When Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them came out last year, it looked like a barrel-scraping side-adventure about the bumbling Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) chasing an escaped zoo around Jazz Age New York.
However, there wasn’t much else on at the cinema, so I asked to see Fantastic Creatures. Oops. My review boiled down to “Wow how hot is Colin Farrell?!” but I could see it was the start of a story that promises to tap into the richer HP mythology.
Last month, a cast photo from the sequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald gave us our first look at Jude Law’s young(er) Dumbledore, alongside Johnny Depp as the dark wizard Grindelwald.
Filmmakers behind the billion dollar franchise were stunned that the online response focused on Depp and allegations of domestic abuse, prompting director David Yates to release a statement via his agents Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs.
“Duh, he’s literally playing Wizarding Hitler, like literally,” shrugged Yates. “Let’s hope nobody takes a pop at Eddie Redmayne and accuses him of drop-kicking a Niffler. Now that’d be a real PR nightmare!” he laughed.
Colin Farrell – who played Grindelwald in disguise before Newt unmasked him – was very popular in the role. Described as having an “air of triumphant trickery” in Deathly Hallows, Grindelwald sounds like prime Johnny scenery-chewing potential, but have they not seen Farrell’s over-the-top Bullseye in 2003’s Daredevil?
There are worse things than being magically stuck looking like Farrell, while Johnny’s Grindelwald resembles an older version of Kiefer Sutherland in The Lost Boys.
In Deathly Hallows we learned that the teenage Grindelwald’s friendship with Dumbledore ended in a fight that killed the latter’s sister. Only when the books were finished did Rowling offer more insight to this tragic backstory; Dumbledore was gay and had terrible taste in wizards.
It might sound like the Grindelwald/Dumbledore relationship will blast poor old Newt off the screen, but the magizoologist will hopefully have an interesting dynamic with his war hero brother, Theseus, who is married to Newt’s former (I’m going to go with unrequited) love, Leta Lestrange, played by Zoë Kravitz.
Alongside Newt, also back from the first movie are Ezra Miller as the Smoke Monster, Alison Sudol and Katherine Waterston as the charming Goldstein sisters, and comedian Dan Fogler as No-Maj Jacob. I do hope his bakery is doing well.
I watch things like this to see what talented actors do with their characters, and I love the cast for this movie (even without Farrell), so I’m sure I’ll be catching Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald when it’s released on 16 November 2018.