Eddie Redmayne Talks ‘Fantastic Beasts’ and Working Alongside Magical Creatures
Eddie Redmayne has some big shoes to fill as the face of the next installment in the Harry Potter franchise. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, if it does well, could launch another series of movies (and let’s be real, with fans as ravenous as Potterheads, there’s no way this movie is going to flop).
Today Collider published an in-depth interview with the star himself in which he opened up about what it was like to be part of such a huge story, his character Newt Scamander, how Fantastic Beasts differs from the rest of the Potter universe, and what it was like to work alongside completely computer-generated characters. The whole interview is worth a read, but here are some highlights:
On being a Brit on American soil:
There are Americanisms and Newt is an Englishman in New York in the 1920s. He’s been in the field for a year. And so suddenly, he arrives in New York and everything is so huge. I remember the first time I went to New York when I was about eight or nine and staying at this hotel and just opening the window and just seeing Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in front of you and then just these buildings flying up and being kind of totally overwhelmed by it. There were things I related to, certainly, in this sort of American-British thing.
On working opposite computer-generated co-stars:
Well, I’ve worked with Alex Reynolds, who I’ve worked with on Theory of Everything and The Danish Girl who is a dancer and movement coach I suppose. And we just spent a couple of months sort of investigating that. ‘Cause what was lovely is David didn’t come in and go this how it’s—he was like, “whatever,” you know, let’s make it a collaboration if you need actors to play opposite that we then, sort of, make disappear. Or puppeteers and so with each of the creatures, what was important for me was that Newt has a different relationship with them, but also that they have a relationship with each other. They all kind of live down in this case and I think he’s in some way, sort of, you know, parenting their relationship with each other. And so, we sort of played around with different ideas and so, the answer is that it varies from character to character.
So, we’re going to need a F.R.I.E.N.D.S.-style sitcom about all of the creatures squished together inside this briefcase, stat.
Redmayne also revealed that he has a little creature named Pickett who lives in his pocket:
So, for example, Pickett, who’s one of my favorite characters, who’s a little stick man and he kind of lives in here (points to pocket). He has attachment issues, so, he always has to sort of be in my pocket. And when he comes up on to the shoulder, I started by having a puppeteer come with literally a finger puppet, feeling what that was like. And then they had a long, sort of, pole with Pickett, and made out of wire on the end and then, eventually, when we actually film he’s not there and but by now, you have a sense of him and you can play with him. And then, sometimes, like, tonight we’re doing a second unit thing with just a baboon in Central Park Zoo but the baboon’s not going to be there. I find it was much easier to work with totally nothing and to sort of improvise with yourself (laughs). I’m saying this with great confidence. It could be a catastrophe. (laughs)
We’re beyond excited to enter back into the wizarding world, and even more intrigued by how different this movie sounds from the rest of the franchise. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Apparates into theaters on November 18.