I’m going to be reporting straight from the set of new film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. And unless I’m wiped out by a rogue dragon, I’ll bring you as many insider stories as possible.
But first, here’s a little background on what we know so far. You never know when a colleague, cab driver, Facebook friend or child will turn to you for an update. Be prepared.
Deep in the English countryside (alright, fine, a short train ride from King’s Cross)*, an army of actors, designers, producers, directors, builders, technicians and probably wizards are filming in a vast, rugged film set.
If you don’t know, this is a story about Newt Scamander. Newt was the wizard, adventurer and the Magizoologist who wrote the textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. It’s the greatest book on the subject of magical creatures in the wizarding world, with an introduction from Albus Dumbledore, no less, and was written entirely from experience (think of Newt as a combination of David Attenborough and Bear Grylls, but a wizard). Harry Potter and his mates studied the book at Hogwarts, but they wouldn’t have met Newt, largely because his adventures took place decades before they were born.
...On account of his not existing yet. This movie is not about Harry Potter, boy wizard. It’s set in the same wizarding world but during the 1920s – and roughly 3,200 miles South West of Hogwarts.
NOPE. Not this guy. Not this time. Catch you later, Harry.
Newt Scamander’s perilous adventures started in the US of A. He knew wizards who were educated at a school there – though J.K. Rowling has not yet revealed its name or its coordinates. She has hinted that indigenous magic had a little something to do with the founding of the school. This is the tweet J.K. Rowling teased us with at first...
Newt only meant to stay in New York for a few hours. Circumstances ensured that he remained... for the length of a movie, anyway. X— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) October 7, 2014
Eddie Redmayne! Eddie. Redmayne. Eddie John David Redmayne – that Eddie Redmayne.
The Oscar-winning, OBE-having, BAFTA-owning British actor who can sing like an angel and make freckles look like moondust scattered across his face by the gods. He won an Oscar portraying Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, our hearts as Marius Pontmercy in Les Misérables, and this part because he is one of the finest actors on the planet. Let’s see how he handles a Glumbumble, shall we?
Porpentina Goldstein will be played by Katherine Waterston. Bold and beautiful – the perfect mysterious witch, she will join Eddie on set as ‘Tina’. You might remember Katherine as Emma Harrow in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, in which she played the twin sister of an injured war veteran who wore a mask; from last year’s crime flick Inherent Vice, or the pretty risqué 2007 film The Babysitters. She’s a celebrated theatre actor with famous dramatic parents and siblings, so it’s quite possible she’s had the word ‘Action!’ ringing in her ears since childhood. We cannot wait to see her in 1920s costume.
Twenty five thousand! That’s the turnout you get when you invite any girl between eight and 12 to an open audition for a movie role this exciting. Especially when it’s endorsed so lovingly by Evanna Lynch:
And encouraged so enthusiastically by J.K. Rowling:
I'm so looking forward to meeting our Modesty! https://t.co/VzIK6vhhQP— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) July 18, 2015
Truly, if we were between the ages of eight and 12… A herd of disrespected Hippogriffs couldn’t have kept us from being there.
The role went to ten-year-old Faith Wood-Blagrove in her very first movie role, which is wonderfully exciting for her.
Colin Farrell is Graves. Ezra Miller is Credence. Alison Sudol is Queenie. Dan Fogler is Jacob. Samantha Morton is Mary Lou.
You don’t know a lot about those characters yet, but you will. Oh yes, you will. Just wait.
Right here on pottermore.com. We’ll bring you every secret, insight, interview and glimpse of a 1920s’ wizard boot that we can. Check back in with us very, very soon; you won’t want to miss a thing.
*Editor’s note: Euston, actually, but any excuse for PMC to visit the Platform 9 3/4 shop. No, you can’t get a wand on expenses.