Were you a Harry Potter fan as a kid?
‘I was obsessed with Harry Potter from when my dad read me “The Philosopher’s Stone”. Or “The Sorcerer’s Stone” as I first came to know it, because we’re not allowed to know as much esoteric history as you guys are.’
Did you listen to the audiobooks too?
‘Yeah, I would listen to them for, like, seven hours a day. It was an obsessive practice.’
Did you get to go to Hogwarts in this movie?
‘I constantly give the members of our cast who did get to go to Hogwarts a lot of grief for not texting me to just say, “Hey, I know this is your life and it’s everything to you so maybe you want to come see Hogwarts?” But no, no one did that.’
What was your favourite scene to film?
‘I loved being able to see the magical boulevard, the equivalent of Diagon Alley in France. It was amazing to see stores like the “Baguette Magique” store which makes me laugh in the lower belly.’
What’s a ‘baguette magique’?
Do you ever feel silly doing green-screen stuff?
‘No, I’m a silly being, so I don’t feel like any of that stuff is silly. I just play make-believe. I have more trouble being like: Okay, go away now little creature! We’re done with the scene now, creature! This is my trailer, you can’t come in here…’
Did you get to meet JK Rowling?
‘Yeah! Freaking out, dude! But also she’s so good at chilling that she charms you: I remember the reality where you were the most important author in my life but that was JK Rowling and you’re just this person who’s super-chill.’
Have people been trying to get spoilers out of you?
‘Of course. I have a lot of really devout Potterhead friends and yeah, they squeeze me. They’ve got all the torture devices.’
What are we talking?
‘You know, the one where they lower me slowly onto a wooden stake into my throat until dead. Um.. you know, choke me with my own bowels.’
Sure. If you were let loose with an invisibility cloak, where would you go?
‘I would love it if someone would take me underneath St James’s Church in Piccadilly. I’d like to say that for the record. That’s all I’ll say.’
‘I’d like to be taken down.’
Okay… Any great fan interactions?
‘I met this one excellent fan. He was at Comic Con in Cleveland. He was dressed as Credence. He had the hair but he was also channelling my very contorted performance. I stayed in it with him and I broke first!’
Did you have to get the same intense haircut for this film?
‘That would be revealing my look, honey.’
If you could create a fantastic beast, what would it look like?
‘They come out different every day. Do you have a pen? [I hand over a pen]. Do you have another pen? [Assistant hands over another pen and he starts drawing with a pen in each hand]. What we have to do is just let it tell us, you know what I mean?’
So what’s its power?
‘I don’t know yet. I mean, give me a second… It’s like a ouija board, it’s not even halfway done. Okay, so far it looks like some sort of bird with big mammary glands and it has like a furry type of wing that’s almost like a wavy fur. It has a big beak like a toucan and it’s eye has a small antenna that extends from the pupil like some sort of extra-sensory addition. It has three talons on each of its two feet but it has knobbly knees like Harry Potter and it looks like in its heart is Mount Everest and in the cave there is a god and that god is eating apple sauce.’
Wow. You should take that to JK Rowling.
‘I’ll take it to the Louvre.’
Are you going to keep that?
‘I need to.’
Can’t I keep it?
‘No, it’s mine. Make your own beast!’ [screws up drawing].