Eddie Redmayne has a smile he reserves just for talking about Newt Scamander. You may have spied it in the featurette we released recently. It’s joyous in an almost sly way, like being Newt is too good a secret to share.
Eddie smiles like this when he tells me about the day he got to choose his wand. Each of the main actors got to choose from a shortlist of wands designed by Stuart Craig’s team.
‘I mean… the most exciting moment of this job is the moment of getting a wand. The art department comes up with these wand sketches and you just pinch yourself really aggressively and try to have a really cool face when you go: “OK, my wand choice, let’s have a look…”’
You’ve seen the wand Eddie chose for Newt. You’ve watched him point it at Dan Fogler’s character, Jacob. You’ve heard him use it to cast the Lumos Maxima spell in Hall H, when the actor leapt into the crowd at San Diego Comic-Con to help give out replicas to over 6,000 roaring fans.
It’s slender and smart-looking in a modest timber colour, with something special carved into the end that slips into Eddie’s right hand as he clutches it.
‘I liked the idea that it was very simple, Newt’s wand,’ Eddie whispers reverently, again like this whole experience of acting in J.K. Rowling’s world is a secret.
‘It’s made of organic materials. Some of the choices were fossilised, but I didn’t like the idea of the death of creatures. Not for Newt. There was something slightly sort of Mother of Pearly about this one and the simplicity of the wood, I liked that.
'He’s quite a humble guy, I think, Newt, and he’s certainly not an elaborate guy. Emotionally he is perhaps but not in his aspirations. So that was the wand I liked. But it also looked like it had been whittled, it was the sort of thing you could imagine a craftsman working on.’
Earlier this year, I caught up with junior concept designer Molly Sole on the set of Fantastic Beasts. Grasping the sketches of wand options that Eddie first saw, she gave me a few more details about his choice. ‘So Newt’s wand has this handle that is a tubular piece of shell,’ she told me. ‘I know from the Harry Potter books that the wizard has to have an affinity with the wand. It picks them. I feel like you can see traces of the wand in the wizard and the wizard in the wand...’
So now we know what happened in that ecstatic moment Eddie Redmayne was presented with a selection of wands. He chose a simple wooden wand with a piece of shell melded into the end for our Hufflepuff hero, Newt Scamander.