. I think it’s really important that we understand why Grindelwald is able to get the following that he does. I think we do.”

Crimes deals with much more mature themes, so is it intended for a more ‘adult’ audience? David Heyman says that it’s the complexity of Grindelwald as a villain which makes the film so mature:

“I think in some ways this is more adult, because it’s a slightly more mature film, but that’s life, isn’t it? If you have a powerful villain who is pure evil, who has never loved… Grindelwald maybe didn’t love, or maybe he did love, but he had that relationship. That’s much scarier that it is someone who is just evil. I think Grindelwald is a much scarier villain than Voldemort, because you can see that he’s persuasive.”

Callum: “It’s not by force. That’s across the board with these films, I think. It’s justifiable for Queenie to put a love potion on Jacob because she loves him – you can go ‘Okay’. It’s the same with Newt, Leta, Theseus – it’s justifiable that they pick a side.”

David: “That’s interesting, because something that I hadn’t thought about before, and I’m thinking about Queenie now, is that a big part of this story is about sacrifice. Leta sacrifices herself for Newt, Theseus, and she hopes for the world. It’s about not being selfish. Newt is being selfish by not engaging. Theseus is being selfish by staying in the ministry. Leta is struggling with who she is, and ultimately sacrifices herself for what is right. Queenie is being selfish. She’s right, we know she loves [Jacob]. He loves her, but what she’s doing is denying him free will. There’s a selfishness about it. There’s a complexity to this story that’s challenging, but interesting. That’s what makes Jo’s writing and Jo’s world resonate.”

Photo by Jaap Buitendijk

It’s great to see how supportive David is toward Callum, and after asking about Callum’s experience on set at the U.K. premiere of the film, we know that he’s a super humble actor. Thankfully David was there to give him the credit he deserves!

Q: “Callum – opening the script and seeing all these relationship dynamics, and all these triangular dynamics between Theseus, Newt and Leta. Getting to play that must’ve been super exciting to dig into?”

Callum: “Yeah, it’s incredibly subtle in that it’s about the things that aren’t said, which is a gift as an actor in that nothing is on-the-nose. You can decide if you think it’s unfair on Newt, or you think Theseus was right, or Leta is -whatever. And the same with Queenie and Jacob, and with Grindelwald. These characters are complex, and they’re deep, and they can go anywhere — and that’s what’s exciting.”

Q: “In the press kit it says when you did the audition you kissed Eddie on the forehead – is that something you knew you were going to do when you walked in?”

Callum: “No, no – it just something I did for-“

David: “Oh, come on…” [everybody laughs]

Callum: “No seriously, I don’t know why I did it! When I did it I actually panicked and was like ‘youshouldn’thavedonethatyoushouldn’thavedonethatyoushouldn’thavedonethat’. It was probably that stupidity that maybe-“

David: “But actually, no. It was the impulsive, intuitive nature of it. It was intuitive. Callum is a great intuitive actor.”

Callum: “Everyone is on that set. That’s what David [Yates] supports as a Director. He wants that collaboration. He wants you to dare. {To David} You’ve said it, and it’s true, you know. He wants people to dare to fail, and if you put yourself on the line like that – it could have backfired, but that’s what’s exciting as an actor.”

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Dumbledore and Grindelwald’s relationship in this movie is a key plot point as the movies move toward their historic duel. David Heyman discussed the overtness of their relationship in this film, and his thoughts on Grindelwald’s true motives:

Q: {To David} “You mentioned Grindelwald loved someone?”

David: “Well, it’s unclear if he loved someone, or if it was manipulation. He was in a relationship. Close friendship, as Dumbledore said-“

Callum: “More than brothers.”

David: “More than brothers, right. Sorry.”

Q: “Do you mean that the scene is not clear enough that Dumbledore and Grindelwald loved each other?”

David: “No, what I’m saying is that I don’t trust Grindelwald, so I don’t trust believe – I don’t know whether he genuinely loved [Dumbledore]. My suspicion is that, did he really love him, or was he turning him to his own– that’s not clear. But it’s clear that they were ‘more than brothers’. Dumbledore says it, and you can see that there’s something – both regret, but also feelings he had for this boy and this man who he looks at in the mirror. There were always questions and thoughts about if this relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald was overt enough, or are we hiding their homosexuality? No. But there’s a journey here, isn’t there? You look at Jude, and you look in his eyes and you see the pain that he’s feeling. You see a young Dumbledore and a young Grindelwald, and you see them look in each other’s eyes. That’s more than brothers. That’s more. What one needs to do is leave somewhere for this journey to go. I think it’s beautifully pitched, by David, by the actors, and by Jo.”

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Q: “You’ve spoken about Grindelwald – how convincing he is, how complex he is. All my favorite parts of the film-”

David: “Apart from Callum” [everybody laughs]

Q: “Yes. But just the little connections that we saw to the original Potter films – like seeing Hogwarts for the first time. Going forward, will we get to see if there are elements that fit in organically?”

David: “I think it is all about it being organic. Clearly we move along and get closer to Harry. We’re now in the 20s, going into the 30s, 40s, and-“

Callum: “We were saying earlier that we’d like to see a young, hot Hagrid. [laughs]”

David: “It won’t be about being self-conscious, it’s just about enriching the story. Having Nagini in this, or Nicolas Flamel-” 

Leaky: “You chose to feature McGonnagall, too?”

David: “Yeah, McGonnagall. We just touch on McGonnagall, but she would be at Hogwarts! So it felt very organic. It wasn’t us being like ‘Okay, now let’s think. How can we bring another-‘. People might not believe it, and people call it a franchise and I understand that, but these decisions are made so without calculation. I cannot say how- of course that’s not to say that the characters, or the way you dress them and things like that aren’t – those are really carefully considered. But the process is very organic, and it’s about serving the story that Jo is telling. It’s not looking from the outside in. It’s not ‘How are we going to make it work for the audience?’. Of course you want that, but it’s all about how Jo is telling the story that she wants to tell.”

Q: “Jo has implied that Rio de Janeiro will be one of the cities in the next movie – has she spoken to you about that?”

David: “Well, I know a little bit about Rio. I’ve been there a few times. I love Brazil with such passion, but no. No, we haven’t talked about it! Unfortunately, even if we were to go to Brazil, or somewhere else, we’d shoot it in damn Leavesden! It’s such a bummer! I mean, we didn’t go to Paris – we were so close!” 

David’s voice breaks, and he and Callum are being ushered out of the room as he says that last sentence, and it’s so similar to Jacob yelling “Dammit, I always wanted to GO here!” that we couldn’t hold back a laugh. Some interesting revelations and things to ponder in this interview. The theme of selfishness and sacrifice in Crimes of Grindelwald, the fact that David Heyman is certain McGonnagall would be at Hogwarts in 1927, his evasiveness when asked about Rio (how much longer will we wait for information about the third film?!), and the manipulative nature of Dumbledore and Grindelwald’s past relationship…

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is officially released TODAY, November 16th! Check our interviews with Ezra Miller and Claudia Kim, Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston, and Alison Sudol and Dan Fogler, and be sure to let us know what you thought of the film! Remember to #ProtectTheSecrets!

Read more about Callum’s thoughts on Theseus in our interviews with him on set, here, and our interview with David Heyman 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.