Two years ago, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” transported audiences back to the wizarding world that has captured their hearts and ignited their imaginations.
Set in America in the mid-1920s, the film enticed fans with just a few fleeting allusions to the Harry Potter stories: a brief mention that Magizoologist Newt Scamander was kicked out of Hogwarts; that his only defender had been a certain Professor Albus Dumbledore; and the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, after wreaking havoc in Europe, had vanished.
As the story continues in the second adventure, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” those threads become even more intertwined.
Screenwriter and producer J.K. Rowling offers, “Within the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ franchise, I am telling a story that is only hinted at in the Harry Potter books—the rise of Grindelwald, who profoundly threatened both the wizarding and non-wizarding worlds, and his antagonist, Dumbledore, who, of course, is a key figure in the Potter stories. Grindelwald is first mentioned in `Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,’ so he was there from the beginning though he was more of a mysterious background character. You know he must have been important to figure so prominently in Dumbledore’s own history, but it is only when you reach the end of the Potter series that you find out just how important he was…and you might also intuit that there must be much more to tell. I think this was the story I was most interested in revisiting because it’s so crucial to understanding Dumbledore, who is my favorite character,” she acknowledges.
At the helm of his sixth Wizarding World adventure, director David Yates recalls, “When Jo [Rowling] sent me the new script, my first impression was how different it felt to the first film we had made. This story is more layered and more intricate, with new character strands developing, and it’s also a lot darker. But what really blew me away was how she created this feeling of an emotional thriller, with twists and turns I never saw coming. Jo is constantly evolving the universe she’s built and, for me as a filmmaker, that makes coming back inspiring and always challenging.”
“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” once again teamed Yates and Rowling with producers David Heyman, Steve Kloves and Lionel Wigram. Heyman, who has produced all the Wizarding World movies, adds, “Jo invents stories that are so richly conceived and entertaining, with such vividly realized characters. There are themes in the film which are in some ways along similar lines to Potter—good versus evil, love and loss, friendship and loyalty, identity and feeling outcast… There is also a strong thread about choices—choosing to take a side, or not—and the impact that has, not only on an individual but on everyone around him or her. These are universally relatable ideas that transcend any one time or place, so even though the story unfolds in a magical world, it’s like holding a mirror up to our own.”
Yates agrees. “Jo’s stories are not just for our time, they’re for all time. She has an extraordinary ability to tap into themes that speak to people of diverse generations and cultures. One reason is that her heroes are not always obvious because they’re often underestimated.”
In Philippine cinemas Thursday, November 15, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a WarnerMedia Company.
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