Thursday evening. Leicester Square is filled with chatter from tourists, rushing Londoners, Gangnam style performers and… wizards. “Is it a Harry Potter fandom convention?” says a twenty-something guy disturbed by the long cues surrounding the Empire Theatre. And he’s almost right as there are some familiar magical characters as Bellatrix Lestrange, Luna Lovegood, a few Newt Scamanders as well as no-majs (translation from J. K. Rowling language – humans) wandering in Central London.
Warner Bros Pictures celebrated the upcoming release of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie, inviting an audience of 700, including dressed to impress fans, competition winners and media. The Q&A which was streamed globally, was attended by the members of the cast – Eddie Redmayne, Alison Sudol, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, director David Yates, producer David Heyman and THE author (and screenwriter debutante who’ll later joke that “learning how to write a script while writing a Hollywood movie is not a good experience”) J. K. Rowling.
Set in 1926, the movie, which will be the first from the franchise of five (the news was delivered by J. K. Rowling herself to the cast who didn’t hide their surprised faces), follows a magizoologist Newt Scamander collecting and building relationships with various magic beasts which he carries in his suitcase. But as Newt travels to the other side of the pond, New York, some of the creatures manage to escape and the unexpected events threaten to expose the wizarding world to no-majs and cause a war.
“Newt is an incredibly passionate guy. He’s there and he cares about them (the beasts),” said Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne admitting that there’s already some pressure building up. “A lot of pressure. I’m a Potter fan myself and seeing movies with my younger brother was like diving into a warm, cosy place,” opened the actor.
Actress Katherine Waterston, who’ll play Porpentina Goldstein, an American witch and a future love interest of Scamander gushed that she was astonished by the actor’s involvement in building the magic behind the production. “They were so genuinely interested in what each of us had to say. I got an email with five options for a wand. I picked the one I wanted, but it was too light, so they went back, fixed it. I thought, my God, I’ll have a banana split!”
Director David Yates, who gained international prominence after directing the four last Harry Potter movies joked that he can’t reveal too much about his new venture. The movie maker couldn’t hide his joy of working with J. K. Rowling again, dubbing her to be a real queen. “Generally, she’d be very supportive. She’s such a worker, it’s unbelievable. And her imagination is never ending.”
While the worldwide gross of the Harry Potter franchise reached 7.7 billion dollars, it’s too early to predict what’s in store for the new wizards in town. However, being able to see the first ten minutes of the movie (no spoilers), there’s only one thing to say – November will be magical.
Find out what’s in the suitcase in cinemas from November 18.