Harry Potter author JK Rowling never made a secret of the fact that, while she was writing, she always pictured master magician and Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore as gay. This side of the old wizard's personality was never made clear in the books or the original run of movies, to the disappointment of some. Could the promised sequel to Rowling's new movie, 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them', remedy that?
We already knew that 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' - which is set in 1920s New York and follows magical naturalist and Hogwarts pupil New Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) - would be just the first of five movies. We also knew that Dumbledore would make an appearance in the first sequel, though we've no idea how big a role he'll have, or who'll be playing him (though we reckon Benedict Cumberbatch could be the perfect choice). Albus will be a younger man in this era - somewhere in his 40s, by our calculations - and less caught up in his work, so he'll presumably have more time to dedicate to personal matters.
'You will see Dumbledore as a younger man and quite a troubled man,' Rowling told a promotional press conference yesterday. 'We’ll see him at that formative period of his life. As far as his sexuality is concerned, watch this space.'
And in an interview with Time Out, Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts producer David Heyman told us that themes of tolerance and compassion run through JK Rowling’s writing. 'Intolerance and the way people are stigmatised run through the films,' he said. 'The themes of intolerance and repression are as relevant today as they’ve ever been. The need for kindness and community, and embracing people who are sometimes viewed as ‘other’, it’s a timeless story.' Bravo, Mr Heyman, we couldn't agree more.
'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' is out on Nov 18, and don't miss our exclusive first-look review on Time Out Film this Sunday.