It’s hard to believe it’s been over 10 years since the final Harry Potter movie debuted in theaters. And since then, we’ve seen the Wizarding World expand significantly. With sites like Pottermore, upcoming games like the highly anticipated Hogwarts Legacy, and of course the Fantastic Beasts film franchise, we know (for better or worse) the Hogwarts Express is just going to continue chugging along, as the stories continue.
Here we are now at the third installment in the Fantastic Beasts saga, and we find ourselves finding out more than ever before. In fact we were fortunate enough to get an invite to the exciting press conference for the film, where the cast and crew of the film had much to say about the Secrets of Dumbledore!
The first question for the group was for Dumbledore himself, Jude Law.
Q: Albus Dumbledore has been with us from the start of the Wizarding World over 20 years ago. In this film how has he changed, and which of his qualities do you think are consistent with the Albus we know and love?
LAW: See, it’s not a process of change, it’s more of a process of regression, I suppose. And one of the joys that David really allowed me to investigate was rather than feeling the weight of the brilliant performances of Michael Gambon and Richard Harris was to really go back and see he’s not the fully formed Dumbledore of the Harry Potter books and films. He’s a man still finding his way, still confronting and resolving his demons. And that’s what I mean by regression… in this film in particular he’s facing the past and himself and his own guilt. But if there was a quality that links him, it’s his mischievousness, his humor, and his belief in people. He sees the positive. He believed in Draco. He believed in Tom Riddle. He sees the potential good. And that’s something he’s always had.
The next question was for magizoologist, Newt Scamander, aka Eddie Redmayne.
Q: Eddie, in this film, it seems that Dumbledore is treating Newt more like an equal, giving him a position of leadership within the team that he assembles. Can you talk about their relationship and how it evolves, and what it’s been like working with Jude on a second film?
REDMAYNE: I love the Newt-Dumbledore relationship. For me, what I love is that it’s got that complexity of sort of master and apprentice, but to evolve throughout the movies to something almost fraternal, like an older brother/younger brother [relationship]. And there’s a moment in this film where Newt takes it upon himself to see the vulnerability in Dumbledore and tries to pass on a moment of wisdom to him… what I love about Newt is that fundamentally he’s an introverted guy, and he’s most comfortable with his creatures and in his own world. But Dumbledore has seen a quality in him that has the potential for leadership, albeit in an unconventional way. And this film, what I love about this movie is that it’s a wizarding heist movie in which this group of outsiders all band together, all of us are unconventional and all of us are outsiders, and their leader is unconventional. And there’s a kind of wonder in that. And as far as working with Jude is concerned, I adore this man. He was a friend before we started working together. And one of the real joys in working on a series of films is that you get to push things. You get to feel so comfortable working with each other that you can push boundaries.”
Next up was Dan Fogler, reprising his role as the incomparable fan-favorite, Jacob Kowalski.
Q: When we first see Jacob in this film, it’s clear he and his bakery have fallen on hard times. Can you talk about where he is at the start of this movie?
FOGLER: Yeah. He kind of reflects the times in a lot of ways. We’re headed into the Great Depression. And he’s extremely down on his luck, and it seems like he’s in this constant state of loss. He’s lost his love, he’s lost his appetite, he’s losing his bakery, he’s losing his mind. So that’s when you see him. He’s very sad when you first see him. But he holds that glimmer of hope that Queenie’s going to come back. He’s hallucinating. And then Lally comes, and offers him a chance to come back and join the adventure again. And he does it all for his love. That’s his motivation.
The next question was for newcomer Jessica Williams, playing Ilvermorny professor, Lally Hicks.
Q: Tell us a bit more about Eulalie Hicks?
WILLIAMS: Yeah. Professor Eulalie Hicks is a Charms professor at Ilvermorny… She is a brilliant witch, who is a good teacher who went to school with Queenie and with Tina at the same time. And I think she’s really good at seeing into the heart of people. And the heart of the matter… She’s really good at defensive magic, and Dumbledore recruits her to help him deal with his bad ex. And I think this is a good person to call for something like that, and I think she’s someone who, in this situation, trusts Dumbledore, even though she doesn’t know how it’s going to play out.
Stepping into the role originated by Johnny Depp, Mads Mikkelsen was next for questions.
Q: You portray one of the most powerful dark wizards of his age, and time — Gellard Grindelwald. What was it like to enter this world and how did you approach the character?
MIKKELSEN: Yeah, I was thrown into it a little later than the rest of the gang. They’d done two films and were halfway through when I joined the party. It’s a family business and you just hope that they adopt you. And they did. Everybody, the whole gang was fantastic… if they were the family [David] is the godfather and he’s done this so many times, and he makes everyone feel at home. So my journey was fast and swift, but I felt at home right away.
Returning wonder, Alison Sudol, was then asked about Queenie’s journey in the franchise and this film.
Q: Everything about Queenie has changed since we first met her. What can you share about her present circumstances?
SUDOL: It’s difficult because I can say so little. But at the end of the second movie, we see Queenie makes a really shocking decision… but if you follow through the film and really think about it, she’s in one unfortunate circumstance after another because of the way the Wizarding World operates and the prejudice. And really, all she wants to do is be with the person she loves. But the narrowmindedness of the world she lives in puts her in a really vulnerable position where somebody who’s really manipulative can tell her what she wants to hear, and that’s going to have an impact. At the start of this film we find her in a world that’s really different from any world we’ve found her before. She’s also being utilized for this tremendous power she has that she’s either had to hide in the past or made to feel guilty about. And there’s something interesting in that, in being a person who hasn’t actually had to live fully as they are. And a lot of young women can relate to that as well. What happens when someone sees that thing inside of you. That burning part of you that nobody else sees. So she’s in a tricky, interesting position. We don’t know where she’s going to go, and who she is, and how she’ll move forward… but she’s made a decision where she can’t actually [object to Gellart Grindelwald].
The next question was for William Nadylam, reprising his role as Yusuf Kama, from the previous film.
Q: William, a lot happened with your character in the previous story. Can you talk about Yusuf and where we find him in this film?
NADYLAM: A lot happens to Yusuf. People seem to want to take things out of him. Whether it’s Newt trying to take things from his eye, or Grindelwald trying to take things from his head. I don’t know what is the message there. But still. Yusuf is someone who is motivated by pain and vengeance. And that’s a recurring theme… talking about humanity and what motivates us, he has been pursuing vengeance for the person who has caused the demise of his family, and realized he was chasing the wrong target. But fortunately enough, he finds his sister. But she dies, and is burned right in front of my eyes. So this is Yusef Kama… so when we find him again, something beautiful happens to him… Dumbledore has provided him with a mission. He’s part of an army, and he’s provided with one of the most beautiful gifts: a family. A family led by Newt. And a purpose.
The next two questions were for Victoria Yeates, who plays scene-stealer, Bunty; Newt’s loyal assistant.
Q: Bunty has always played a key role in Newt’s world. But this time she really steps out of the shadows. Where do we find her in this film?
YEATES: She’s just been given a more important role. She grows in confidence. She would do anything for her beloved Newt. Anything! You see her step out of the shadows more and Dumbledore gives her a mission. Without giving too much away.
Q: Ultimately what are Bunty’s feelings for Newt, and why aren’t the messages going through?
YEATES: Why isn’t the message getting through? Because she’s obsessed I suppose. She idolizes him. She’s watched him most of her life growing up at Hogwarts. She loves beasts, and is happier in the basement with beasts. And she wants to be like him. Be as good as him. And so there’s a lot of different levels of love. A lot of respect. And it happens doesn’t it? Unrequited love. I mean it has been eight years. But I hope she’ll get there. I hope she’ll branch out at some point. But she just needs more time than other people. She’s happy in his shadow.
We love Bunty! And we all absolutely hope she’ll get there too!
And we hope you’ll get to a theater to see Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, opening this Friday, April 15!