Eddie Redmayne talks Beasts: Scamander has "been damaged by human beings"
The time is nearing for audiences to return to the wizarding world, and as die-hard fans dust off their robes, prepare their wands and look back on their time in high school with sadness, many who pay close attention to all things movie-related are eagerly waiting for the newest news on FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM. And as one of those people, I would just like the say thank The Glorious Fish Monster in the Clouds for Eddie Redmayne. The man has been the main harbinger of behind the scenes info on the movie, without which we would all be wandering a hazy void.
Now he's back with more goodies, and in an interview EW talked about many aspects of the film including J.K. Rowling’s passion, the talent of director David Yates, the many fantastic beasts and, of course, the character of Newt Scamander (Redmayne).
J.K. Rowling has a staggering imagination to the thoroughness of the world. There were so many elements to Newt. I met her once, and she could talk back through everything, every intricacy. You’re not playing a real character, but in J.K. Rowling’s mind, [Newt is] entirely three-dimensional, and you can talk to her about what his life was like.”
One of the wonderful things about the script is when you read it, it’s not just what the characters say, it’s the stage directions and descriptions in between. You have to read each thing; you can’t just skim it. When I met her, our instincts were pretty similar; it was just little details of his background that she was particularly helpful with.”
One of the most unique aspects of the film will undoubtedly be the beasts themselves. And we aren’t talking about a normal dog and pony show here. F@ck dogs and f@ck ponies. Redmayne names two beasts that put those overrated clowns to shame:
The Niffler — they have this wonderful love-hate relationship. It’s just incredibly aggravating and wonderful at same time. He’s a complete nightmare, yet Newt gets off on his playfulness and single-mindedness. And the Bowtruckle, Pickett, I love him. There are many bowtruckles in the film, but Pickett has attachment issues. Newt knows he shouldn’t have favorites, but he loves Pickett.”
As for the character of Newt Scamander, Redmayne describes him as if he would probably be the kid at school who didn’t have many friends, and who probably smelled like cats. But that’s what makes him interesting:
He’s a man with a passion, and his passion is animals. His mother bred hippogriffs, and it’s the world he’s most comfortable in. He’s not particularly comfortable with human relationships. He’s comfortable in his own skin, but he disconnects with people. People seem to misunderstand him, and he doesn’t know why, but he’s also not particularly interested in why. He has his own relationship with his animals.”
Newt’s been damaged by human beings, and at the beginning of the film, he’s someone that’s pretty content in his own company and the company of the beasts. He enjoys his solitude, and he’s also spent a year out in the field. So he really hasn’t had to deal with people.”
And Redmayne didn’t just go full method actor when it came to his wand, either:
I had a few months to prepare. I had never done a film of this scale, and I don’t have a particularly lot of imagination, and there’s a lot of interaction with animals and fantastic things and working with puppeteers. How does one go about prepping for that? Going out to these amazing zoos, to parks, and going into cages with animals and meeting their keepers and hearing what their lives are. I spent a day or two with a gentleman who lives in the forest, and tracking is his thing. And it’s about using all of your senses — from smell to sight to peripheral vision to sound — and knowing things like using plants for antidotes.”
As for Yates (with BEASTS being his fifth outing in the HARRY POTTER world) Redmayne brought up an encounter with a particularly important actor from the POTTER series, who shares Redmayne’s affection for the filmmaker:
I bumped into Ralph Fiennes, and he was asking who was directing, and I said David Yates. Ralph said that what’s extraordinary is amongst all the huge scale of the operation is that Yates has an incredibly acute eye for every single detail of performance. He’s an actor’s director, and that was lucky to know.”
Other than ROGUE ONE, this is the movie I’m most excited for this year. Sure, franchise spinoffs and/or prequels don’t usually have the best track record with fans (THE HOBBIT trilogy, STAR WARS prequels), but something about this one seems like it’ll work. Maybe it’s the involvement of Rowling herself, who is bringing the same passion of the HARRY POTTER stories to a new story. Whatever it is, BEASTS has proved you don’t need to reboot a crappy 90’s sitcom to feel excited like a kid again.
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