"HE'S A WEIRD ANOMALY OF THINGS"
EDDIE REDMAYNE is Newt Scamander
Beyond being a renowned magizoologist, just who is Newt Scamander?
He’s a nutty character, and slightly spiky. He gets on with his creatures better than human beings. There’s a slight sense that he’s a bit damaged in his relationship with human beings. But through this film he begins to start making connections. He’s a weird anomaly of things; like being quite physically awkward while also being incredibly agile and capable. I love him.
Did JK Rowling discuss the role with you beforehand?
I was lucky enough to meet her just before we started filming. At that point I was so in awe of her. I wanted to be all, “Lovely to meet you!” but we only had an hour so I just went, “So, Newt?” You can ask her anything. Any detail from the smallest nuance. She is so in love with her characters. By that point I’d done so much work on who [Newt] was, and it was two people just talking at each other. It was so helpful.
Was there anything about Newt that you specifically wanted to nail?
Yeah, when [JK Rowling] describes Newt walking through the streets of New York, she describes him as walking to his own rhythm. There’s a Buster Keaton vibe quality, she wrote. So I actually decided to work with this guy called Alex Reynolds who’s a dancer by trade. Newt has a unique physicality that was very specific to him.
Did having your very own wand live up to the hype?
It was so weird. Because when you get to pick up a wand, your inner nine‑year‑old is having the best moment of his life. “Oh my god. I get to use one of these!” And then you pick one up and go, “Oh. Why does this feel so weird? What do I do with it?” I got complete stage fright!