The second chapter in the Fantastic Beasts franchise and the tenth film set in the Potterverse, The Crimes of Grindelwald not only brings a French flavour to the series with its Parisian setting, but also pays a return visit to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
“There is nothing more joyous than arriving on one of these sets,” says Eddie Redmayne of returning to the role of magizoologist Newt Scamander. “It’s imagination on steroids, and you’re allowed the freedom to play in this insanely imaginative world.”
This time, however, Newt will face even greater challenges than rounding up his escaped menagerie of fantastic beasts and the threat posed by the Obscurus.
Having escaped the custody of MACUSA (the Magical Congress of the United States of America), the Voldemort-like Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) is rallying his followers to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over non-magical beings. Unable to act against Grindelwald, Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) enlists Newt’s help to thwart the dark wizard’s plans.
“I love the relationship between Newt and Dumbledore [in the sequel],” says Redmayne. “Newt is entirely his own person and part of this film is a master/apprentice thing. Newt is aware he’s being manipulated by Dumbledore, but can’t help but love him.”
Law adds that he and Redmayne were able to explore the similarities between Newt and Dumbledore within their relationship, and also notes that the younger incarnation of the Hogwarts’ headmaster is very different from the one that fans are familiar with.
“The Dumbledore we all know and love from the Harry Potter films is nearly 100 years older, so there’s a long way to go before we get to him,” he explains.
“There are secrets and aspects of his personality hinted at [in The Crimes of Grindelwald]. J.K. Rowling gave me a lot of clarity as to where Albus is at during this particular time.”
Stepping into Hogwarts for the first time proved to be a magical moment for Law. “When you have a relationship with a set or a place that has history, and you find yourself in it, it’s extraordinary,” he says.
“What was wonderful about Hogwarts was the children they cast to play the class that I teach. Their excitement and adrenaline was like stepping into an actual classroom.”
Law adds that part of the magic of joining the film was Rowling’s storytelling, and the pace with which it reveals changes in character.
“The opportunity to tell one chapter of what is to come is extraordinary for an actor. To take your time and feel you’re in it for the long game is a luxury.”
He also notes that The Crimes of Grindelwald may well be the darkest chapter to date in the Wizarding World – a statement that’s backed up by Ezra Miller, who returns in the role of Creedence Barebone for the sequel.
“This one will go even further into dark and terrifying worlds,” promises Miller, before dropping a teaser on the Fantastic Beasts themselves: “Niffler is back and may have babies…”
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is in cinemas on November 15.