Once again written by J.K. Rowling, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald finds Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) being summoned by Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) after Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) escapes. Dumbledore wants to stop Grindelwald from recruiting enough Dark Wizards to take over the world. At the same time, Newt and his friends have various problems and mysteries of their own, while Credence (Ezra Miller) has befriended an afflicted woman (Claudia Kim) who eventually becomes the snake Nagini. The film also stars Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Zoe Kravitz, Callum Turner, William Nadylam, Kevin Guthrie, Carmen Ejogo, and Poppy Corby-Tuech.
Check out what Eddie Redmayne had to say below and look for more interviews in the coming days.
Collider: When you were making the first film, you really never know what the reaction’s gonna be to these characters, because there’s no Harry Potter involved. So I’m just curious, what was it like going back on set for the sequel knowing that audiences had responded so well to the first film?
EDDIE REDMAYNE: Well I know it may sound disingenuous, but I try not to listen too much, because on these films you’re surrounded by an amazing team of creators, with J.K. Rowling at the headof that, with this sort of extraordinary imagination. And she was very clear from the word go as to who Newt was, and what he was. What was most interesting for me was having two years or a year in which that could marinate a bit. Even though I wasn’t making the film, I was doing things like reading the audiobook of Fantastic Beasts as Newt, there was sort of a virtual reality game. So in a way I was kind of living with it for another year before we started filming the second one. And what I loved is when we then got the script for the second one, I felt that Newt’s call was still there, but he was being challenged and pushed, and those characteristics that he has, that kind of naughtiness was being explored in a deeper way. So, whereas the first film felt like a romp to me, the second film felt more kind of rigorous somehow.
When they announced this film series, it was going to be a trilogy. And now it’s five films.
When did you first discover that Jo had changed it to being five films?
REDMAYNE: The trick of that Steve, is that we found out when the world found out, which was in a live stream event from London. And, well I think actually originally I had been contracted for four films. And then we were told it was five. But similarly to the way that the other day, all of the cast, we were traveling, and we hopped out the plane to find Jo had announced some of the next film was going to be set in Rio de Janeiro. And so, kind of there’s this wonderful thing by which we get, when she’s on set, she gives us snippets of what the future may hold. But then, we’re just like every other family I suppose, in some ways that we get fed news when the world gets fed news.
Yeah, I’m sure that your agent and manager were very happy when your contract was only for four films.
REDMAYNE: (laughs) I think they, you know, for me it’s signing on to a franchise. It was the first one that I’d done. And I was lucky enough before to be cast as Newt, to have read the first film. So I knew what I was getting into. But you do put a huge amount of your future years and work experience, and work ethic in someone else’s hands. But what was wonderful for me was, if you’re gonna invest in a creative, there is no one as extraordinary, imagination wise, as Jo. And so, it’s been pretty thrilling.
I would imagine. It is very few people that I would, as an actor, trust implicitly. And she is one of them.
REDMAYNE: Yeah, exactly.
The big question for me is, how much do you actually know about the full arc of the five films? Has she told you a lot, or do you prefer not knowing, and finding out script by script?
REDMAYNE: You know, the truth is, I don’t know the full arc. And there have been moments where I’ve gone, “I’m incredibly curious.” There are things we know from the books, we know that Newt’s great grandson marries Luna Lovegood. So there are some snippets that we know, but we don’t know how on earth we get there. And because I’m a control freak, part of me is desperate to know, and the other part of me has quite loved just, like, rescinding all that. (laughs) Because it means that you get this event every two years when you get to sit and read a script with great anticipation, and see what happens.
I get the sense that Jude knows much more. But the other thing that happens is that Jo will speak to each of the cast members, little snippets about where their character is going. We then tend to gather around and see if we can exchange notes. But I know that Jude had a long conversation with Jo about Dumbledore. So maybe he has more of a sense, but from my point of view, no, I’ve never tried to sort of pin Jo down on that.
David Heyman told me that he recently got the script for Fantastic Beasts 3. Have you read it yet?
REDMAYNE: No, I’ve not. I’ve not. This is what happened the last time we promoted Fantastic Beasts 1. Because I’ve had conversations with journalists like this, and I would end up begging the journalist for information (laughs). I mean literally, when we were promoting the first film, I’d read that David Yates had given an interview about something, and collectively, as a cast, we’d sort of try and information gather as much as we could. But, no, what did he say?
He just said that he had it and I asked him what the titles would be for the next few, if they would be like, Fantastic Beasts “colon”, you know, something new. And he said that’s probably what it’s going to be.
REDMAYNE: Yeah. Right, right. Interesting.
It makes sense though. Everyone associates it now with Fantastic Beasts.
REDMAYNE: Yeah, yeah.
So jumping into spoilers, when did you find out that Dumbledore was going to get a brother?
REDMAYNE: I mean, I found out when I read the script. I’ve been asked about this, but when I read it, it was genuinely jaw dropping for me. It was one of those scripts that you finished. You read in one, and then you started rereading all over again. The connections and the complexities, and just, it felt sort of, even more full each time you read it. I’m curious as to, I’ve only seen the film once, but I wonder how it plays when you see it again, and whether there are always new things that you can pull out from it.
The ending of this movie absolutely changes the Harry Potter universe. How do you think fans are going to react?
REDMAYNE: From the fans that I’ve met, also we went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios the other day, just after a load of fans had seen the film. The feeling seemed to be one of extraordinary excitement, because everyone has such faith in Jo to have the explanations. If that makes sense. And I suppose I put myself in that camp. From when I first met Jo, it became clear that you ask about any character at any point in their life, she can without even drawing breath, she will start telling you the intricacies and the details. So I feel like, obviously it’s her world, so she has a pretty thorough understanding.
Yeah, she is one of the rare people that I have implicit faith in to deliver the goods. David Heyman also told me that this film had a number of deleted scenes. I’m curious, which scenes were you sad to see go?
fantastic-beasts-the-crimes-of-grindelwald-newtREDMAYNE: Which scene? There was quite a lovely scene in the pub between a wizarding pub, after that first scene where Newt refuses to be taken in by the ministry basically, and become an Auror. He kind of storms out, and originally there was a scene in which I was in a wizarding pub in London, and my brother came and we had a conversation there, and Pickett was busy getting drunk on my butter beer and stuff. That was quite a lovely scene, and I saw why it needed to go.
I think Zoe Kravitz is sensational in the film, but there was one particular extension of the scene you already saw when her history is revealed. And she did this sort of, quite dumbfounding break down, which was, everyone in the room felt-—I mean, I as Newt ran over to her to check if she was okay, and I think it may have ended up not working musically with the piece somehow, but it was an astonishing thing to witness. So I would have loved to have seen that. I’m trying to think what else. There’s the little bit with the baby Nifflers, which was ever so slightly more extended, so I quite enjoyed that. There’s one more scene which was actually in the chase when Tina and Newt are in the records room, and then the thing spins around to reveal us to Leta, and we suddenly get chased by the Matagot’s, those black cats. Well there was quite a peaceful moment in which my case fell out of my hand and Tina let down to go and get it, and basically managed to get the whole thing, sending off all these cats. Meanwhile, Leta is being trounced on by these cats, and absolutely gave them a sort of massive kicking to save Newt, and then Newt had the idea that they should get into the case. I saw a version in which that was in, and I actually quite think it was, again, a time thing. There’s so many intricate, delicate parts. I feel like David had his work cut out to sort of really define that story.
I’m sure every fan wants to see all of these things you’re mentioning. Hopefully they’re on the Blu-ray.
REDMAYNE: Yeah, I hope so.
I know I’m almost out of time with you, and I have to bring up the fact that I’m the biggest Aaron Sorkin fan.
REDMAYNE: Ahhh. Talk to me.
I’m a huge fan. Listen, The Trial of the Chicago 7 is for people that don’t realize just this incredible story. So, I have to ask, are you definitely doing this? What’s the status of this project?
REDMAYNE: I mean, the answer is, it’s one of the most thrilling scripts, and I’m not one of those actors who’s always wanted to play this part or work with that person particularly. I love the kind of nomadic existence, and not really knowing what’s coming, but Aaron Sorkin has always been the one on the bucket list. And, the answer is, I really hope it happens. I mean, I don’t know what to say, because I don’t know what quite the situation is. But I’m really hopeful that it will happen. I’m hoping it all works out, but that’s basically beyond my control, basically.
So I don’t want to get you in any trouble, but the thing that Aaron Sorkin is known for is his amazing dialogue. His words are music. What is it like reading a Sorkin script for the first time?
REDMAYNE: It is sort of goose bump-inducing, mixed with slight fear that when it’s someone you hold in such high esteem, and pretty much all of his body of work I’ve loved, with that comes a certain expectation of yourself (laugh). So, great excitement, and that helps keep out fear.
Jumping back to Fantastic Beasts, the ending of the film is a big action set piece involving a lot of the characters in VFX. I’m curious if you could talk a little bit about filming that sequence.
REDMAYNE: You know, it was an incredibly complicated scene for David to shoot and for Johnny to perform. They had built this massive amphitheater. They did have hundreds of stunningly clothed and extraordinary looking background performers in costumes from Colleen Atwood. But Johnny had to—it was extraordinary rhetoric, it was like theater and film at the same time. He was having to play to the back of the stalls and also intimately to the camera. What was also complex about it, because they had built just half the amphitheater, is a lot of our reactions were done without necessarily all of the actors there. There’d be a box for an eyeline for like Ezra maybe. And so, there was obviously none of the fire, there were just lights. And all the battles were those things when you’re doing one battle, but they’re literally stunts with yourself, if that makes sense. You’re just sort of pretending things are being smashed at you, and you’re also having to react back with it. It’s quite comedy to watch actually, but it was perhaps the most enthralling scene to watch for me because I had no idea what it would look like, if that makes sense.
No, completely I’ve spoken to people that do these kind of sequences, other actors, and they say it’s literally like being six or seven years old again, playing in your bathtub. Just imagining everything.
REDMAYNE: Yeah, and a huge amount of working on Fantastic Beasts is like that, and it’s why I’m so damn lucky.