‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ Roundtable Interviews: Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston

Nov 16, 2018

Posted by: Emma Pocock

Actor Interviews, Fantastic Beasts Movie, Films, HP Cast, Interviews, News, Redmayne, Waterston

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


Eddie and Katherine have such a brilliant dynamic, and between Katherine’s one-liners and Eddie’s energetic demonstrations of how to track magical creatures and the typical walking-downstairs actors gag, we heard some brilliant stories about their time filming Crimes, their thoughts on political themes in the movie, and J.K. Rowling’s visits to set. We also learned that they are particularly bitter about not getting to go to Hogwarts (a sentiment echoed by Ezra in our set visit interview with him):

Q: “Now you’re part of the Potter world, you’re part of that legacy – what you anticipated about becoming a part of that world, is that how it’s played out over the past few years?”

Katherine: “I didn’t anticipate anything, did you anticipate anything [Eddie]?”

Eddie: “I didn’t, and it may seem weird to say that, really, because you can’t imagine what it’ll be, and also you don’t let yourself imagine what it’ll be. If you’re a pessimist, like me, you don’t let yourself imagine it’ll be a success!

“The oddest thing is coming to places like The Wizarding World [of Harry Potter] here [in Hollywood], or when we went to China and were seeing people dressed up as Tina, or as Newt, brandishing your wands, and you’d made a decision on set like, slightly sort of high on caffeine about your wand two years ago, and now someone’s holding it, and it all hits you, and you’re like ‘Oh no, was that the right decision?!’

“That sort of stuff is so odd, and impossible to get your head around, and surreal, but wonderful at the same time.” 


Q: “This is the first time we go back to Hogwarts, right?”

Katherine: “Not us, man, not us!”

Eddie: “Yeah, this is a frickin’ sore point with us, because my character gets to go to Hogwarts, but lovely Josh, who played the younger version of me, he was the actual one. Neither of us got to go to Hogwarts. We got to go to the aqueduct, a green screen aqueduct.”

Katherine: “It’s promising maybe, for the next film, right? Because we’re on the aqueduct?”

Eddie: “Do you think if we complain enough to press they’ll let us-“

Katherine: “No. I don’t think that’s how — I don’t think they’re gonna let us. I don’t think that’ll help at all. [laughs]”

Eddie: “But we did — I mean, I did go and skulk around the classrooms, the sets that were built, and may have taken a selfie or two in the Dark Arts classroom [sighs]”

Katherine: “And that was not nothing – that was a cool experience, but no, we didn’t get the full-blown experience. Zoë [Kravitz] really got it, obviously Jude. I feel like what I really wish I could’ve seen was all the students, because this generation [of fans / extras], they know what they’re a part of now, and they’ve grown up with this, and apparently they were just bouncing off the walls, all the young actors in the Hogwarts uniform, and I wish I’d seen them!”


Q: “J.K. Rowling is being hailed for drawing some parallels with things happening in America-”

Katherine: “Oh really? How so?” [laughs]

Q: “Is that something that is important to you guys? Do you like that it’s being perceived in that way?”

Katherine: “You know, J.K. Rowling has always been interested in the shades of grey – whether is the characters, or bigger, broader issues, and we’re in such a divided time right now, and everybody is, you know, if you watch MSNBC, then switch to FOX, it’s like, is this two different planets? I think people are starting to realise the value of coming together, and to meet in the middle and get away from the far-edges.

“I also think the era in which this film is set-“

Eddie: “It’s reflecting history on contemporary times. I think great artists have this antenna, this sensitivity, almost like future see-ers. This film was written three years ago – that’s how long it takes to come out, you know, and she is reminding us, in some ways by exposing this time in muggle history – what happens, and drawing parallels to what’s happening now. What she does, I think, extraordinarily, is she also creates these worlds of joy, of magic, of romance and excitement. So you leave the film having seen a spectacle, and then you begin to think about the elements of it that kind of reflect where we are now.”


Q: It seems like the stunt work has gotten bigger on this sequel. I don’t know if you can speak to that more than my assumptions?

Katherine: “Well think about the alternative – we have to make them bigger and better. It’s a nightmare!” 

Q: “The {French Ministry} records room thing?”

Katherine: “Yeah! What are we gonna have to do in the next one?! We’ll get run over by cars or something – I don’t know! ‘Cause those records almost killed us.”

Eddie: “What was weird about the records room was that they built these things that went all the way up, and moved and turned. They’re so beautifully built, but it was weirdly really hard to hold on to. So we needed like, climber grips. We were like ‘This is cool’, and then after about three minutes we were like, ‘I literally can’t feel my fingertips. Have you got this? Have you got this?!'”

Katherine: “That is what’s amazing about these films, that everything is so well thought out, and really brilliantly done, and then every now and then there’s this low budget moment where it’s like, ‘Are we making a student film?’. There was this one day where we had to go down this set of stairs that nobody had built, so we literally had to-“

At this point, Eddie gets up and begins to demonstrate his stereotypical ‘acting like you’re walking down a set of stairs’ gag. It was a surreal moment, and I truly hope the scene they describe makes it into some sort of blooper reel in the DVD extras – it’s too good an opportunity to be missed! Somewhere the footage of this moment exists, even if it didn’t make it into the final film:

Eddie: “There was this corridor, and you had to do it completely in character, and look down the steps and then go- [fake downstairs walking commences]. 

“I was actually quite excited to do it. I’d waited all my actor life to use my walking downstairs gag.” 

Katherine: “I know! I was trying to summon Mike Myers in Austin Powers, but it was humiliating. It didn’t even make it into the film… For some reason [laughs]”.

Eddie: “It’s because I did this – David Yates was like, ‘You’re looking like a duck!'”

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Q: Your character, you can identify him before you see his face. Did you put a lot of thought into the way you hold your body? It seems quite deliberate.

Eddie: “Well in the first film, the way he was described when you first saw him was that he had his own walk, stood out from the crowd, and Jo mentioned to me about eye contact, and that he had a Buster Keaton-esque quality to him. That was how he was described, and that was kind of the most amazing and terrifying description. I started looking up Buster Keaton, and then meeting people. There are people whose job it is to track creatures. I met this guy, and he expressed to me how, when you’re tracking a creature-“

It was time for another of Eddie’s demonstrations, this time he gave an in-character portrayal of Newt’s walk, and how everything in his stance is tied to his role as a magizooloist:

“- you have to be super silent, so if there are leaves you have to have your legs, your feet totally apart, so you can keep all your weight on one foot whilst you assess where you put the next foot. This tracker guy stood like this [Eddie stands with his feet facing outwards, in opposite directions]. He walked like that, and I thought, well, that’s it then. Which is great until he has to run like it, so I’ll have to have that hip operation…”

Katherine: “Well, pilates. It’s like a ballerina’s problem.”

Screenshot 2018-09-25 22.46.53

The distinctions between good and evil are particularly blurry in this film, and Grindelwald is particularly persuasive amongst the wizarding community. How did Eddie and Katherine express their characters’ responses to his messages, and try to depict humanity and divergences of points of view in the film accurately?

Eddie: “Well I think it was a lot to do with the situations that Jo put our characters in. What I love about Newt is that he’s always been an outsider, but he’s created an exoskeleton, and a way in which to exist, and that is this cocoon of his case, his basement, his creatures – those things that he can relate to. He’s a morally good, kind, empathetic wizard, but he’s created this exoskeleton that doesn’t mean he has to go out into the world. In the last movie, this one [gestures to Katherine] opened his heart-“

Katherine: “You’re welcome”

Eddie: [laughs] “He’s trying to sort of entice [Tina] back into his cocoon, but the stakes in the world are so extreme now that the big question for him is, is that enough? Is it enough just to be a good person? Or at some point do you actually have to engage and make choices. Particularly with the family stuff, and that these guys [meaning Theseus and Newt] are at each other like this, and they’re clearly chalk and cheese, and yet there’s this great love between them. That’s all the stuff that Jo writes so brilliantly, so that the characters aren’t one-dimensional. They’re being pulled and tugged and pushed, and ‘knotty’ is the word that David Yates used to describe Newt. He’s quite a knotty character.”

Screenshot 2018-07-21 19.53.38

Q: “Was Jo there all the time, on set?”

Katherine: “No, she’s far too distracting. [laughs] She comes round set and like, everything shuts down. Kind of like moths to a flame, like ‘Tell us everything’. She really is so enchanting, and plus she’s got all the goods. She’s got all the details – she’s got the ‘hot goss’ [laughs]. I think she understands that she has that power over us, and she knows we have a film to make. So she doesn’t come round all the time, but it’s always awesome when she does, and she’s always watching us.”

Eddie: “The way that Callum’s character, Theseus, was written in the script. He was quite, almost a baddie? Not a baddie, that’s the wrong way of saying it, but he was a bit mean to Newt. But the way that Callum played him made him so human and empathetic, and ‘I’m just trying to do the right thing, and I’ve got my own struggles’, that Jo saw that and said to me that when she sees that footage, she then responds to that in how she writes the characters going forward. So it is kind of a lovely dance, in some ways.”

Q: “Are you guys given a roadmap of where your characters are going to go in the next films?”

Eddie: “We literally found out the other day – we got off and aeroplane and saw that J.K. Rowling had tweeted that some of the next film was going to be set in Rio De Janeiro. We were like, ‘To Rio!’ [laughs]. “

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

Read more about Eddie’s thoughts on playing Newt in our interview with him on set, 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.