In November, the much-anticipated sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them — Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald — will hit theaters. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, star Eddie Redmayne (Newt Scamander) said the film is going to be “darker and more rigorous and weaving in the Potter lore we’re much more familiar with.”
So these characters you met in the first film are now in the wizarding world you understand more thoroughly. When I read [the script] it had these cryptic elements to it and it played like a thriller that made it a page-turner.
That script was written by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, and if anyone is qualified to weave in Potter lord, it’s her.
Redmayne also talked about the film’s villain: Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp). The infamous dark wizard was captured at the end of the previous movie and has now been sent back to Europe to answer for his crimes. But of course, he managers to escape. According to Redmayne, that’s when a young Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) sends Newt to “try and track him down and capture him.”
What’s happened is Grindelwald’s belief that purebloods should reign over all non-magical beings is a political thing. He’s rallying more and more people and it causes divisions across families. He’s pretty hypnotic.
Law spoke to EW as well. He was first introduced to the wizarding world of Harry Potter because his children grew up loving the books and films, which meant he grew up with them as well.
And I’d seen and enjoyed the first [Fantastic Beasts] film. Then I had the good fortune and opportunity to sit with J.K. Rowling shortly after we started work on it. She gave me a very good sense of Albus’ life journey and who he was and what was happening in his head and his heart and his world for this particular story.
Because he’d seen the movies with his kids, the performances of the two actors who had already played Dumbledore later — Richard Harris and Michael Gambon — were in the back of his mind, although you probably won’t see many echoes on screen:
I talked with [director] David Yates about that and we both decided that it wasn’t necessary to do an impersonation of one of them as a younger man. This is a man with almost 100 years ahead of him before he became that character so we wanted to look at who he was in this moment and construct our own version.
At this point in Professor Dumbledore’s life, something has happened in his past that “hangs heavy in his heart,” but he still has the characteristic “good humor and good heart and sense of self.”
Law isn’t just a gun for hire. He also had input on Dumbledore’s look in the film, which was created by costume designer Colleen Atwood. “[T]here’s a sense of humor and mischief, a dash of anarchy, a sense of what’s right and what he believes in, and a sense of mystery.”
There’s also how he comes around to get people onto his way of thinking — which is rather indirectly. He also has a certain heaviness about him that I don’t want to reveal too much about — and that’s something he has to overcome, or hopes to overcome. He’s also got a great passion for sharing his knowledge, he’s a powerful and inclusive teacher.
Now, most Harry Potter nerds know that before he became Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Dumbledore was the school’s Professor of Transfiguration. But according to Law, that’s not true of the time period during which The Crimes of Grindelwald is set. “At this stage in his career, he’s not. I’m not sure I’m allowed to say what he teaches.” In fact, we won’t even see Dumbledore cast many spells. “I only get to cast one. There’s a lot you don’t know about Albus in this film. And there are certain restrictions in storytelling — you’ll see, it all makes sense. You don’t see him in full flow yet.”
Law also addressed Dumbledore’s sexuality. In 2007, Rowling revealed that the character was gay, although that’s never made explicit in the original book series. Nevertheless, the world now knows, but Yates has said that this film would not directly reference the professor’s sexuality. Law wanted to go straight to the source, and he asked Rowling about it. “[S]he said, yes, he’s gay. But as with humans, your sexuality doesn’t necessarily define you; he’s multifaceted.”
I suppose the question is: How is Dumbledore’s sexuality depicted in this film? What you got to remember this is only the second Fantastic Beasts film in a series and what’s brilliant about Jo’s writing is how she reveals her characters, peels them to the heart over time.
“You’re just getting to know Albus in this film,” Law continued. “And there’s obviously a lot more to come. We learn a little about his past in the beginning of this film, and characters and their relationships will unfold naturally which I’m excited to reveal. But we’re not going to reveal everything all at once.”
One window into Dumbledore’s sexuality may be his relationship with Grindelwald, with whom he had an intense relationship when the pair were younger. But according to Law, Dumbledore and Grindelwald don’t share any scenes in this movie. “As I said before, this is only Part 2 of a longer story.”
I’ve always admired [Depp] from afar, but we don’t know each other, and I’ve not yet met him on this. In many ways that suits the relationship as it’s been many years since they’ve seen each other. So there’s complexity in that that’s fun to mine. Again, the past will reveal itself.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald makes its worldwide debut on November 16.