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David Yates' Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald begins a full year after the events of the first movie, and it's clear that things have changed in important ways for the main characters. It was a period that saw blossoming celebrity, new and deepening relationships, and more, and it's material that the lead actors had to understand in pre-production. And while some of it is and isn't canon, I got to talk with the cast all about it and the sequel's recent press day:
The domestic press day for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald was held earlier this month in Los Angeles, and while sitting down with Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Ezra Miller, Claudia Kim, Callum Turner, Dan Fogler, and Alison Sudol in paired group interviews I asked them all the same basic question: what's been going on with these characters since the last frame of Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them? Each of them gave me some great background, some of it involving material that nearly made its way into the theatrical cut.
Eddie Redmayne's Newt Scamander, for example, has seen his life change significantly. Not only has he written and published the book he was discussing in the first movie, but it has becoming a hit in the wizarding community and earned him some extreme popularity. And while things have been a bit quiet in the romance department, he does have a new relationship with his assistant, Bunty (Victoria Yeates) to whom we are introduced in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald.
Of course, if you remember the end of Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them you probably already guessed that none of this makes Katherine Waterston's Tina Goldstein very happy. Newt promised that he would return once he wrote his book, but it was a promise that was broken. Things are only made worse when a newspaper erroneously reports that Newt is engaged to his old flame, Leta Lestrange (Zoe Kravitz), which eventually leads her to start dating again (though from Waterston's description of a deleted scene, it doesn't sound like her new relationship was going to be established as being in the greatest place).
For Ezra Miller and Claudia Kim, who play Credence Barebone and Nagini, a lot of their pre-production work involved getting close to one another and creating their own shared backstory -- which helped given that Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald doesn't tell us how the characters originally met. They had conversations with J.K. Rowling about the relationship (apparently Claudia Kim's first chat happened in the bathroom), but also made up their own ideas that they used for themselves.
When it came to Jacob and Queenie, played by Dan Fogler and Alison Sudol, the narrative was essentially the material of a romantic comedy. The two characters became all-but star-crossed lovers in the first movie, given the illegality of wizard/witch-muggle/no-maj relationships, and it seemed for a minute their story was over when Jacob's memory was erased. However, the final frame of the original Fantastic Beasts suggested a reignited spark in the man's mind, and Fogler and Sudol took it from there. Together they imagined a whirlwind romance, involving passion, high risk, and magical trips to Europe.
Compared to the rest of the actors I interviewed, Calum Turner had a bit of a different job playing Theseus Scamander, who is Newt's brother and makes his debut in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald. Rather than just filling in the events of a year, he had to establish the entire backstory of his character and the key relationships in his life. Fortunately there was plenty of material available for him to do research with, and the opportunities to talk about who Theseus is with David Yates and J.K. Rowling.
These are all puzzle pieces being put together within the Wizarding World, and audiences will be able to experience the latest chapter this weekend. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald, which also stars Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Carmen Ejogo and William Nadylam, arrives in theaters Friday, November 16th -- and be sure to stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for a whole lot more of our coverage in the coming days and weeks.