Set in 1920s New York, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them follows the adventures of Newt Scamander (played by Eddie Redmayne) as he tracks down magical creatures that are on the loose throughout the city. We sat down with the main man to chat about the epic new flick.
Tell us about your character.
Newt is a self-proclaimed magizoologist. He’s loving but slightly spiky. There’s a sense that he’s a bit damaged when it comes to relationships with human beings. He gets on much better with creatures than he does with people.
How did you prepare for the role?
I met lots of people who handle animals. This one woman was taking care of an anteater who’d just been born at a safari park. When it saw her, it would crawl up into a ball, and when she tickled its belly it would open out. I don’t want to say too much, but we used that for one of the creatures.
Did you get to meet JK Rowling to discuss the script?
I actually did because it was the first time she’d written a script and I think she was cautious about what her relationship with the actor should be.
I was so in awe of her and wanted to be all ‘lovely to meet you’, but we only had an hour so i just bombarded her with questions. What’s amazing is that she’s so in love with her characters.
How did it feel when you picked up your wand for the first time?
When you get to pick up a wand, it’s like you’re a nine-year-old who’s having the best moment of his life. And you pick the thing up and you’re like ‘why does It feel so weird? What do I do with it?’. I literally got complete stage fright. It took quite a while for me to get used to it.
The Harry Potter series changed all of our lives. What impact did it have on yours?
Harry Potter was this great escape every year or two where we could just go and sort of bathe in JK Rowling’s world and just forget all our troubles.
What is it about the Harry Potter world that makes us all want to be part of it?
I think it’s the escapism that comes with two worlds living side by side. It’s like we all live our own lives and the idea that there’s a parallel world going on somewhere that you could shift into… It just heightens reality, doesn’t it, in a way that’s great for one’s mind.