With director David Yates’ Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes of Grindelwald now playing in theaters around the world, I recently sat down with producer David Heyman 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, the title of Fantastic Beasts 3 and when they hope to film the next sequel, when he found out Dumbledore was going to have a brother, and more. In addition, he talked about the status of a Paddington 3, the new Willy Wonka movie, Attack on Titan, and Quentin Tarantino’s next movie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and more.
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 David Heyman had to say below and look for more interviews in the coming days.
Collider: When you’re making the first one, even though it’s something that should be successful because it’s in the Harry Potter World and Jo is writing it, you never really know if the audience is going to come out for a brand new franchise. You really don’t know.
DAVID HEYMAN: It sounds really strange but to me, I don’t work from the outside in, I work from the inside out. So, for me when the opportunity arose to work with David again, and to work with Steve, and Lionel, and to work, of course, with Jo and back in the wizarding World, I leapt, because I loved it. It was a big part of my life.
That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed the space and time to go on and explore other worlds, and do other things. Of course, I needed to do that. I need to do that, but I leapt at the opportunity. From the financier’s point, you know, putting my head on, not my heart. Putting my head on and think about the studio’s point of view on that. Jo, the wizarding world, feels like a good and interesting bet. But for me it was a way to dig deeper into this world, and the world that Jo created and to explore similar themes, and new themes a little bit deeper. So, it’s been fantastic.
The first one was, I suppose, a slightly lighter film. Serving as an introduction to the world. Here, I think, we’re going deeper. It’s a little darker, little edgier. None of it is calculated. It’s not looking outside in. It’s not saying, “the audience will want this.” It all comes from this incredible mind, this vivid…this incredible imagination, that is Jo’s. So, the first one went one way, this went a different [way], exploring more stories. Let’s get deeper, let’s bring the connective tissue. And it wasn’t because the audience will like that. It’s, this is what the story is, as we go further, and as we move on, as the timeline moves on, it gets closer to when Potter begins. So, some of the connective tissue becomes more overt.
As we move into the third film, hopefully, I just read the first script and it’s so exciting. It’s, again, you’re here, and now you’re going here. It’s great.
When she first told you the idea for this, it was originally thought of as a trilogy. And it’s now five films. Can you talk about how that change happened?
HEYMAN It wasn’t a difficult conversation to have at the studio.
Well, of course. I’m sure the studio was like, “Yes.”
HEYMAN: But it didn’t go from anybody speaking to Jo and saying, “You know what? Let’s milk this.” Both in fairness to the studio, but also to Jo. While it may look like it to some people, there is nothing cynical about this. This is all from her head. So she begins with three films, because she thinks that’s the story she wants to tell, and then as she digs deeper…and she hadn’t written anything when she said three. Then she wrote the first, and as she was writing the second, actually just before then, but as she says we working on the first, she began to realize there was a whole lot more, and she was trying to figure out, “how the hell am I going to squeeze this into three?”
I think she knew some of the tent pole, not film tent pole, but some the the structures, the big moments that she was trying to hit. She knows where it ends. She knows where it begins, and she had a lot of the building blocks in her head. But as she was filling out, she realized there was a lot more there than she thought.
How much time has it been between films?
So is the plan, in an ideal world, every other year would be a film?
HEYMAN: My sense is, if I were a betting man, that we would probably be doing the next one in two years. But let’s see, you know? It’s early days. The hope would be two years later.
You mentioned you got a script already for the third film. I would imagine you’re filming next summer or something.
HEYMAN: Roughly then, yeah.
Tending of this film introduces a character that is going to be a big thing for a lot of Harry Potter fans. It’s a big deal. When did you first hear about it? And when you introduce something like this, does Jo already have that full arc of where she wants this whole thing to go?
HEYMAN: Yep, and I discovered it when I read the first draft.
She never told you?
HEYMAN: I said, “What!?” I said. “Wow!” Yeah. No, I didn’t know before I read the first draft of the second film. And it’s a wonderful kickoff. To leap to where it’s, “Wow. This is really interesting.” Now, we begin to see how the relationship is deepening.