Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald cast on the film, J.K. Rowling, Jude Law

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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is hitting theaters this Friday, and Newt Scamander and the gang will try to put a stop to Grindelwald (Johnny Depp).  The antagonist is recruiting wizards into his group with plans on making the wizards dominate over the non-magical people. We chatted with the cast members during a roundtable interview including Eddie Redmayne (Newt Scamander), Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, and Claudia Kim. The cast talks about how J.K. Rowling knows everything in the Harry Potter world, what it’s like to work with director David Yates, and what excited them during the film’s production.

Fogler and Sudol play as Jacob and Queenie, respectively, as a couple with different backgrounds. Jacob is a No-Maj and Queenie is a witch. In Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, their relationship will be put to the test.

“I only knew a little bit going into it,” said Dan Fogler about Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald before reading the script. “A lot of it was a big surprise.”

“I knew the arc,” added Alison Sudol. “I knew what was going to happen at the end. I knew the events that kind of sparked it. I was told that quite a while and I spent months going, ‘How?! How does this happen?’ How am I going to go there?’ I was so stressed out about it. Even when I read the script, I was still shocked.”

Since the films are set in the world of Harry Potter, Sudol reveals what Harry Potter moment got her excited.

“My geeking out was also paired with a giant disappointment,” said Sudol. “‘They go back to Hogwarts in the script… I don’t. But it was also very cool to have Jude join us as young Dumbledore and see his interpretation.”

“Everyone’s wondering if he’s going to live up it, and he does,” said Fogler. “He’s perfect, in my opinion; his accent, the glint in his eyes, the shape of his beard. It’s a good beard.”

Claudia Kim joins as a newcomer in the Fantastic Beasts series as Nagini, a Maledictus who becomes a snake and a servant to He Who Shall Not Be Named. She forms a bond with Miller’s character, Credence, a wizard with untapped potential.

“It’s amazing being a part of this family, especially being paired with him,” said Kim as she looks at Miller. “It was such a beautiful journey. They share a great relationship and everyone was just so welcoming.”

Filmmaking is a collaborate process, and depending on the director, some will allow actors to give input about their character.

“It’s not like Shakespeare,” said Miller about whether or not he was able to do improv. “I can’t just go in and improvise everything. This is J.K. ****ing Rowling. Sometimes on the day, David [Yates] is really interested in feeling out the pattern and the blocking of a scene. If we feel collectively that something might work better in a slightly different way, we’ll come to that decision in a very collaborative, non-hierarchal process. It’s really an open field, and David puts aside a lot of time to cater to all of our various idiosyncracies and ridiculous viewpoints that are mostly wrong. And he’s like, ‘Oh, probably not, mate.’ But every single scene, he allows the space for everyone to talk through what they feel. And there are lots of times together where we’ll change the fabric or the conversation of a scene. It’s amazing that Jo trusts us to that. It’s amazing that David trusts us to do that. David reminds me that a director is not a boss. It’s not a hierarchy; he’s not a king. A director serves a purpose, just like everybody else including every single person who builds magical Paris months before even the director is there. David really works with that understanding.”

In Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Eddie Redmayne plays Newt Scamander, a wizard and a Magizoologist who tames wild beasts and captures them for safety. His partner in crime is Tina, a witch and officer working at the Magical Congress of the United States of America. The two chat about their characters, and how Rowling is like a Harry Potter encyclopedia.

“Jo was really specific in the script about the way he moved,” said Redmayne about his character. “He walked his own walk. He had this sort of Buster Keaton-esque quality. He wouldn’t look people in the eye.”

“We got off a plane two days ago and we found out that a lot of the next film is going to be set in Rio De Janeiro when [Rowling] announced it on Twitter,” said Redmayne. “When we signed up for the film, we thought it was going to be four films. And then at a fan event, she announced that it was going to be five films. She does come on set and whisper into our ears. You see it happening to other actors while you’re trying to do your scene, and you’re like, ‘What is it?'”

“Bunty, who’s my assistant in the film and so lovely, is played by Victoria Yeates. She only has one scene in this film. Newt and she clearly have a relationship and it’s quite an established relationship. And so we asked Jo about their history. The next day, three pages of original JK Rowling text (now kept in my safe) were written about the depths of their friendship and where it came from, how Bunty had come to the book signing and had been absolutely obsessed with Newt, and how they met there. All of this stuff was amazing.”

“It would be an amazing party trick if you could ever get JK Rowling to go to one of your parties,” added Waterston. “You can say, ‘What was a grade like for Tina?’ ‘Oh, that was a tough year because she was falling behind in math.’ She knows everything and there’s not even a pause. It’s there at her fingertips. It’s uncanny. The world is so alive for her and so expansive. I really think that’s part of why fans love it so much. It just feels all-encompassing and as complex as the world we live in.”

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald hits theaters on November 16, 2018.

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