Newt Scamander and Tina Goldstein meet in New York City in 1926. He’s a British Magizoologist, she’s an American former Auror. The events that throw them together, along with Tina’s sister Queenie and a No-Maj called Jacob Kowalski, have potentially enormous consequences for the whole wizarding world.
It’s a tense time, to say the least, and the pair form a bond during the whirlwind of events. Actress Katherine Waterston hints that there’s a particular chemistry between Newt and Tina, one that she and co-star Eddie Redmayne worked hard on throughout their shoot.
The film spent a relatively long time in production, but the plot takes place over the course of a few days. The actors had to keep that in mind each time they stepped in front of a camera.
‘One of the challenges in shooting something over six months that takes place over a few days is keeping that electricity between characters, as if they’ve just met,’ Katherine says. ‘You want to strike a balance between the moments of connection and the moments of suspicion.
'I don’t think it’s too theatrical a notion that Newt and Tina could bond so quickly, because a lot happens. When you’re thrown together with someone in a high-stakes environment, you tend to feel quite close to them even after a little bit of time.’
Katherine stops for a moment, clearly undecided about how much else to say. Does that mean Tina might feel something more than friendship for Newt?
‘Sometimes you know someone for three days and it’s amazing and you think, “Hey I actually know you.”’ Katherine waggles a finger in the air with a smile. ‘You don’t, ladies! You don’t know them yet, but you can feel like you do.’
Keeping that just-met chemistry going is especially challenging, when you think about how much there is to contend with on the set of a film like this one. But it sounds like having the right scene partner can make all the difference.
‘There’s a lot to juggle with these movies. There are green screens and puppeteers holding sticks with ‘X’s on them, that are supposed to be a big monster’s face. Then there’s the pre-vis stuff where they show us how it’s all going to look and we have to bend ourselves into that environment,’ says Katherine, wide-eyed. ‘It can feel overwhelming and a lot to juggle. It is such a great luxury to have a partner like Eddie, who is consistently focused and grounded and can’t lie.
‘Eddie’s a very honest performer. I think he’s a really responsible actor. His approach is to give the scene what it needs and what it’s asking for, rather than something a bit more selfish. All his work is about making a complete scene, making a scene all that it can be.
'He’s almost like a director, in a way. It’s egoless really, is what I’m trying to say. It is always a joy to work with people like that, because you spend a lot of time together. He makes it fun, he makes it easy.’
Katherine smiles again, this time conspiratorially. It’s clear that, for now, she’s not going to reveal anything more about Tina’s relationship with Newt...