‘I was obsessed with this when I was a kid!’ Ezra Miller is telling me about how he used to listen to Harry Potter audiobooks for seven hours a day when he was growing up. It might sound like an exaggeration, but it’s not. The 26-year-old actor, who plays the weird but endearing Credence Barebone in the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ films, is a diehard Harry Potter fan. And he’s not alone. When I sit down with Miller and his fellow cast members – Katherine Waterston, Jude Law, Eddie Redmayne and Zoë Kravitz – all of them seem genuinely excited about stepping into the wizarding world (though none of them shares Miller’s encyclopaedic knowledge).
Whether you pored over the books endlessly as a kid (or read them covertly on the tube with the ‘grown-up’ cover) or got hooked on the films, the world JK Rowling created is an enduring and widely loved one. Even beyond the books and films, there’s an insatiable appetite for all things Potter – from the hugely popular Warner Bros Studio Tour in Watford to the wonderful ‘Cursed Child’ two-part play in the West End. It’s no wonder, then, that ‘Fantastic Beasts’ – the Harry Potter prequel (and Rowling’s screenwriting debut) – was swiftly signed up for a five-film franchise. The premise is a bit meta – it’s based on a fictional textbook (about fantastic beasts, obvs) that appears in the first Potter book, which Rowling went on to actually write under the pen name of ‘magizoologist’ Newt Scamander.
While the first film was mostly set in New York, the gang head across the Pond to Paris for the second instalment, ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’. There are some familiar faces – Waterston, Miller and Redmayne reprise their roles, while Kravitz gets some more screen time (in the first film she only appears as a moving photo). Law is the new kid on the block, playing a younger Dumbledore without a grey hair in sight.
As they return to the screen, the cast talk about mythical beasts (they’re all taken with stick-insect-like critter Pickett), green-screen silliness and getting secret plot intel from JK Rowling herself.
Check out our interviews with the cast below: