Family, nostalgia, love, and life. These are four of the many topics that come up in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, which premieres in April.
The cast and crew all joined up for a virtual press conference via Zoom on Monday morning. In attendance were Director David Yates, Producers Tim Lewis and David Heyman, Eddie Redmayne (Newt Scamander), Jude Law (Albus Dumbledore), Mads Mikkelsen (Gellert Grindelwald), William Nadlyam (Yusaf Kama), Victoria Yeates (Bunty), Dan Fogler (Jacob Kowalski), Jessica Williams (Eulalie Hicks), and Alison Sudol (Queenie Goldstein).
Due to the nature of the conference, all questions from the press were submitted in advance. The 45-minute conversation covered a wide range of questions, but everything came down to two main topics: nostalgia and family.
Harry Potter Then: Let’s Talk About Nostalgia
Since this is a prequel series, there were multiple questions about the nostalgia of returning to Hogwarts in this film. Yates, upon getting asked what he loved about continuing this story in lieu of the 20th anniversary of The Sorcerer’s Stone, (or as the UK folks know it, The Philosopher’s Stone), stated that “these stories bring a collective together” and that in this story he wanted it to feel like a treat to everyone who watches it.
Both Redmayne and Williams were asked about what it was like to enter iconic sets from the Harry Potter films. Both expressed similar emotions and quoted having a “pinch me” moment. Williams said that it was overwhelming and that she “wanted to cry seeing all the kids in robes,” and how she had chills thinking about if third grade her had known she’d be there. Redmayne also spoke about the emotions of being in the Hogshead and Hogsmeade. He said it was amazing and he had to “pinch myself walking into the Great Hall.”
Law also mentioned that he watched the films over and over in preparation for this role and that “the opportunity to fill in gaps and explore his [Dumbledore’s] character” contributed to his accepting the part. Clearly the world of Harry Potter means as much to the cast and crew even after all these years… ”Always.”
Secrets of Dumbledore Now: Family
Whenever a franchise has multiple films under its belt, it can be tricky to jump in as a newcomer. This was the case with Mads Mikkelsen. He came in to Secrets of Dumbledore as Grindelwald, replacing Johnny Depp. So, the question arose asking him what it was like to enter into this world. “You can only hope they will adopt you,” he responded. Mikkelsen continued to speak about how it was a fast process and how everyone really became a family.
Mikkelsen was not the only one to speak about the family component. Producer David Heyman spoke about the movies’ big theme, the “family you make” versus the one you are born into. Family came up a lot in the conference, as the characters’ relationships expand and change in this film compared to the prior two films.
The Future of the Franchise
Although little is known about a fourth installment, Redmayne was asked if they know the whole story or just the one they are currently working on. He responded saying that sometimes they may know bits and pieces, but mostly they just speculate and hear rumors. He stated he only knows about the current film’s story and not what’s going to happen in the future. This did not confirm or deny the future of the franchise, but it still leaves the future open to more wizarding adventures.
As I stated above, these films hold a special place for many people and provide many lessons to viewers and those who make them. My favorite bit from the conference was when asked if he’s learned anything personally from playing Newt, Redmayne said “I adore Newt. I love that he’s incredibly empathetic…looks for good…happy in the company of creatures,” and then quoted the first film where his character says “Worrying means you suffer twice.” This is a quote that many can identify with, especially after these past two years.
You can see Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore in theaters on April 15th.