Eddie Redmayne Says the Word ‘Muggle’ Will Be in ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’
Dear Muggles, don’t worry. You’re not gone forever.
J.K. Rowling has surprised and teased her fans a lot this year with the upcoming spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The Harry Potter prequel, based on the fictional textbook in the film and book series, follows Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, a magizoologist who collects said fantastic beasts and magical creatures in his magically expansive suit case. We don’t know a ton about the new movie, besides that it finds Newt in New York in the 1920s for unknown reasons as American wizards are kept in hiding. But it’s this whole wizarding-world-in-America thing that’s had fans freaking out.
First, Rowling revealed that, yes, there is an American version of Hogwarts. Fans, rightfully, lost it. But earlier this week, Entertainment Weekly’s Fantastic Beasts cover story revealed something way more profoundly shocking: muggles aren’t called muggles in America. Instead us silly Americans call them “no-maj” (pronounced “no madge” as in “no magic”). Fans unsurprisingly, refused to accept the change. But is the word “muggle” forever gone from all future iterations of the Potterverse? ScreenCrush got to the bottom of it.
During a special New York screening of Redmayne’s upcoming period piece The Danish Girl, in which he plays transgender pioneer Lili Elbe, the first person to undergo a successful gender confirmation surgery, I caught up with the actor. Fear not, Redmayne addressed this “no-maj” business – I will say, when pronounced by Redmayne in his British accent, the funky word does sound a bit more convincing. When asked about the fan reaction to the new word, the Oscar-winner assured that “muggle” will still be a word you hear in Fantastic Beasts:
Yeah, but they haven’t changed the word ‘muggle.’ This is the important thing, the word ‘muggle’ has not been changed, the word ‘muggle’ still exists. It’s just different nationalities. The word ‘muggle’ will definitely be in Fantastic Beasts, I can put it that way.
Redmayne, who had just arrived in New York to introduce The Danish Girl with director Tom Hooper, said he was hopping on a plane back to the Fantastic Beasts set in the U.K. the next morning. Despite the fact that Redmayne won the Oscar last year for his portrayal as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything and may likely win again this year for Danish, he’s still amazed he’s starring in a Harry Potter prequel. “There was a whole period where every actor in the world in England was getting the opportunity to be in this film, particularly ones with red hair,” he said with a laugh. “It was a bit like, Wait a second, I don’t even get an audition? But then it was certainly worth the wait.”