Producer David Heyman Reveals Production Designer Stuart Craig Is Returning for FANTASTIC BEASTS; Aiming to Start Filming This Summer

     January 8, 2015

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The Harry Potter series is officially the most successful film franchise in history, and for good reason.  The adaptations of J.K. Rowling’s brilliant book series aren’t simply translations of the story from page to screen, they’re inventive, vivid, impeccably crafted films all their own.  And so it was with great pleasure that the news of a new trilogy of films set in the Potter universe was greeted, with Rowling penning the screenplay for the first film.  Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them revolves around separate characters from Potter and takes place in a different time period and setting, but much of the team that brought Potter to life is involved, including director David Yates and producer David Heyman.

Steve recently spoke with Heyman in anticipation of the release of Paddington, which is enjoying some pretty glowing reviews, and the producer spoke a bit about Fantastic Beasts.  Most excitingly, he confirmed that production designer Stuart Craig, who brought the world of Potter to life on screen, is returning to design Fantastic Beasts.  He also revealed when shooting begins and addressed whether casting has begun.  Read on after the jump.

harry-potter-set-imageSteve asked Heyman what it’s been like to reunite with Rowling on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and he was enthusiastic about the team coming back together, revealing Craig’s involvement:

“The experience of conjuring up these worlds is such fun.  So to do it with [Rowling] and with Steve Kloves and Lionel Wigram is involved too, and with David Yates, and Stuart Craig will be designing it; it’s great.  It’s exciting, and it’s a great world to return to.”

Stuart Craig was responsible for designing the entire world of Harry Potter throughout all eight films (and also the Orlando theme parks), and so his involvement with Fantastic Beats is very welcome news indeed.  Kloves, of course, wrote the screenplay for all the previous Potter films save for Order of the Phoenix and was revealed to be involved with Beasts last fall, but his specific involvement in the film is not yet known.

With a November 18, 2016 release date set for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, obviously filming has to start sooner rather than later.  Heyman says they hope to go before cameras this summer:

“We will shoot later on this year.  The plan is to shoot late summer.”

fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-bookAs for casting, Heyman says they haven’t yet begun talking about actors in earnest:

“Early, early, early days.  Really early days.  I mean we’re at the very beginning.”

I’ll be curious to see if any American actors are cast in Fantastic Beasts given the source material’s New York City setting, since the cast of the Potter films was almost entirely from the U.K.

And with regards to the franchise nature of this new set of films, Warner Bros. already announced a trilogy with sequels to follow in 2018 and 2020, but Heyman and his team are solely focused on the first movie at the moment:

“We’re making just one film, but I believe there’s been talk about it being three.  But we’re just talking about it as one.”

I can’t imagine the other two films going forward without Heyman producing—after all, he’s been one of the primary constants in this entire series—but it’ll be interesting to see if they change up directors for each movie like they did with Potter.  Regardless, I am very much looking forward to diving back into Rowling’s world on the big screen.

Watch the portion of Steve’s interview with Heyman regarding Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them below, and look for the full video closer to the release of Paddington.

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