Harry Pot­ter spinoff Fan­tas­ticBeasts seeks to cast its spell on China

China Daily (Canada) - - NEWS CAPSULE - By CHI­NADAILY

Harry Pot­ter’s mag­i­cal world nev­erseemed so close to China as it does to­day.

Fan­tas­tic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a spinoff from the film fran­chise, will hit the main­land on Fri­day, a week af­ter its Bri­tish open­ing.

The trail­ers for China have re­ceived mil­lions of “clicks” on­line, and Ed­die Red­mayne and Kather­ine Water­ston, the lead stars, made news last week dur­ing their pro­mo­tional tour in Bei­jing.

David Yates, the new film’s di­rec­tor and also the di­rec­tor of the last four Harry Pot­ter films, said at a Bei­jing event on Nov 18 that a mag­i­cal creature from China will show up in the se­quel of Fan­tas­tic Beasts and Where to Find Them. A to­tal of five in­stall­ments have been planned in this film se­ries.

From his point of view, the up­com­ing film is a “fresh start” for J.K. Rowl­ing, who for the first time has worked as the scriptwriter for a film based on her fa­mous book se­ries.

“It’s very im­por­tant for her to ex­tend (the mag­i­cal) world with new char­ac­ters, to make ev­ery­thing feel fresher and dif­fer­ent,” Yates says.

“She’s cre­at­ing char­ac­ters that are brand new, just as much fun, just as much mean­ing­ful, as the char­ac­ters she cre­ated in Harry Pot­ter,” he adds.

The film is adapted from a name­sake book, orig­i­nally pub­lished by Rowl­ing in 2001. But this time, she has de­vel­oped the story for the big screen.

While the sto­ry­line of the film has been newly cre­ated, it is set in the 1920s, 70 years be­foreHarry Pot­ter’s time. It is not a pre­quel or se­quel but an expansion of the­samemag­i­cal world.

The pro­tag­o­nist in the new film, played by the youngestever Os­car win­ner Red­mayne, is Newt Sca­man­der — the au­thor of a homonymic book. It is a text­book on “ma­g­i­zo­ol­ogy” at Hog­warts School of Witchcraft and Wiz­ardry, which records the habits of 75 kinds of fan­tas­tic beasts and their breed­ing meth­ods. Here, the bound­aries be­tween re­al­ity and fan­tasy come crash­ing.

The char­ac­ter grad­u­ates from Hog­warts and comes across the mag­i­cal crea­tures whomhe pro­tects as they travel to­gether. He car­ries the crea­tures around in a suit­case. Dur­ing his ad­ven­tures, Newt hopes tomake a brief stopover in New York, but his plan is ru­ined as some naughty beasts break out of the suit­case.

The escape of the beasts means both po­ten­tial chaos in the streets of the cityan­d­ex­pos­ing the ma­gi­cian to peo­ple who might be against magic.

“This film can be en­joyed even if you haven’t read a sin­gle page of Harry Pot­ter, or seen a sin­gle film,” Fan­tas­tic Beasts’ pro­ducer David Hey­man says. “It’s in­fused with her spirit, it’s J.K. Rowl­ing, it’s her, but it works on its own.”

Yates says Rowl­ing has four more sto­ries she wants to tell, and the next two films in the Fan­tas­tic Beasts se­ries will prob­a­bly come up in 2018 and 2020.

Yates and Hey­man also hint that one of the most-loved Pot­ter char­ac­ters, Dum­ble­dore, will ap­pear in the next film.

Dum­ble­dore is the prin­ci­pal of Hog­warts in the Harry Pot­ter se­ries, but back in 1926, he was just a teacher of trans­fig­u­ra­tion, with­Newt as one of his fa­vorite stu­dents in that school.

The Fan­tas­tic Beasts se­ries will show a dif­fer­ent Dum­ble­dore, espe­cially his sex­ual pref­er­ence, which was im­plied in Rowl­ing’s pre­vi­ous works.

Show­ing the com­plex­ity of the char­ac­ters is one of the features that run through all of Rowl­ing’s books.

A rea­son why peo­ple re­spond to Rowl­ing’s work the way they do is be­cause they see them­selves in her char­ac­ters, saysHey­man.

“You may have won­der­ful fam­i­lies, you may be in love, but we all at times feel alone, we all at times feel like we are out­siders. Her books cel­e­brate out­siders.”

On­line com­ments sug­gest many Chi­nese are looking for­ward to the film.

“The ‘no-maj’ in Fan­tas­tic Beasts is the best gift from Rowl­ing to us,” Ray­mond KIDult re­marks of the char­ac­ter Ja­cob who doesn’t have mag­i­cal pow­ers but be­comes Newt’s friend. “When he is laugh­ing and clap­ping his hands, jeal­ously say­ing that he wants to be a wiz­ard, isn’t he speak­ing for us?”

“We are the mug­gles who never get the ad­mis­sion no­tice,” an­other web-user, Youren­mo­fang­wodelian, says.

XuHaoyu con­trib­uted to the story.

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