Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is the latest installment of the Harry Potter prequel series, and muggles and magic fans are almost apparating with excitement about the idea of seeing hero Newt Scamander joining forces with a young Albus Dumbledore. In the latest issue of our sister publication Total Film magazine (opens in new tab), Jude Law gave us all an insight into taking on such an intimidating role.
“David [Yates] and Jo [Rowling] both gave me a huge amount of freedom right from the get-go, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that those two great actors [former Dumbledores Richard Harris and Michael Gambon] were somewhat hanging over my head, even if it was just subconsciously,” he confesses to Total Film (opens in new tab).
“But in a way, you know, it’s a blessing. It’s very rare you play a part where you can close your eyes and picture your character as an older person. Knowing that that’s where he gets to… so I didn’t really feel restricted by it. [I was] more curious about things that we’ve all read in the novel.”
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald sees dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald escape from the Magical Congress of the United States of America, and enacts his plan to see witches and wizards dominate the muggle world. Dumbledore aims to stop him, and calls upon Scamander to help.
“There’s a certain element of master and apprentice, but I feel like Newt’s capacity to be himself against all odds is something that Dumbledore’s admired,” Law says of the relationship between the two characters.
“Without giving too much away, I think Albus in this film is dealing with a certain amount of his past and regret, and demons that he’s trying to deal with that have put him in a certain position. He sees in Newt someone who is pure and more upstanding. There’s a great line in it, which I’m going to paraphrase, which is to do with how Newt sees the good in all beasts and monsters. There’s a part of Albus that sees himself as a monster, and loves the fact that this companion is someone who’ll not judge that, and sort of see the good in him.”
While Law didn’t address some of the controversy around Dumbledore’s sexuality (revealed by J.K. Rowling back in 2007 during an event at New York City’s Carnegie Hall) and its representation in the film, co-star Ezra Miller was happy to. “It’s a funny idea to me that every form of representation has to look the same. For me, personally, I find Dumbledore’s queerness extremely explicit in this film. I mean, all around,” he says.
“He sees Grindelwald, his young lover who’s the love of his life; he sees him in the Mirror of Erised. What does the Mirror of Erised show you? Nothing more than the most desperate desire of your heart. If that’s not explicitly gay, I don’t know what is. I think it’s also really powerful to have characters who are fascinating, dynamic people, doing magical works in the world, and that the story does not only pertain to their sexuality. People have to also take a moment and acknowledge the gift that Jo Rowling gave us by writing one of the greatest characters in literary history, one of the most beloved characters across the whole spectrum of civil society, and the beliefs and ideologies there; one of the most beloved characters; and then, at the end of writing that series, was like, ‘Oh, yeah, and he’s gay. What? Step to me.’ She is forever a god for that.”
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He also had some strong words on those who have taken to social media to complain about the representation before seeing the movie.
“Why don’t you wait until you see the film before you start talking shit on Twitter? Or wait to make up your own mind about something for once in your life. Do your own research. Make up your own mind. Follow your heart, and really, really investigate situations before you identify yourself and pick a side, and start throwing things at the opposition. Because that’s what’s totally screwing everything up right now. And it polarizes us. We’re all human, and there’s a lot of things we can agree on.”
You can read more about Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and other film news, reviews, and features in the latest issue of Total Film magazine (opens in new tab). Why not subscribe (opens in new tab) so that you never miss an issue? If you sign up, My Favourite Magazines (opens in new tab) will deliver every new issue through your letterbox before it hits shelves (with an exclusive subscriber-only cover like the one seen below) – plus you’ll save money on the cover price.