Pottermore Talks to Fantastic Beasts Actor Eddie Redmayne

He’s already made a big splash on the Hollywood scene, and he’s only 34 years old. Our friends over at Pottermore sat down for a one-on-one chat session with Fantastic Beasts’ leading man Eddie Redmayne.

Make no mistake about Eddie Redmayne; he’s definitely a method actor. As our friends over at Pottermore discovered, the 34-year-old Oscar winner went above and beyond to prepare for his portrayal of Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Plus, he’s a Harry Potter fan himself, which only adds to his (and our own) excitement.

When Redmayne learned he had the role, the first thing he did was have a one-hour sit down talk with J.K. Rowling herself, in order to delve deep into Newt’s head. “There was no small talk. I just said, ‘Right, tell me about Newt.'” How adorably British of you, Eddie!

Photograph by Matthias Clamer

Rowling always has a way with words, so Redmayne says it was easy to draw upon his characfter just from the screenplay. “You start by finding as much as you can on the page. You know that Newt has spent a year in the field, so you try and work out what that year would have been like.” He even gave a backstory to some scars his character has, like a wrist scratch from a niffler battle!

Director David Yates gave Eddie free reign to explore the character, so he jumped right into Newt’s animal taming abilities. “I went on a tracking course for a day, and this guy showed me how to live in the wild.” All that know-how translated into how Newt himself would track these wild, magical creatures, and what techniques would be best.

Redmayne spent a lot of time at an English zoo in order to see how trainers interact with animals in their care. “It was really about working out the relationship Newt had with each of the animals, and it’s not a human relationship,” he says, “Those animal idiosyncrasies were quite fun.”

GIF image via Warner Brothers

Even though Redmayne wasn’t working with actual Bowtruckles and Occamys, he worked with actors and puppeteers in greenscreen suits to get the shots.

Another bit of behind-the-scenes magic is in Newt’s wardrobe. Veteran costume designer Colleen Atwood made Mr. Scamander’s pants too short and his coat too tight. That helped dictate even more of the character. “There’s something quite compact about him. Newt’s a compact guy and that helped me find the way he moved,” Redmayne says.

Redmayne’s enthusiasm for his character choices is certainly not missed on anyone who enjoyed the film. There’s four more films on the way, and we just can’t wait to see what else he brings to Mr. Newt Scamander!