The Fantastic Beasts Press Tour
Behind the scenes of the New York press event for Fantastic Beasts 2.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has just come out on the big screen. The second film in the saga that followed the Harry Potter movies, features the adventures of the “magizoologist”, Norbert Dragonneau (Eddie Redmayne). A press event was organised in New York last September for the actors, the author, J.K. Rowling, and fans of the series. A journalist offers a glimpse of this magical gathering.
You don't say no when J.K. Rowling invites you to explore New York City. The Harry Potter author and the cast of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald formed an armada of wizards, witches, and a few lucky muggles as they traveled around the Big Apple raising awareness for the upcoming film. The event was ostensibly arranged to draw attention to a new trailer for the hotly anticipated sequel, but it was also a chance for Variety to observe the media-shy author in action. 2. Warner Bros., the studio behind the Potter franchise, left nothing to chance. As the actors and Rowling made the rounds from one spiffy midtown eatery to another, they were greeted at each stop by hordes of social media influencers from across the globe, selected because of their reverence for all things Hogwarts. Here's a blow-by-blow of a day that would test the endurance of even the most seasoned Quidditch champ.
THE QUEEN OF THE DAY
3. The crowd erupted as Rowling entered the Brasserie Ruhlmann restaurant, one of those expense account-haunts in Rockefeller Plaza. While Rowling was on the “Today” show next door touting the new trailer, a photographer spent several minutes exhaustively arranging the 60-plus digital influencers who were posing for a group picture with the famed author. His efforts were for naught. The perfect formation collapsed the moment Rowling entered the room as the crowd immediately gravitated toward Rowling when she neared the group.
4. Rowling kept repeating, “This is amazing” as she made rounds hugging fans, most of whom asked permission before embracing the literary doyenne. At one point she shouted, “I'm going to cry!” One lucky fan even got a fist bump from the queen.
5. At the next stop, lucky fans received signed movie posters from Rowling before cast members Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, Callum Turner and Claudia Kim swung by to watch the final trailer. Turner, who joins the cast as Newt's older brother Theseus Scamander, was greeted with a chorus of disbelieving “Oooooohs” when he admitted he hasn't seen the newest footage yet. Fogler assured him, “it's awesome. There's some nice tidbits in there.” Miller quickly shut Fogler down before he could give away any details. “Shhh, stop it!” Miller teased. “They're about to see it.” Miller proved as big a Hogwarts nut as anyone else in the room.
TIME FOR THE LADIES
6. The ladies of Fantastic Beasts - Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol and Zoe Kravitz, whose portrayal of Leta Lestrange was only briefly teased in the first film - took center stage at the morning's next event. The loft-style space was occupied with displays of wands and costumes, the latter of which was heavy on trench coats and leather pants. Waterston, Sudol and Kravitz were just chatting among themselves before Waterston addressed the room saying, “Come talk to us, we're just hanging out!” That was the only invitation the crowd needed. The three women were swarmed by influencers looking for magical selfies. 7. The cast kicked off their day with Rowling on NBC's “Today.” They'll be back on tomorrow when the final trailer drops, part of a marathon two-day Potter extravaganza. Even though Kravitz has appeared in such h popular films as Mad Max: : Fury Road and Divergent, , she's still mentally readying g herself for the intensity of a Potter press tour. “Not this level. Not with fans like this.”
8. Rowling was on set periodically during the filming. “Whenever she's around, it's always a different level,” Kravitz told Variety. “I feel like she's respectful and actually wants us to have space because everyone gets very nervous when she's around.” The others chimed in: “All “ll work k slows to a halt because we all want to pick her brain for any information we can get.” Kravitz nodded: “I think she's doing us a favor by staying away.”
ACTORS BUT ALSO FANS
9. The entire cast gathered together for one last hurrah and something a lot stronger than a Butterbeer. The speakeasy may not have been Three Broomsticks, but it did offer custom cocktails that were heavy on Champagne. The actors made their rounds at the bar, chatting with attendees and posing for more pictures. Miller made a point to strike different wacky poses in each snapshot. “It's how I keep it fun for myself,” he said. While dodging cameras and iPhones, Miller discussed fan theories with a small crowd. “What would be really dope,” he said, “is going farther back [in the Wizarding World]. What's the origin of the Elder Wand?”
Miller is such a fanboy of Harry Potter himself, he barely sees the press tours as work. He called the nontraditional m marketing methods “del lightful.” It's his second m movie in the Harry Potter c canon, but he's clearly still in a awe of working with Rowlin ing. “It's rather ineffable when you're in a situation where you get to collaborate w with, to speak with zero hype perbole, the most important ar artist in your growth and deve velopment and formation ou outside of your parents,” he tol told Variety.
11. One tired Variety reporter finally leaves the all-day Potter lovefest – exhausted, but eager to find out what adventures are in store for Newt and crew when FantasticBeasts:TheCrimesof Grindelwald hits theaters in November.
The cast of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.