Rowl­ing, Law con­struct new Dum­ble­dore

The Prince George Citizen - - A&e -

When Jude Law met with J.K. Rowl­ing about por­tray­ing the younger ver­sion of Al­bus Dum­ble­dore, the two dis­cussed how to re­build the fan-favourite char­ac­ter from the Harry Pot­ter films.

Law spent an af­ter­noon jot­ting down notes from Rowl­ing who talked to him about Dum­ble­dore’s life be­fore be­com­ing the world’s most pow­er­ful wiz­ard. The Bri­tish ac­tor walked away with a vote of con­fi­dence from the famed au­thor, al­le­vi­at­ing some pres­sure on him.

“When the boss says ‘I like you,’ it gives you a lit­tle bit of com­fort,” Law said of Rowl­ing, screen­writer of the Harry Pot­ter pre­quel series that is based on her 2001 book Fan­tas­tic Beasts and Where to Find Them. “You can’t help but step into some­thing like this, play­ing a part like this with­out feel­ing a sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity, a fear of let­ting some­one down. But when the cre­ator gives you the thumbs up, it’s a bless­ing.”

Dum­ble­dore was a Hog­warts head­mas­ter in the Pot­ter fran­chise com­monly known for his sil­ver hair and long beard, sport­ing a loose robe. He was played by Michael Gam­bon af­ter in­her­it­ing the role from the Richard Har­ris, who died in 2002.

Law’s youth­ful ver­sion en­ters in his mid-40s wear­ing a three­piece suit with short auburn hair in the se­quel Fan­tas­tic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindel­wald, which will be re­leased Fri­day. It’s the sec­ond part of a five-film fran­chise that started with 2016’s Fan­tas­tic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which grossed $813 mil­lion world­wide.

In Grindel­wald, Law’s char­ac­ter works with his for­mer stu­dent Ed­die Red­mayne’s Newt Sca­man­der to thwart the di­vi­sive wiz­ard leader Gellert Grindel­wald, played by Johnny Depp. The film also stars Kather­ine Water­ston, Zoe Kravitz and Ezra Miller.

For re­search, Law read sev­eral Harry Pot­ter books that ref­er­enced Dum­ble­dore, rather than solely watch­ing the pre­vi­ous films fea­tur­ing the el­der char­ac­ter. With the help of Rowl­ing and di­rec­tor David Yates, they wanted to build from the “ground up.”

“I was then given the op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate him with­out feel­ing the pres­sure to mimic or im­per­son­ate or in­deed hang the char­ac­ter too much on past rep­re­sen­ta­tions by the other ac­tors,” Law said. “There were cer­tain traits I wanted to in­clude. I loved his hu­mour, the twin­kle he had. He sees the good in al­most ev­ery­one. He has a good heart. But I was able to layer him up a lit­tle more.”

Red­mayne said the stu­dio per­fectly cast Law as Dum­ble­dore, who doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily show his true pow­ers and ap­pears only in about six scenes – most of which are in­ter­ac­tions with Sca­man­der.

“Be­ing a for­mi­da­ble, for­mi­da­ble ac­tor with great grav­i­tas and weight and yet at the same time, he has this kind of play­ful qual­ity,” Red­mayne said of Law. “And I’ll never for­get our first scene, which was the first time we see each other in the film. I just saw his back, ba­si­cally. And the way he turned around, it was in­stant. It was like in one look, he had man­aged to in­habit that. I hadn’t had any ex­pec­ta­tions about Dum­ble­dore. But some­how it was so­lid­i­fied in one look.”

The se­quel picks up af­ter Grindel­wald was cap­tured by the Mag­i­cal Con­gress of the United States of Amer­ica with the aid of Newt at the end of the first film. But the vil­lain­ous wiz­ard finds a way to es­cape cus­tody and as­sem­bles a group of pure­blood wiz­ards who sup­port him to rule over all hu­mans in 1920s Paris.

Law says the film opens the door to many dra­matic paths and ex­plores a more trou­bled time in Dum­ble­dore’s life along with his once-close re­la­tion­ship with Grindel­wald.

Rowl­ing an­nounced in 2007 that Dum­ble­dore is gay af­ter the re­lease of Harry Pot­ter and the Deathly Hol­lows, the fi­nal book in the series. Some on so­cial me­dia crit­i­cized the au­thor’s de­ci­sion to un­veil and tin­ker with the beloved char­ac­ter’s sex­u­al­ity, but she has de­fended her ac­tions.

Law as­sures the story is more fo­cused on his char­ac­ter’s com­pli­cated re­la­tion­ship with Grindel­wald from decades ago, rather than Dum­ble­dore’s sex­u­al­ity.

“His sex­u­al­ity doesn’t de­fine him, but the re­la­tion­ship with Grindel­wald does,” Law said. “I be­lieve, and (Rowl­ing) would agree, that Al­bus had many in­ti­mate re­la­tion­ships. And the one he has is the love of his life, which is dam­aged. It be­comes even poi­sonous and sends the two of them in op­po­site di­rec­tions. He’s now in his mid­dle age, around my age 45, and he’s still re­cov­er­ing from a re­la­tion­ship that he’s try­ing to work out from when he was 20. That’s a long time. I could barely re­mem­ber what life was like when I was 20.”

The ac­tor ap­plauded Rowl­ing for be­ing fear­less in cre­at­ing “lay­ered” and “di­verse” char­ac­ters such as Dum­ble­dore in a fan­tasy world with “es­capism and magic.”

“Isn’t it won­der­ful that we’re in a world where fi­nally, fi­nally a fran­chise like this has a great char­ac­ter and it doesn’t matter. But (Rowl­ing) is brave enough to put it out there and say ‘Let’s do this.’ Peo­ple should be able to han­dle this. They can. It’s as we should be.”

Law called his in­tro­duc­tion as Dum­ble­dore a good “warmup” as the fran­chise pro­gresses. The ac­tor has a few big films ahead on his plate in­clud­ing Cap­tain Mar­vel and Vox Lux, but is look­ing for­ward to film­ing the third in­stall­ment of Fan­tas­tic Beasts next sum­mer.

It’ll give Law time to grow his beard.

“Find­ing all those pieces of him were fun” he said. “I eased into the part, but the line was drawn at the end of this one. It’s only go­ing to get deeper.”


From left, ac­tors Johnny Depp, Clau­dia Kim, Jude Law, Zoe Kravitz, Cal­lum Turner and Ezra Miller pose for pho­tog­ra­phers upon ar­rival at the pre­miere of the film Fan­tas­tic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindel­wald, in Lon­don on Tuesday.

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