David Heyman talks about the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, including J.K. Rowling’s involvement.
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With the four stories from Pottermore building up excitement for the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, it’s not surprising that it was followed up by a feature in Total Film magazine on the production. The article is part of their “10 Coolest Movies Coming Your Way” in 2016 that we should all be excited about, including Suicide Squad and Ghostbusters. it seems to be sitting at the Number One slot of those ten films, since it graces the cover as well.
Inside, the magazine has sat down with producer David Heyman, who is responsible for bringing everything from the Potterverse to the big screen. His focus in talking about the film is to assuage those who may doubt the new films could live up to the standards set by the original franchise.
“Fantastic Beasts is very much in the spirit of the Potter books but it’s not filled with young children and their issues. I wouldn’t say it’s ‘dark’ but, as with all of Jo [Rowling]’s work, it’s not soft. There is material in all of the books that has a truth about life. Here, there’s darkness within. But there are also these creatures, and an awful lot of humour and heart – which I think will appeal to young and old alike.”
Well that sounds like the very definition of “family entertainment,” which the original Harry Potter movie series very much aimed for–and always successfully landed in.
he also emphasizes Rolwing’s heavy involvement with the film. Unlike the original franchise, she actually wrote the scripts–a first for her. And those these movies are not based upon pre-existing novels, she’s made sure they are firmly grounded in the Potterverse.
“Jo was on set and has been an incredible support to us. We’d run concepts by her, she’d give her thoughts and we’d adjust accordingly. She certainly was aware of all the lead casting choices before we finalised them.”
Speaking of the casting of the lead roles, Heyman is very bullish on Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne anchoring the first of the trilogy as Newt Scamander.
Newt is someone who communicates better with his creatures than he does with people. He’s a Brit who finds himself in the US, and the [A]merican magical universe is different [from] the British one. Eddie was our first choice. He is very good at playing characters that are out of step, as it were, and bringing to them a real heart and compassion. He has a desire to bring truth to every moment. He’s very charming and appealing to men and women alike. And he’s a timeless actor, so he fits perfectly into 1920s New York.
As for the “beasts” of the title, they are of course, CGI. Heymen says they couldn’t be done animatronically, though from the sounds of it, they did consider if they should try for that. (Not surprising, especially with Star Wars deliberately getting away from all CGI and working with the Jim Henson Company and Industrial Light and Magic for many of their creatures in The Force Awakens.) But he assures us they worked hard to make the digital believable. “We’ve done a lot of research on movement and look because we wanted to make our creatures grounded. They should seem like they really could exist, so they’re not just pure fantasy.”
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens November 18th, 2016 in theaters everywhere.