It's been five long years since the Harry Potter franchise came to a close with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2. Later this year, fans will get to explore a much different part of this wizarding world with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, arriving in theaters November 18, which is set in America, 70 years before the events of the first Harry Potter story. The plot follows Eddie Redmayne's Newt Scamander, who would go on to write the Fantastic Beasts book that Harry and his classmates used at Hogwarts. Today, we have new details about Newt himself.
Entertainment Weekly caught up with Eddie Redmayne, who shed some new light on this intriguing character. We've always known that he is a magizoologist, whose travels take him to New York City, where some of his fantastic beasts manage to escape. Eddie Redmayne revealed in this new interview that Newt got his love of animals from his parents. Here's what he had to say below.
"He's a man with a passion, and his passion is animals. His mother bred hippogriffs, and it's the world he's most comfortable in. He's not particularly comfortable with human relationships. He's comfortable in his own skin, but he disconnects with people. People seem to misunderstand him, and he doesn't know why, but he's also not particularly interested in why. He has his own relationship with his animals."
Back in November, when production was under way, seven magical creatures were revealed to be featured in this movie, including the Niffler, Merpeople, Ashwinder and more. That story didn't mention the hippogriff, but that doesn't mean we won't see one of these majestic creatures in Fantastic Beasts, who were first introduced on the big screen in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. When asked what Newt's favorite beasts are, Eddie Redmayne revealed his top two creatures.
"There are two favorites. The Niffler - they have this wonderful love-hate relationship. It's just incredibly aggravating and wonderful at the same time. He's a complete nightmare, yet Newt gets off on his playfulness and single-mindedness. And the Bowtruckle, Pickett, I love him. There are many bowtruckles in the film, but Pickett has attachment issues. Newt knows he shouldn't have favorites, but he loves Pickett."
When asked about Newt's least favorite beast, Eddie Redmayne reveals he doesn't have a least favorite, and when pressed to reveal how many beasts can fit in his magical case, he wouldn't offer a specific number. When the second trailer dropped in April, it was revealed that Newt Scamander was actually kicked out of Hogwarts for "endangering human life with a beast," despite Albus Dumbledore strongly protesting his expulsion. Unfortunately, he wouldn't shed any light on Newt's expulsion, but he did talk about what fans may be surprised by in this movie.
"One of the things that I found quite extraordinary about the script when I read it is that it's there are moments that feel like a thriller. There is a dark aspect to it. There is a kind of comedic quality to it, and sort of romance. We have all these different genres, and yet somehow J.K. Rowling has managed to weave them together. I think it's surprising about how moving it is. All I have when I read scripts is that instinct, and I was really moved by it. So that should hopefully be surprising. And now I just ruined the surprise [laughs]."
We know that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will set up a new trilogy, with the second movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2 arriving in 2018, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 3 hitting theaters in 2020. Very little is known about how the timeline will be established, and if the sequels will bridge the 70-year gap between the first Fantastic Beasts and the first Harry Potter stories. When asked what Harry Potter character he'd most like to interact with, Eddie Redmayne had this to say.
"To meet in a future film? That's really an interesting question. I think a Newt and Ron scene would be quite enjoyable. I think those guys would find each other quite intriguing. Ron and Newt would have quite a good time. I'm not sure a huge amount would be achieved."
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens in 1926 as Newt Scamander has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident...were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt's fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds. Eddie Redmayne is joined by a supporting cast that includes Katherine Waterston}, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Ron Perlman, Carmen Ejogo, Jenn Murray, Faith Wood-Blagrove and Colin Farrell. Stay tuned for more updates on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, as we get closer and closer to the November 18 release date.