J.K. Rowling Says ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Grew Out of World Events


Photo

J.K. Rowling, the “Harry Potter” novelist, set her first movie in the young wizard’s universe but some 80 years before he enters the scene.

Credit
Neil Hall/Reuters

Hours before the premiere of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” the author J. K. Rowling, acknowledged that she ground through several revisions of the screenplay, her first, and said the rise of populism around the world in recent years had influenced the story’s direction.

Ms. Rowling, the “Harry Potter” novelist, discussed the creative process behind the film at a news conference with members of the cast and crew on Thursday in New York. Warner Bros. is counting on the $180 million movie to be a hit, and four sequels are in the works.

“Fantastic Beasts” takes place in the Harry Potter universe but some 80 years before Harry himself enters the scene. Based on a “guide” of the same title that Ms. Rowling published in 2001, the story follows Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), a British wizard whose study of magical creatures takes him to a version of 1926 New York, where economic inequality is high and wizards have been forced into hiding by an intolerant government. Xenophobia, authoritarianism and oppression are central themes.

“When I was asked, ‘Will you write more?’ at the back of my mind was Newt,” Ms. Rowling said. “I hope when people see the movie, they will understand that it grew out of things that are very important to me in the world at the moment.”

Ms. Rowling is a passionate social activist and cultural critic: In an essay in June, she wrote that Donald J. Trump “has the temperament of an unstable nightclub bouncer.” On Thursday, she declined to talk about Mr. Trump, saying, “Today might be a day to concentrate on some good things, and putting some good things out into the world.”

However, she did say that modern global developments informed her story set in the 1920s. “This period was threatening to become very dystopian. You were looking at the rise of a very dark force. I conceived the story a few years ago, and I think I was partly informed by a rise in populism around the world.”

As the director David Yates noted in a recent interview with The New York Times, Ms. Rowling wrote several drafts of the screenplay before finding the right tone, and on Thursday, Ms. Rowling described the revisions. “One of them was really dark. There was a lot of stuff in the sewers,” she said. “But that is always my process: I tend to generate a lot of material.”

Although “Fantastic Beasts” focuses on new characters, Ms. Rowling confirmed there will be a familiar face in the sequels: the headmaster Albus Dumbledore. She declined to answer a question about Dumbledore’s sexuality, a topic of much controversy and interest, and whether he would be openly gay in the follow-up films. “You will see Dumbledore as a younger man, and quite a troubled man,” she said. “We will see him in what I think is the formative period of his life. As far as his sexuality is concerned: Watch this space.”

Mr. Redmayne and Mr. Yates were in attendance at the news conference, as were the co-stars Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol and Ezra Miller, and the producer David Heyman. Mr. Redmayne worked with animal handlers to prepare for the role, and the inventive creatures in the movie were brought to life by a combination of computer graphics, animatronics and puppeteering. “There were moments when you had to access your inner kid,” Mr. Redmayne said.

Meanwhile, Ms. Rowling, who published her first play, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” to critical acclaim in July, has moved on to the next movie. “Last night, I was in kind of a bleak mood, bored on the plane, and I thought, I need to work,” she said. “I got out the second screenplay and did some work on that, and that made me feel a whole lot better.”

Continue reading the main story



Source link

About admin

Check Also

Review: ‘Diamond Island,’ a Gentle Look at Teenagers in a Changing Land

Photo A scene from “Diamond Island.” Credit Les Films du Losange “Diamond Island” feels like ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *