What to know about the HP prequel Fantastic Beasts
It will be 5 years since the last Harry Potter film screened in our theaters when the HP prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them premieres next year. No doubt, every wizard, witch, and no-maj have been anticipating this since then 2011. We were able to finally see some images from the film, and now we can get more info regarding the movie starring Eddie Redmayne.
1. The movie is actually about four heroes, not one. Ever since it was announced that a movie was being made loosely based on J.K. Rowling’s 2001 book, fans have naturally assumed the film was all about Newt Scamander’s adventures. And he is the star of the show. But much like how the Harry Potter books are about a trio of heroes, Fantastic Beasts is about four characters working together: Newt (Eddie Redmayne), Tina (Katherine Waterston), Queenie (Alison Sudol), and Jacob (Dan Fogler). “The assumption is Newt’s front and center, but it’s a quartet,” Redmayne told us. “So that feels like it slightly takes the [pressure] off. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.”
2. The whole film is set in 1926 New York. Originally filmmakers planned to make a globe-trotting documentary-style movie that’s more in the style of the book, which chronicled various magical creatures Newt has encountered. The creatures/beasts are definitely a huge part of the film, and their natural habitats are magically shown via Newt’s case. But the film’s setting is firmly in New York, with scenes in different iconic locations.
This means we might see the landmarks of that time, but in a newer way, including the the tallest building in the world at that time, The Woolworth Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, Grand Central Terminal, and possibly even Hermione Granger’s would-be favorite building in New York, the New York Public Library. But you won’t be seeing some of the tallest skyscrapers we have today since the Chrysler building, the Empire State building, and of course the World Trade Center, as they didn’t exist at that time.
3. Fantastic Beasts might feel more modern than the Harry Potter films — despite taking place 90 years ago! This is strange, but it makes sense when you think about it. Production designer Stuart Craig notes Fantastic Beasts feels more modern in some ways than the earlier films because it’s set in a large bustling city. The Potter movies were mostly set in an 1,100-year-old Scottish castle, with much of the cast wearing monkish robes. “So funny enough, the period movie has a greater sense of [modernity] than the modern movie that’s medieval in style,” Craig says.
4. The American wizarding community in 1926 is quite different.The wizarding community is very much underground. There’s a lot of fear of Muggle (here called No-Maj) persecution. The Salem witch trials are a major historical tragedy and there’s a new group called New Salem Philanthropic Society (a.k.a. the Second Salemers) led by Mary Lou (played by Samantha Morton) that is looking to expose the wizarding community. Instead of a Ministry of Magic, there’s a Magical Congress of the United States of America led by a wizarding president and hidden inside the very real Woolworth Building — only it’s largely hollowed out all the way to the top floor, creating a beautiful atrium of light.