Eddie Redmayne talks beasts, auditioning and working with J.K. Rowling in a new interview!
Just after Warner Brothers first started working on J.K. Rowling’s newest addition to the wizarding world, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them they released their first bit of casting information: Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne would play the lead character, magizoologist Newt Scamander. Newt is a British wizard entering New York City when his case of magical creatures somehow is opened, leading Newt in a chase around the city to get them back.
Last December, during the movie’s filming, Collider got the chance to visit the London set and chat with Eddie Redmayne, who is ‘an incredibly kind and sincere personality.’ And though Redmayne remained secretive about the finer details of Fantastic Beasts, he did share some insider facts about the making of the movie, including the process of acting alongside beasts that were not there, and auditioning with all of the actors who were up for the other main roles. Collider has just released this interview, only adding to our growing excitement for the film. Check out some of it below!
Eddie Redmayne talked about the first moment when it hit him that he was a part of the wizarding world, saying that he first really felt it when he went to audition with other actors:
REDMAYNE: Well, oh God, when was that moment? You know what it was? I have been cast in the film and we went to New York and was auditioning with actors who were playing some of the other parts and in the audition room, I was presented with not only a wand, but, like, that sort of prop paper of kind of extraordinary writings, all in completely authentic magic world stuff, and I was like… (pants) Watching the other actors come in as well and just because having had my own experience of being given the wand to me like, “Okay, yeah!” You know, and then watching them all do the same as well, it instantly released an inner kind of ten year old in everyone. That probably was the first one. But I think on set here, when we shot in MACUSA …which I don’t know if you guys have ever been around in there? Colleen had done such a staggering job with the costumes. There were extras everywhere with this kind of 1920s, sort of witchy vibe. And what’s amazing about the scale of the production is we come on to sort of rehearse and already there are background artists doing their [thing], and little kids being taken to be shown the Salem witches and everyone in their little outfits and it was all encompassing. That was an amazing moment, too.
Redmayne also talked about working with J.K. Rowling and how much of a help she was in developing his character:
REDMAYNE: I got to meet J.K. Rowling so I had about three or four months prepping the film. And just about a month I think before we started filming, I was here in Leavesden and J.K. Rowling came and it was this sort of brilliant or slightly odd moment in which David Yates sort of introduced her and I knew that she was only gonna be here for an hour and I think I was sort like, “Hello, nice to meet you!” And just basically grilled her for an hour she came to set the other day and I was like, “I am so sorry.” But it was so phenomenal. She’s so passionate about her characters and she has such a sense of their whole three-dimensional world and their history. I don’t know whether it’s just a paranoia from recently having played people that lived or living and sort of having all this world of research that you can go and do. But what’s great about Newt is you can just go to J.K. Rowling and she gives it all.
He then started talking about the beasts, and what it was like to film and act with something that he could not see, and the relationship Newt had with the different creatures:
REDMAYNE: Well, I’ve worked with Alex Reynolds, who I’ve worked with on Theory of Everything and The Danish Girl who is a dancer and movement coach I suppose. And we just spent a couple of months sort of investigating that. ‘Cause what was lovely is David didn’t come in and go this how it’s—he was like, “whatever,” you know, let’s make it a collaboration if you need actors to play opposite that we then, sort of, make disappear. Or puppeteers and so with each of the creatures, what was important for me was that Newt has a different relationship with them, but also that they have a relationship with each other. They all kind of live down in this case and I think he’s in some way, sort of, you know, parenting their relationship with each other. And so, we sort of played around with different ideas and so, the answer is that it varies from character to character. So, for example, Pickett, who’s one of my favorite characters, who’s a little stick man and he kind of lives in here (points to pocket). He has attachment issues, so, he always has to sort of be in my pocket. And when he comes up on to the shoulder, I started by having a puppeteer come with literally a finger puppet, feeling what that was like. And then they had a long, sort of, pole with Pickett, and made out of wire on the end and then, eventually, when we actually film he’s not there and but by now, you have a sense of him and you can play with him. And then, sometimes, like, tonight we’re doing a second unit thing with just a baboon in Central Park Zoo but the baboon’s not going to be there. I find it was much easier to work with totally nothing and to sort of improvise with yourself (laughs). I’m saying this with great confidence. It could be a catastrophe. (laughs)
You can read the rest of this interview here!
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hits theatres November 18th, and, I have to say, this interview has only increased my anticipation. The film sounds so incredibly exciting, and I can’t wait to see more of Redmayne on the big screen this November.