Davids Yates and Heyman Spill Fantastic Beasts Secrets: Paris, Dumbledore, Depp, Credence and more!

Nov 08, 2016

Posted by: Catherine

Crew Interviews, Events, Exclusives, Fantastic Beasts, Interviews, Leaky, Music, News, Yates

Our day of round table interviews with the Fantastic Beasts talent and crew began with a lively conversation from the two Davids: Harry Potter director, David Yates, and Harry Potter producer, David Heyman. Both had come back to reunite the dream team with J.K. Rowling and return Harry Potter fans to the wizarding world.


The Davids had a lot to say about the second Fantastic Beasts movie! Yes, already. [If you do not wish to be spoiled *at all* do not continue reading.] We know the first will be released next week, but in the second movie, Dumbledore comes back! David Yates said early on in the interview that Jo had all of the Fantastic Beasts films “bubbling away” in her head, though she was still fine tuning the details. He then confirmed that a young Dumbledore would make his grand entrance in the second movie, saying:

In the second movie Dumbledore comes back. There are a couple good scenes with Newt. We just have to find out who would play him? Any thoughts’ The Davids then jokingly asked for suggestions. With a laugh, Jared Harris, Richard Harris’s (Dumbledore in the first and second Harry Potter) son, was tossed around the table as a fan-favorite. The Davids did confirm that it would NOT be Michael Gambon. David Yates said firmly, “no it’s not going to be Michael Gambon. No, we need a younger Dumbledore. But, Jared Harris is a fine actor. But, yes? Any recommendation.” We requested somebody tall.


Along with familiar British characters, Fantastic Beasts is going back to Europe. David Yates confirmed, without a doubt, that the next Fantastic Beasts film will primarily take place in Paris. “We confirm it!” Yates said quickly with a smile. “We do go back to the U.K. in the second film as well–it’s U.K. and Paris. I’m not sure where Jo is setting the rest of the movies, but they’ll be European-centric. I think it will be difficult to ignore America, but the next one is predominately Europe.”


Jo has always focused on the real world and it’s discourses and problems, particularly children. Timeless themes of intolerance, being stigmatized, being outsiders, and the world divided are as important now as they were in the 20’s. One of Jo’s particular focuses is on children, and their important roles. When I asked David Yates and Heyman, despite having an adult main cast, if children and youth were still going to play a vital role throughout the series, they said yes.

Yates said, “What I think is really powerful about her work is she’s (Jo) is not afraid to take children to dark places. She is not afraid to tell stories that kind of explore how scary the world can be. We were concerned early on in the process, ‘will children enjoy this movie,’ it’s got some dark ideas. But Jo has always gone there, she’s always been keen to deal with death and bereavement and characters that are corrosive and dangerous. I think that will continue. I think a younger audience will sill be able to engage with this story and deal with those grown up themes, and be introduced to those grown up themes.”

Heyman agreed with Yates, saying “but in a way, I think these four [main] characters have a certain childlike qualities. There is an innocence, like grown up kids…About the darkness. One, the darkness is not that dark. Two, the darkness is something that is a constant in classical children’s literature. You know, you look at Grimm’s fairy tales, Roald Dahl, they were almost preparatory stories, preparing young children for the challenges in life ahead. In fact children are generally, as we found with the Potters and anything I made, children are much more confident with going to that dark place. They like it because, one they’re made to feel older, they don’t feel patronized, and that I think is a positive thing.

Going forward, in the next script, Modesty is not in the next story. Credence, we follow Credence further. He becomes quite pivotal actually, Credence is quite crucial,” Yates said.


Speaking of pivotal characters…Last week it was leaked that Johnny Depp would be a part of the Fantastic Beasts series, and most likely as Grindelwald. David Yates and David Heyman confirmed this, and were surprised that the secret hadn’t been leaked sooner.

“We filmed early,” the both said. “I was amazed,” Heyman added.”It was completely bonkers. I was convinced it [would be leaked] you can keep very few secrets nowadays, especially something like that! When he came to Leavesden and we filmed for two days…and it didn’t come out. That’s mad.”

“Sworn to secrecy,” David Yates added with a smile.

David Heyman looked at Yate. “Well people tend to break their promises.”

A lot of drama and ridicule as surrounded the issue of Jonny Depp in Fantastic Beasts since the news broke. Many fans are especially concerned with Depp’s current domestic abuse scandal.

David Yates explained why they chose Depp, saying, “the whole principal of casting the movie was go with the best actor. Go for the most inspired, interesting, right fit for that character. And as we approached Grindelwald we thought, ‘who’s going to take this in an interesting direction?’ In this business, it’s a weird old business. You’re brilliant one week, people are saying odd things the next, you go up and down. But no one takes away your pure talent.”

“Johnny Depp is a real artist. He’s created several characters who have really resonated in our popular culture. He’s a really brilliant, brilliant actor. We were excited about seeing what he would do with this guy, the character. He’s fearless; he’s imaginative; he’s ambitious. We thought he would do something fun and special. So we went for him, purely on that selfish basis. We don’t care if he’s famous or not famous. We just know he’s interesting.”


David Heyman jumped in with a few words to say on the subject. “Grindelwald is an iconic character, so it was important to have someone who had that weight. There’s a reason why he has that weight. It’s because, you know, he’s a fine actor who makes unexpected choices.”


I reminded the Davids that the films are title “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” and with the Grindelwarld announcement, it seems that the Beasts are going to take a back seat to a new Voldemort-Harry like story. David Yates said yes, “currently the beasts feature slightly less in the second film, and Grindelwald takes more of a foreground. Currently. But we love the beasts so much. There’s an amazing beast in the second movie–a Chinese beast, actually–that is featured. We’re exploring how we can get a couple more beasts into the second film, with Jo.”


Heyman had a more philosophical answer, and we loved it. “In a way the beasts are the creatures in the case. But it’s also the beast in each of us. […] I think beasts will continue to play a part in some score. It’s also so much a part of what Jo writes about. It’s the consequences of repression.”


Having only finished making the final cut three weeks ago, there was a lot that didn’t make it into the final cut of the film. The Davids confirmed that there would be quite a few deleted scenes and extra features on DVD/Blu Ray when the film would be released. Some of these scenes were David Yates’s favorites. These included a “lovely” scene with Jacob being “dropped” by his girlfriend. “It’s a really beautiful scene, and that will be on the DVD extras, ” Yates lamented. “There’s quite a lot,” Heyman said. “It’s amazing,” Yates continued, “all the scenes worked really well on their own, individually, but when you want them–I was watching them with Mark, my editor, the other week, and I thought ‘WHY DID WE TAKE THAT OUT? IT’S GREAT!’–then in context, it doesn’t quite hold it’s own. It doesn’t have the momentum that you need.”

“We have more deleted scenes on this than we did any of the Potters,” Heyman said.

The TV spot that really captured people’s hearts, Dan’s “I want to be a wizard,” didn’t make the final cut. Yet they’re selling tshirts with that quote on there. David Yates explained the context of this, saying “it’s a great scene. Alison and Katherine, they do a little song about their old school–the Ilvermorny song–and I got Alison to write it, because Alison is a really gifted song writer. So she wrote this absolutely beautiful song, and they stand up there and they sing it together. The boys watch, and as the boys are watching, they slowly fall in love. It’s really beautiful. Frankly, it’s my favorite scene in the entire movie. But the momentum of the story telling point was starting to drag a little bit. But it will be on the DVD extras.”


Thank goodness, we wouldn’t want to miss any of those scenes-particularly if they’re David Yates’s favorites.


David Yates talked about how freeing it was not to work from a book adaption, and to be working directly with a script from Jo. “When you’re adapting something, it’s always an echo in a strange way. It’s never going to be as immersive as you want it as when you open that page. But as a movie it’s a different form.”  He said there is something “fresher” about going straight into the cinema. Heyman complimented the Potter team–Stewart Craig, Coleen Atwood, Jany Temime–for creating the world as though it were real, rather than fantasy. He added that the magic of the beasts lies in David Yates wanting them to be rooted in the real world. “The real world is as extraordinary as anything you can invent.”


When asked if he would be directing all five, David Yates expressed how much he loved with with Jo and David Heyman, but would have to take it one movie at a time. He is definitely directing the next film.

More from the round table interviews will be making their way to Leaky soon! Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be released in theaters November 18!

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.