The Harry Potter craze has been going on ever since the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (or Sorcerer's Stone) was published in 1997. Even though Harry has finished his terms at Hogwarts, there are still more stories to explore in this giant, magical universe. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them brings the story back to the 1920s and follows Newt Scamander’s exploits as he goes on an epic adventure to recapture all kinds of magical animals. And fans love this film just as much as the original Potter films, with it raking in more than $800 million worldwide during its theatrical run. Before you reenter the Potterverse, why not check out some interesting facts about Fantastic Beasts?
The film originates from the book of the same title, but is not a direct adaptation. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a guide book written by Newt Scamander that explores various species of fantastic beasts rather than being a complete narrative. This book, along with another in-universe book, Quidditch through the Ages, was of course actually written by J.K. Rowling. Fantastic Beasts is presented as belonging to Harry Potter, and you can find various notes and scribbles made by Harry and Ron Weasley among the pages.
At Rowling’s insistence, the main Harry Potter films sport an all-British cast, adding authenticity to the portrayal of all-British characters. Since Fantastic Beasts takes stage in America, this marks the first film in the franchise where American actors are involved. Interestingly, this doesn’t mean all actors play characters of their own nationality - Irishman Colin Farrell plays the American Percival Graves, Kentucky boy Johnny Depp plays the European Grindelwald, and almost all members of the Barebone family are played by British actors, save for Ezra Miller.
Eddie Redmayne worked out quite a bit for this movie. Not for running around catching fantastic beasts though, but for a shirtless scene showing the scars Newt has acquired due to years of working with wild animals. Sadly, the scene was cut from the final product. At least Eddie benefited from working out by getting a bit healthier, so that wasn’t all for nothing. Fans may have to look for future blu-ray releases that may or may not feature 100% more Newt shirtlessness.
This photo will probably be your only exposure to Jupiter Ascending
Redmayne was Rowling’s first and only choice to portray Newt. He didn’t even need an audition. Rowling also exclusively provided a very detailed backstory of Newt to him to help him get into the role. Amusingly, back in 2002 Redmayne auditioned for the role of Tom Riddle in The Chamber of Secrets, but was rejected after reading just one line. He also auditioned and flunked the role of Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and thought that it helped him getting to star in Fantastic Beasts, not knowing he was already the only choice.
Eddie Redmayne meets his Funko Pop self
Actors considered for various roles include:
- Michael Cera and Josh Gad for Jacob.
- Elizabeth Debicki and Kate Upton for Tina. Imagine that!
Finally, rewatch The Prisoner of Azkaban. Look for a familiar name on the Marauder’s Map.