Warning: Spoilers are discussed during this interview.
With director David Yates’ Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes of Grindelwald now playing in theaters around the world, I recently sat down with Eddie Redmayne for an exclusive interview. During the wide-ranging conversation, he talked about what it was like making the sequel after the positive audience reaction, when he found out it was going to be a five-film series, what he knows about Fantastic Beasts 3, when he found out Dumbledore was going to have a brother, deleted scenes, filming the massive action set piece at the end of the movie, and more. In addition, he talked about the status of The Trial of the Chicago 7 and why Aaron Sorkin is on his bucket list of people that he’s desperate to work with.
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 head of 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.