It’s time to return to the Wizarding World created by JK Rowling as the sequel to ‘Fantastic Beasts’ takes Harry Potter fans on a deep dive into ‘The Secrets of Dumbledore’, out in UAE cinemas this week.
In this spin-off to the original Harry Potter saga, the third instalment of ‘Fantastic Beasts’ follows the adventures of follows the adventures of Magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) who has been entrusted by Professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) to lead an intrepid team of wizards, witches and one brave Muggle baker on a dangerous mission — to take on the might of powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen).
Mikkelsen, who takes over from Johnny Depp in this Warner Bros. production, leads the charge as the scheming Grindelwald who is moving to seize control of the wizarding world. But Dumbledore has other plans, with his motely bunch of wizards and a muggle ready for battle, wands raised.
Ahead of the highly anticipated film’s release in the UAE, Law sheds light on his Dumbledore and how this adventure sets the professor up for the Harry Potter saga that eventually will seal his fate.
We recently celebrated the 20th-year anniversary of the Wizarding World and Albus Dumbledore is the only character in the films who has been there from the start. What qualities are constant and what are different from the man we first met in the Harry Potter stories?
Jude Law: Looking at Dumbledore’s journey from beginning to end, what remains constant are his abilities to see the good in people, his mischievous quality, his good humour, his enjoyment of young and innocent magic, and approach to life. I think he is revitalised by the youth around him because it’s sort of untarnished. But you get to see his regrets a little more earlier on. He’s still someone solving self-afflicted issues, someone who is still unpacking who he is in the world. There’s perhaps a quality of experience and wisdom that we see later on where those wrinkles have been ironed out.
He always seems to be a couple of steps ahead as well, right?
I think this idea that Albus Dumbledore is always a couple of steps ahead is a position he naturally finds himself in. One thing that I found very hard playing him was playing someone who is really seeing the world and the multiple dimensions and perspectives of the world and its possible outcomes all in one, effortlessly. It’s quite a hard thing to convey. Because Albus has that ability, which I suppose isolates him slightly. It can be a place of loneliness because you see everything ahead of everyone else.
What appealed to you about delving into Dumbledore’s history?
There was so much to relish in a part whose future we already know. He’s already this much-loved, admired character in folk history. To be able to go backwards and understand how he put himself together, how he worked out a young man’s issues, a young man’s problems, and understand the path he took, or didn’t take, or fought to take to get him to the man that we know he became, is a gem for an actor because you know that journey’s going to be rich. I suppose there was also something wonderful about knowing that in his heart he had strength and a goodness that he was resolving.
Did knowing his future make it easier for you or harder to develop where he came from in the beginning?
I would say the only elements that were harder were the expectations because Michael Gambon and Richard Harris had done such a wonderful job, and he had already become, as a character, so cemented and loved in people’s hearts. What was pleasant was knowing that I was getting to a place that was already appreciated.
This film also delves into the relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald. Can you expand on how what once brought them together has now turned them apart?
What brought Grindelwald and Dumbledore together at an earlier stage in their life was a like mind and a shared passion and excitement, I suppose, for what was possible with their abilities. I don’t think either had ever met a wizard who was as capable as the other. So suddenly, they were able to speak freely, think freely, and express themselves freely.
Like many relationships from our past, they then changed, as we all do when we grow up, and their paths separated. The bond that they made in the blood troth was at a very specific point when they were both, let’s say, naive, ambitious, and unexperienced, and their philosophies, therefore, evolved in very different ways, into very different directions. So there’s this huge amount of regret from Dumbledore’s perspective that he has tied himself to someone who he sees now as holding a very dark perspective and creed. But Grindelwald’s outlook doesn’t represent Dumbledore’s.
You and Mads Mikkelsen both had to convey the relationship Dumbledore and Grindelwald once had and the connection that they still have. Can you talk about working with him on this film?
So working with Mads was, as with great actors, pretty straightforward because he arrived with great ideas and having done lots of work. We spent time discussing their past with our director, David Yates, so that we were all on the same page as to what had happened. Then to be true, the scenes really played themselves and you just imbue them with the intensity and the truth that you hope can convey the underlying architecture of these people.
It seems that in this film, Dumbledore is treating Newt more like an equal. Can you talk about how their relationship has evolved?
Newt and Dumbledore’s relationship has evolved, but let’s not forget that in the first film, Newt was sent to New York on his own mission and has always been entrusted and believed in by Dumbledore. But at the same time, I guess it’s fair to say that, because Newt was a student of his, there is this teacher-pupil relationship, which you slowly see shifting to equal, but also friend.
For Dumbledore, I think, Newt’s incredible barometer of what is right and what is wrong and his natural tendency to choose what’s good is a really important element in his personality because obviously Dumbledore needs to know that someone isn’t going to sway, isn’t going to be misled and is, in real crunch moments, going to make the right choice. And with Newt, I think he just knows it’s implicit.
Can you talk about working alongside Eddie Redmayne on this second film together?
Working with Eddie is like spending time with an old friend. We worked together for the first time on the last film, but had known each other for many years and enjoy other’s company very much. He’s both great fun and very entertaining to be with, interested and interesting. And he’s also someone that takes it to another level when it comes to prep and being present and taking it seriously and creating a true environment. I like to think I’m kind of like that as well — that there’s fun, and then there’s also the work. You try and push the work as hard as you can and as far as you can because you want it to be good, you want it to be special.
Dumbledore assembles an interesting team to try and stop Grindelwald, including a Muggle.
Everybody who Dumbledore recruits for this is someone he has to trust will react in a certain way in a given moment because only Dumbledore really knows what is going to happen. Everyone else is sent out blind. So, he has to know that each of them will make the right choice, but in the right way. They also will have a different skill set.
Jacob, the Muggle, is kind of key to the whole thing. He has a sort of willful and spontaneous personality, and, as he says to him later in the story, he also has a full heart, a heart that sort of guides him. A lot of that all boils down, again, to Dumbledore being able to trust these individuals and know that they will eventually end up where he needs them to end up in order for the plan to come together.
Director David Yates has been at the helm of the Wizarding World films since Harry Potter. Can you talk about your collaboration?
Well, David is a sort of compass now of the whole Wizarding World. He’s so entrenched and has such a sort of innate sense of what’s right, whether it’s the humour, whether it’s the pathos, whether it’s the visuals, the magic, the battles. He’s the sage on the set that you lean into. He still has this very boyish enthusiasm and energy that’s very infectious.
The film spans the globe more than any of the Wizarding World films, and yet, it was all built at Leavesden. What it was like to step into these worlds, especially returning to the magical school of Hogwarts?
It’s a total dream for actors because you just step on and you don’t have to do an awful lot of imagination. It’s all there with trams and cars and shop fronts or vistas and views, whatever. And we jumped through various cities around the world at various times, and it’s just a real treat. Being on something this scale is very rewarding. It’s also a lot of fun.
Going back to Hogwarts is always very interesting because it’s full of youngsters who are wizards or witches for the day. Obviously for them, the excitement level is extraordinary, so you kind of feed off their electricity. In this film we see the streets of London. We go to Hogwarts. We go to the streets of Berlin and the Ministry at Berlin, and then we go to Bhutan in the Himalayas. So, we’re all over the place in cities, in the thick of nature, and all the sets are just extraordinary.
Don’t miss it!
‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore’ releases in UAE cinemas on April 28