Rumours have been rife for months about the casting of the first Harry Potter spin-off, at one point Matt Smith was said to have been cast in the lead role. But, today Warner Bros. has made it official: Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne will play Newt Scamander in Fantastic beasts and where to find them.
The film will mark Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling debut as a screenwriter.
Newt is the world’s preeminent magizoologist and author of a book about the creatures of the wizarding world that all pupils at Hogwarts are required to read. The film is set 70-years before we first meet Harry and is set in New York City. David Yates, whom direct the last four instalments in the Harry Potter franchise is returning to direct.
David Yates said:
“Eddie is a fearless actor, brimming with invention, wit and humanity. I couldn’t be more excited about the prospect of working with him as we start this new adventure in J.K. Rowling’s wonderful world, and I know she feels the same way.”
I’ve only seen three Harry Potter movies and I don’t know which three, so I’m unfamiliar with Newt Scamander, but Redmayne is a bright and talented actor and I’m sure he will excel in the role. I’m glad that they’re universe building here, it would have been all too easy to make a spin-off about Harry’s parents or one of his Hogwarts friends.
The film is expected for worldwide release on November 18th, 2016.
JK Rowling announced today that her Harry Potter spin-off ‘fantastic beasts and where to find them’ will be a trilogy.
In the reality of the “Potter-verse”, the book is a textbook used to teach the pupils at Hogwarts.
Warner Bros chief, Kevin Tsujihara said that the film is neither a sequel nor a prequel but an “extension” on the universe.
The story is set in New York, 70-years before we meet Harry.
The protagonist of the movie is Newt Scamander, the author of a guide about magical creatures.
The film marks Rowling’s debut as a screenwriter.
I’m actually intrigued by this premise. It’s refreshing to see a franchise expanding its universe rather than churn out an unnecessary prequel or sequel. If successful, I think many existing franchises will follow suit.
More than 450 million copies of Rowling’s seven Harry Potter books have been sold worldwide.
What makes Woman In Black so refreshing is that it is old-school psychological horror, complete with an isolated, haunted mansion, rocking chairs, beheaded dolls, random screams, mysterious deaths, untold secrets, dangerous silence, suspiciously-hostile locals, a hallucination sequence and horrifying consequences.
A few eyebrows were raised when Daniel Radcliffe was announced as the leading man; other than the Harry Potter franchise he had only done one drama called The December Boys. Let’s start by saying Radcliffe is amazing: his performance is captivating. A lot of the film focuses on his character alone in a haunted mansion and he manages to hold your attention throughout.
Radcliff plays Arthur Kipps, a down on his luck, London-based solicitor who is given a career-saving assignment by his firm. The young widower leaves his 4-year-old son in London and travels to a remote town to settle the affairs of the late Mrs. Alice Drablow. Arthur doesn’t receive a warm welcome from the villagers, whom clearly don’t want him there. He unlocks the huge mansion as well as a few horrifying secrets that lay buried on the land.
Apparently younger audiences haven’t taken to kindly to this and it’s easy to see why: The Woman in Black has a slow and steady build-up so those expecting to see something akin to Saw 27 will be bitterly disappointed.
The director, James Watkins, establishes the haunting mood of the story effortlessly. Some of the scenes can seem a little repetitive but the climax is all the better for it.
The Edwardian setting itself is unnerving enough so when you add in creepy sound effects, carefully crafted cinematography and Marco Beltrami’s eerie-yet-subtle background score to this ghost story you know you’re on a winning streak. The film’s dark and some-what gothic setting unnerves you even before the protagonist comes into the picture. If Daniel Radcliffe carries on like this it’ll soon be ‘Harry who?’
Director and writers commentary
Inside the Perfect Thriller: Making The Woman in Black
The Technical Gist
See also our review of the Woman in Black soundtrack.
In which Martyn and Tanisha discuss the Harry Potter studio tour, then Martyn is joined by Phil from Who’s he? and Paul from The Pharos Project and Hammered Horror to discuss the recent Doctor Who convention in Cardiff.
Thanks to Warner Brothers and the BBC for the invites to both events.
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