Young witches and wizards go to Hogwarts to hone their magical prowess. Fully-grown actors, on the other hand, don't have time for a seven-year education in spell casting, which prompted Hollywood to create the institution of "wand school." Breaking down some of his most iconic film roles in a video interview with Vanity Fair, Eddie Redmayne recalled how he didn't know how to properly wield a wand when he first signed on to play magical zoologist, Newt Scamander, in 2016's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
"When we started on the first Fantastic Beasts, there were things that were very stressful," he admitted. "Having a wand is like a childhood dream, but suddenly, you’re presented with this thing and you get complete stage fright and I didn’t have a clue what to do with it. So wand school was created, an Apparating school [was created]. This feeling where you have to disappear into the mist."
By the time production wrapped, however, Redmayne was a fully-accredited warlock and took great pleasure in seeing new cast members grapple with adjusting to their own wands in the pair of sequels that followed: The Crimes and Grindelwald (2018) and The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022).
"You became very blasé about that stuff and about the kind of everyday-ness of having a wand," he explained. "But then the joy of those films was going to watch new actors come in and be presented with their wand and watching the inner kid just reveal itself in everyone and anyone, however extraordinary the actor."
Redmayne also revealed that he fell in love with the character of Newt "from the second" he first read the screenplay. "He was eccentric, he was unique, he had extraordinary empathy, and he was passionate," the actor said. "Passion is an interesting thing; it’s a thing that’s not often celebrated. It’s quite often uncool to care."
He concluded by praising his three main co-stars: Dan Fogler (Jacob Kowalski), Katherine Waterston (Tina Goldstein), and Alison Sudol (Queenie Goldstein). "It was an amazing thing to get to work with these guys and on a scale that was unlike anything I’d ever seen. My takeaway from those movies was a wonderful group of actors and crew. Invention was just spilling out of them."
Warner Bros. originally planned to make five Fantastic Beasts movies, though diminishing box office returns, a convoluted story, and a polarizing screenwriter (Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling) may have caused the studio to rethink its strategy.
The Secrets of Dumbledore ended on a pretty finite note and even gave fans a duel between Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) and Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen), indicating that the prequel franchise will not be moving forward. With that said, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav does hope to mine the multi-billion dollar Wizarding World IP for more big screen content.
All three Fantastic Beasts movies are currently available to stream on HBO Max.
All eight Harry Potter films are now streaming on Peacock.