“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” isn’t even in theaters, and already much of the talk surrounding the movie centers on its sequel. In fact, in a testament to the power J.K. Rowling and the “Harry Potter” franchise, five Potterverse sequels have already been green lit.
We recently had the news that Albus Dumbledore is going to be in “Fantastic Beasts 2.” Now, at a recent roundtable media event with Director David Yates and Producer David Heyman, it was confirmed that Johnny Depp will be playing the part of the legendary Dark Wizard, Gellert Grindelwald.
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For those not fully up on their Potter lore, Grindelwald was once a close friend of Albus Dumbledore, but their friendship fell apart after the pair were involved in duel that ended in the death of Dumbledore’s younger sister. As Heyman puts it, “Grindelwald is an iconic character, so it was important to have someone who had that weight. There’s a reason why [Depp] has that weight. It’s because, you know, he’s a fine actor who makes unexpected choices.”
Yates echoed his producer’s sentiment, saying “[Depp]’s created several characters who have really resonated in our popular culture. He’s a really brilliant, brilliant actor. We were excited about seeing what he would do with this guy, the character. He’s fearless; he’s imaginative; he’s ambitious. We thought he would do something fun and special. So we went for him, purely on that selfish basis. We don’t care if he’s famous or not famous. We just know he’s interesting.”
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On the question of how central the Dumbledore/Grindelwald story will be to the forthcoming five Potterverse films, Yates said: “currently the beasts feature slightly less in the second film, and Grindelwald takes more of a foreground. Currently. But we love the beasts so much. There’s an amazing beast in the second movie – a Chinese beast, actually – that is featured.”
Geographically, the second “Fantastic Beasts” movie will be moving as well, with the director and producer confirming that the story would shift away from the US to Paris and London, or at the very least the wider UK.
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Returning to the topic of the first film, the pair also mentioned that they’ve filmed a lot of material that won’t make it into the final cinematic cut. According to Yates, much of this came in the form of “scenes [that] worked really well on their own,” but slowed the momentum of the story.
Fortunately for fans, much of this footage, apparently including the scene that has the “I want to be a wizard” from one of the film’s TV promos, will be featured in the DVD/Blu-ray release.
Starring Eddie Redmayne, Colin Farrell, Zoe Kravitz, Gemma Chan and Ezra Miller, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” opens on November 18.
(Via The Leaky Cauldron.)