A Minute With: 'Fantastic' Newt Scamander (aka Eddie Redmayne)

By Jill Serjeant
Reuters
Actor Eddie Redmayne attends the premiere of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” in Manhattan, New York
Actor Eddie Redmayne attends the premiere of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

By Jill Serjeant

NEW YORK, (Reuters) - With his peacock-blue coat, bow tie and battered suitcase, Eddie Redmayne stars as J.K. Rowling's latest magical hero in "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them."

Redmayne spoke with Reuters ahead of the movie opening on Friday about his favorite beasts and his hopes for his character, Newt Scamander. The following are edited excerpts.

Q: How much of Newt came from you and how much from J.K. Rowling?

A: Newt was wonderfully well defined on the page and then it was about hearing where Newt came from in her imagination. She wrote that Newt walks his own walk and that he has a Buster Keaton-eseque quality. So I met a man who tracks animals for a living, and he said that if you are trying to be absolutely silent, you turn your feet out. So I brought in that open-toed stance, which was great until I had to do stunts running like that and I kept pulling muscles.

Q: Do you know if you're going to be in all five of the "Beasts" movies?

A: No, I don't. The whole production is so top-secret that at nights our scripts would get locked up and put in a safe. Jo has kept the story very close to her.

Q: How do you feel about becoming a young adult icon, like Daniel Radcliffe's Harry Potter?

A: I don't really know. How does one prepare for that? There's nothing you can do really. A few more people ask for selfies and that's about it. I think?

Q: What was it like acting against the computer-generated beasts?

A: With the erumpent, we had some of the guys who worked on "War Horse" make a huge puppet that I rehearsed with for a few weeks. Then when it came to shooting, it would go away and I would have the sense memory.

Q: Did you have a favorite beast?

A: I think Pickett was my favorite. He has got attachment issues and he just wants a bit of a hug. He is bullied by the other bowtruckles.

Q: Where would you like Newt's character to go in the second film?

A: You get a sense when you see Leda Lestrange's photograph that this girl has clearly had an effect on him, so that would be interesting to see. Also you hear that Newt has spent a year out in the field in Equatorial Guinea. I would love to see him out with his sleeves rolled up, wrangling some of these extraordinary creatures.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)