To celebrate the release of Fantastic Beasts The Crimes of Grindelwald, Eddie Redmayne (Newt Scamander) and Katherine Waterston (Tina Goldstein) sat down to chat about their new movie. We’ve seen it, we loved it and if Harry Potter was your jam growing up, this movie gives you even more of those magical feels you first fell in love with as a child.
QUESTION: Eddie, this is not the first swing at Harry Potter. You actually auditioned to be the young Voldemort. How hard was it to not get that and how exciting was it to then get this?
EDDIE REDMAYNE: Yeah, thanks for bringing up the painful elephant in the room [laughs]. Honestly? I was at university at the time that they were starting to make those films. And they were doing a full-on search of the world for the young Voldemort, Tom Riddle. So, this was an audition that came to the university. I walked in the room. I think I said three lines and was asked to leave. So, it wasn’t like I had much of a chance. But, no, now I look back, and Jude’s the same, actually. Jude and I were commiserating with each other the other day about how basically every British actor in the world ever was in Harry Potter at some point, and we never got the invite. But now we feel like we lucked out by playing the long game [laughs].
QUESTION: In this film, we meet Newt’s brother, Theseus Scamander. You have two brothers in real life. How was it recreating that dynamic with Callum Turner, who plays Theseus?
EDDIE REDMAYNE: Weirdly, my older brother James is a bit like Theseus – and James won — James won’t find that a compliment [laughs]. He’s sort of this incredibly talented schoolboy/hero, formidable at sport, and just a wonderful, very successful human being. And there was a moment when James came to the set where I just sort of looked around the corner and found Callum and him having this sort of quite deep and meaningful conversation. I felt like saying something like, ‘Whoa whoa whoa, wait a second, step away from the vehicle.’ But the amazing thing about Callum and me, weirdly, is we grew up about a hundred meters from each other. It’s so sort of surreal that we come from the same part of London.
QUESTION: We did hear that he kissed you on the forehead in his audition.
EDDIE REDMAYNE: It got him the part! Except, what almost didn’t get him the part was the fact that he did this brilliant thing called War and Peace, a book you may have heard of.
KATHERINE WATERSTON: It’s really well written [laughs].
EDDIE REDMAYNE: BBC did an adaptation of it recently, which Callum was in. I was watching it with my wife Hannah, and when he came on screen, Hannah went, ‘Oh my God, that guy looks like you, but he’s just taller and darker and maybe more handsome.’ [Laughs]
EDDIE REDMAYNE: So when Callum was auditioning for this, David Yates said, ‘I’ve got this lovely actor who’s coming in to audition with you.” And Callum literally walked through the door, and I was like, “Of course. It’s him.” [Laughs.]
QUESTION: With such a big visual effects component in this film, what would you say was the craziest or most challenging scene for both of you to shoot?
KATHERINE WATERSTON: Actually, most of it was practical, and when we’re dealing with the creatures, they’re usually being performed by one to three amazing puppeteers. So, we’re not just staring at a spot on the wall and trying to imagine that it’s a really cool creature. We’re just looking at three dudes acting like a really cool creature. But that really helps. When Eddie was chasing the baby Nifflers, I imagined they weren’t really there. So that probably was really hard.
EDDIE REDMAYNE: That was such fun, that scene. But, basically, they were using hacky sacks. I went down like a whole YouTube rabbit hole of extraordinarily talented people who like play hacky sack games of keeping it up in the air and catching it on weird parts of their bodies, and it becomes like this weird dance. And I had that idea that catching the baby Nifflers should be like that, which is one of those lovely kind of whimsical ideas you have, but the reality of it is kind of… [Laughs.] So, I spent about four days just seeing if I could catch one of these little green hacky sacks in my pocket, but I ended up having to mime it. It was quite funny to watch if you were there because there was nothing in the air, and I just looked like I was doing some bonkers dance.
QUESTION: The Harry Potter universe is obviously iconic; everybody loves it. Do you feel like as actors you still have creative freedom with these characters, even though they’re already part of this established universe?
EDDIE REDMAYNE: The amazing thing about J. K. Rowling is that she’s one of these people who are so extraordinarily talented and sort of content in their own skin and their own imagination and brilliance; she writes these scripts which such detail, and they’re formidable. But then she hands it over to you and says, ‘Go play with it.’ So, like those tracking scenes we did, all of those things you just get to invent.
QUESTION: Out of all of the Fantastic Beasts in these films, which beast would you say is most like you in real life?
EDDIE REDMAYNE: That’s a much more interesting question than what we normally answer, which is our favorite. I think I’m probably most like Pickett, a bit needy.
KATHERINE WATERSTON: But very reliable.
EDDIE REDMAYNE: What are you?
KATHERINE WATERSTON: I mean, I wish I was like the Thunderbird.
EDDIE REDMAYNE: Yeah, noble, elegant. Interesting. Who’s the Chinese dragon, do you think? The Zouwu?
KATHERINE WATERSTON: Dan [Fogler]?
EDDIE REDMAYNE: Dan, yeah, because Dan can be incredibly strong and powerful, and then he can suddenly turn into a complete softy. Yeah, that probably is Dan. That’s a good point.
Check out Fantastic Beasts The Crimes of Grindelwald, in cinemas NOW.
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Written by Monique Renee
Usually barefoot and deep in wanderlust mode, Mon loves binging Netflix, cuddling babies and stalking through Instagram looking for boho decor inspo and hotties with man buns. You’ll usually find her on holiday, planning a holiday or thinking about holidays.
Favourite Instagram to follow: @hotdudesreading