Fantastic Beasts Finds Its Stand-In For 1920s New York City

You don’t get much more fanatical than the fans of the Harry Potter universe. After absorbing the seven original novels, three secondary books, eight movies, 11 video games, and attractions at theme parks in England and abroad, Pottermania has yet to die down. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that a new trilogy set in the vast Harry Potter world is being prepped right now. The first in that new series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, is currently in production and just added a new location to its shooting schedule, a stand-in for 1920s New York City.

After weeks of filming at the Warner Brothers studio outside of London, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that the production will move to Liverpool, where the only non-studio scenes will be filmed. Director David Yates says he's looking forward to adding the city to the shoot.

The architecture in this beautiful city works perfectly for our film, set in 1920s New York and I know we will receive a very warm welcome.

The city best known for bringing The Beatles into the world will serve as the story's New York City setting. The movie is based on J.K. Rowling’s book of the same name, first referred to in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. In that novel, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a textbook used by students at the magical Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The book is written by acclaimed magizoologist Newt Scamander, and is a study of all the magical creatures he’s discovered in the world. Rowling also wrote the screenplay for the film.

Eddie Redmayne has taken the lead role of Newt Scamander for the movie. He’s joined by Steve Jobs actress Katherine Waterston as Tina; Colin Farrell from True Detective as Graves, Alison Sudol from the Amazon Prime series Transparent as Tina’s sister Queenie; our new big screen version of The Flash, Ezra Miller, as Credence; two time Oscar-nominee Samantha Morton as Mary Lou; and Tony-winner Dan Fogler as Jacob. The production has also given as yet unspecified roles to Sons of Anarchy’s Ron Perlman (though he's said to be playing a goblin, which is perfect), Ray Donovan’s Jon Voight, and Carmen Ejogo of Selma.

The film takes place in 1920s New York, and, well, that’s all we really know about the plot for certain. There are bound to be some fantastic beasts in the movie, though. You can’t really have a movie in the Harry Potter universe that has Fantastic Beasts in the title and not have some awesome creatures filling the place with weirdness. 

The book that the film is based on mentions something like a whopping 85 beasts. That’s a lot of special effects to round out a movie. I can imagine that the streets of Liverpool as old-time New York should be easy to fill with centaurs, several types of dragons, acromantulas, fairies, ghouls, manticores, and more. People will run through the city screaming as Newt Scamander and his friends try to reason with/magic away all manner of creepy crawlies in order to keep the world safe. It all sounds like good fun, even for non-Potter people. If Liverpool can help bring a little Harry Potter style magic back into theaters, so be it.

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Yennefer's apprentice, Gilmore Girl; will Vulcan nerve pinch pretty much anyone if prompted with cheese...Yes, even Jamie Fraser.