David Yates Promises “Fantastic Beasts” Blooper Reel in Exclusive Interview!
by Claire Furner · Published · Updated
“The most wonderful thing was getting to go around the world with it,” recalls Eddie Redmayne.
It’s a week away from the DVD and Blu-ray release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Eddie Redmayne, David Yates, and Dan Fogler are at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London to celebrate. As MuggleNet enters the lavish surroundings of Dumbledore’s office for our interview, the film’s lead is perched on the edge of a wooden throne while Yates and Fogler are getting comfortable on an elegantly carved bench, admiring their surroundings.
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It’s been a whirlwind success for Fantastic Beasts, with rave reviews, $812.5 million at the worldwide box office and the wizarding world’s first Academy Award, but this outcome wasn’t guaranteed, even coming in the wake of Harry Potter.
“There was such a tremendous amount of pressure to get it right, you know? At least this is how I feel.” comments Dan Fogler. “[But] I feel like they get us. They get the characters. Now we can just have fun.”
But before then, we have the first film to enjoy in all its glory – at our own leisure. After an early release on digital, Fantastic Beasts comes to DVD and Blu-ray on March 28, complete with a wealth of extra features.
And yet MuggleNet felt there was one glaring omission – the blooper reel! Could the cast be perfect in every take?
“Absolutely not,” laughs Eddie Redmayne, visibly cringing.
“There is definitely a blooper reel,” confirms David Yates. “Actually, we should probably save it up for Film 2 or 3, maybe. We promise.”
When it does arrive, fans are assured quite the viewing.
“Quite often when you’re doing scenes you forget that the rushes are going to all these people, including J.K. Rowling,” interjects Redmayne. “And Jo came to set very occasionally, and when she did once I remember her going up to Katherine [Waterston] and being like, ‘I love watching your takes and then watching what happens after the take because you’re always…’ Katherine [would be] so self-deprecating in the most hilarious way that normally involves some swear words.”
Moving on to the extra features that do exist, there is a lot to get pulled into, including 11 deleted scenes revealing some beautiful character moments.
“Most of the things we cut out were some of my favorite things in the movie, by a long way,” explains David Yates. “But it’s like you’ve got a piece of music, and when you see the whole thing in context it makes more sense to have it out rather than have it in.”
There is a great vibe between the three, bouncing off each other, laughing at each other’s jokes and fondly recalling moments from the shoot. It’s the sense of partnership so prevalent on the Potter series.
“That was David’s doing.” Redmayne comments, nodding at Yates.
We were given such access to all the different departments, [and] those friendships and relationships are as strong as the act/cast relationships.
“It was very special; the whole social experience of making [Potter],” adds Yates.
I felt, ultimately, [it] would be really hard to repeat that level of collaboration and frankly, fun when you’re making such a big film. But I feel we’ve done it. There was a lovely vibe to the whole thing where people help each other out, and it’s very collegiate. I think it’s a very fertile atmosphere to create really good work. And as we go into the next film, I’m really excited to see people back. It feels good.
And certainly looks it too! After an amazing conversation with the team (full interviews below), we were led out of our delightful surroundings, leaving Fogler and co. to frolic around in the Headmaster’s office.
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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is available now on digital in SD and HD, while the DVD & Blu-ray will be released on March 28, 2017.
All the special features can also be experienced on tablets and mobile phones using the Warner Bros. Movies All Access App, available for both iOS and Android devices. The app provides a dynamic film watching experience with synchronized content available to view and share while the movie is playing. More information can read here.
Transcribed by Katie Hynes, Katy Cartee Haile, Renae McBrian, and Tracey Wong
Claire Furner: This DVD release has come around very quickly. How has it been processing for you guys the first experience and, obviously, David, returning back? The whole experience of Fantastic Beasts, how was it in hindsight?
Eddie Redmayne: God, what a good question. The whole experience was phenomenally rewarding from the first time that we read the script or were shown the script. The whole thing has been shrouded in so much secrecy that frankly we felt David [Yates] created the feel of making quite an intimate film because of that secrecy in some ways. It felt very… amongst this core group of people that were working on it, but the most wonderful thing was getting to go around the world with it in a scale that I have never done. And even though one knows that J.K. Rowling has such a following internationally, getting to talk about Fantastic Beasts [and] Potter with all of the communities around the world, it was really overwhelming I found.
Claire: Yeah, the breadth of it is quite shocking. [laughs]
Eddie: [laughs] Exactly.
Claire: So, in terms of the DVD, there are quite a few deleted scenes. One thing everyone wants to know is: Where is the blooper reel? When are we going to get a wizarding world blooper reel?
David Yates: Oh, the blooper reel! It’s on a hard drive somewhere.
Claire: You’re just so perfect you get your lines right every time.
Dan Fogler: Every time.
Eddie: Absolutely not.
[Claire and Eddie laugh]
David: There is definitely a blooper reel. Actually, we should probably save it up for film two or three, maybe. Yeah, I don’t know why we didn’t do the blooper reel, though.
Eddie: I remember Jo, though… because quite often when you’re doing scenes you forget that the rushes are going to all these people, including J.K. Rowling. And Jo came to set very occasionally, and when she did once I remember her going up to Katherine [Waterston] and being like, “I love watching your takes and then watching what happens after the take because you’re always…” Katherine [would be] so self-deprecating in the most hilarious way that normally involves some swear words.
Eddie: So the second the cut is called, she’s like… I won’t quote what she does, but Jo was like, “It makes me laugh so much.”
David: She’s so hard on herself, isn’t she?
Eddie: I know. She is, and so amazing in it. But there will be a blooper reel at some point, I imagine.
Claire: Good, good.
David: There will be. We promise. Actually, just going back to that first question, when we made Potter here it was very special; the whole social experience of making those movies. The group of people I felt, ultimately, would be really hard to repeat that level of collaboration and, frankly, fun when you’re making such a big film. But I feel we’ve done it. I feel with these guys and with our creative team, as Eddie said, it feels like a very intimate experience making this movie and it’s big, big movie making. But there was a lovely vibe to the whole thing where people help each other out and it’s very collegiate. It’s a really… I think it’s a very fertile atmosphere to create really good work. And as we go into the next film, I’m really excited to see people back. It feels good.
Eddie: For us, that feeling of… the idea that because so much of it was other-worldly and some of it was vis effects and prop design… I have never done a film in which we were given such access to all the different departments, and that was David’s doing. But those friendships and relationships are as strong as the act/cast relationships, and that’s an amazingly wonderful thing because that is a massive part of what creating Jo’s world is as well. So that’s cool.
Claire: So I guess, also, that bring[ing] of people back so you’ve got new people but then also a lot of the crew and yourself and David, and a lot of the [unintelligible] people, that feeling stays.
David: There is a level of continuity but there is also a level of great newness, and that’s exciting.
Claire: So some of the deleted scenes on the reel, at what point do you decide to cut them? Because some of them feel complete and some of them… I mean, the reference to [Jacob’s] fiancée, we knew about it because of the companion books but there’s no real reference to it in the film. So, for that one specifically, is that cut fairly early on? Do you [shoot] it and you go, “Actually…”
David: It happens over a period of months. So as you edit the movie, it’s all about the maps of the structure and the rhythm of the story. It’s like a piece of music – you want it all to flow in the right way. And so some scenes you pull out really early because they clearly don’t quite feel right in context. Out of context they can feel great, but in context they can suddenly bump against the tonality of what comes before or after it. With that scene – it’s one of my favorite scenes, when Jacob’s fiancée walks out, and I loved it. And when I suddenly thought, “I’m going to take this out just to see what it feels like,” it felt so unnatural to do that because it’s such a charming, beautiful, funny, tender scene. Dan is great in it… they’re both great in it. But weirdly, what it does is it kind of propelled that whole first act forward, and what it was delivering emotionally was it was allowing you to empathize with Jacob. But Dan is so clever at being Jacob – from the first frame you see him, you empathize with him. So its function within the story – which is for you to really feel for this guy because he’s having such a hard day – Dan had already delivered in scene one… two… three… and then we get to scene four and we’re asking the audience, however delicately funny and tender the scene is, to explore the same feelings again. So pulling it out was so counterintuitive, but then when you run the film, it feels absolutely right.
Dan: I’m glad it’s going to be included in the DVD extras because… for many reasons, but it was at the beginning of my training regimen.
Dan: So that was the thinnest I was. I saw it and I was like, “Oh! I’m actually able to button my jacket in this scene. Good for you, Dan!”
Dan: I promise for this next one, I’ll keep more of a steady regimen.
David: We’ve got the Justice League gym. I’m telling you, we’ve got the Justice League gym.
Eddie: And now all I want to do is ask him questions about the second movie.
Claire: Me too.
Eddie: He’ll make you go through that gym regimen again and cut the frickin’ scene.
David: That was the hardest thing, next to cutting the fiancée scene. Oh, harder than cutting the fiancée scene.
Eddie: No, that’s the worst thing about that bit that was cut – as I was doing it, having literally been allowed to eat nothing but chicken for 27 months, what it felt like was… as we were shooting the scene, David Heyman was sort of telling me that we were going to shoot two versions because it was probably on the cutting room floor. [laughs] As I was literally doing sit-ups between takes. I was like, “Great, now you tell me?”
Claire: And it didn’t even make it onto the DVD. Gutting.
Eddie: I know, I know. I think the reality is because my toned physique is not quite what I thought it was. [laughs]
David: You’re toned, mate.
Dan: He is pretty toned. [laughs]
Claire: There’s one very interesting scene that has got everyone talking. It’s the [scene] just after Tina is taking Newt out of MACUSA and Graves approaches her, and it kind of changes a lot of dynamic between Tina and Graves. People are now shipping it – not good.
Claire: But how early on was that removed, and is Graves Grindelwald the whole way through this movie?
David: Graves is Grindelwald the whole way through the movie, that’s for sure. And that was another one that was really… it was really hard to let that one go. But it just, again, felt quite right. I love that scene. It’s one of my favorite… in fact, most of the things we cut out were some of my favorite things in the movie, by a long way. But it’s like you’ve got a piece of music, and when you see the whole thing in context it makes more sense to have it out rather than have it in. But that one came out about halfway through the editing process. But I love it. I love the way Colin [Farrell] does what he does. You get this whole sense of… their relationship is really intricate. But what it did was it set something running in your head about you wanting more of that in the rest of the movie, and then we went somewhere completely different with it. So it sort of set up a false promise in a way.
Claire: Yeah, well, we’ve seen it now and we’re all like, “Come on!”
Claire: Did Jo talk about Graves and Tina’s relationship, either prior to Grindelwald or prior to the film scene when she was an Auror? Do you know more about that? Was that something that’s all written out?
David: We always just discussed it in terms of the fact that she kind of quite liked him and was always seeking his approval, and that had a slight sexual edge to it.
Claire: It’s that tailoring. That Oscar-winning tailoring.
[David and Eddie laugh]
Claire: Congrats on the first wizarding world Oscar!
David: Yay! We won an Oscar!
Claire: Yeah, everyone is slightly worried that the next film is going to be set in the summer and there’s not going to be decent outerwear. We need to maintain the coats.
David: There [are] going to be some amazing plots in the next one.
Eddie: And that’s also never stopped them.
Eddie: In fact, if it’s set in the summer…
Claire: “Layering it on! It’ll look good!” [laughs]
Eddie: … or if we shoot it in the summer, [that] does not mean that they’re like, “Oh, we won’t put you in 76 layers.”
Dan: “More wool!”
Eddie: She is amazing. I’ve got to say, Colleen [Atwood] was such… and it was so wonderful to see her…
David: She’s coming back.
Claire: [laughs] Good.
Dan: When she accepted, she was just so.. I always see her just so… she’s very serious…
Eddie: Yeah, yeah.
Dan: … and then she was just like a little girl, right? Very sweet.
Claire: The infamous Newt coat – was that something that went through many stages? Or was it something that you just turned up and you tried it on and you were like, “Yes”?
Eddie: It was something that we had talked about quite a lot, the three of us, and it was… Colleen had it made in various [unintelligible] but also colors. It was all about what the color was because they didn’t want it to be too… [laughs] and this is a colorblind person talking. They didn’t want it to be too vibrant and bright, and yet you wanted to be able to pick it out within the world. But also, how it flowed. I was really keen on the idea that it should be both his suit and… for example, his boots and stuff and his suit – when he tucks the things in the… all of this wear could become quite workaday as well as looking smart but… and also all the pockets of the coat, which we didn’t see a huge amount of, but she had come up with this extraordinarily intricate world of pockets and…
Dan: That’s a great opportunity for the next film.
Claire: That’s just going to add to the Doctor Who element [laughs] of him pulling stuff out the whole time.
Claire: What were your favorite spells to perform, either in this but also to watch in the other films?
Eddie: Straight out, my favorite one to say is Petrificus Totalus.
Eddie: Just because I just love saying it. And also, it was the greatest stunt I have ever witnessed. And I know that sounds so silly, but Petrificus Totalus down in the vault – literally David had this amazing stunt guy who just went [puts his arms against his sides] like this and then fell down to the floor…
Eddie: … without just…
Dan: Hardly any padding.
Eddie: To the extent that Dan and I almost… we were meant to keep acting because the whole point was he had to do it for real because we were in the shot. And I had to do everything to not check that he was all right because he literally went from standing to…
Eddie: … bam. It was extraordinary.
Dan: It was awesome. It was wonderful.
Claire: And how are you preparing, without giving anything away, for the second one? Anything character-wise that you’re thinking about that you want to maybe work on from the current film?
Eddie: Well, it’s tricky for us because we haven’t seen the script yet, so… [laughs]
Dan: I’m just excited to dive in again because the first one, there was such a tremendous amount of pressure to get it right, you know? And… at least this is how I feel. Going into this one, I feel like, “Okay, they get us. They get the characters. Now we can just have fun.”
Eddie: But also, some of the things that David and Jo… we spoke about before this one. Character traits that were sort of gently peeled back. You could see qualities, but I think there’s so much more of that to do. And now that the characters are established, hopefully we’ll be able to see the layers in the film.
Claire: And any part of your backstories? Because we see the cut scenes about you losing a brother and also mentions of dragons in World War I. Anything like that that you would like to explore? Probably won’t be able to, but would like to dig deeper.
Dan: Oh, wow.
Eddie: I did always love the Ukrainian Ironbellies stuff, and it was a big visual thing…
Dan: That would be a great flashback.
Dan: I would love to see that. Yeah, very curious… wasn’t there one where they were casting my brother or something that was kind of floating around? I saw it on the Internet…
Dan: I thought they might do it in flashback, where you see my brother get killed.
David: We’ve been casting Newt’s brother.
David: Not Jacob’s brother yet.
Dan: It was a Kowalski. It was like Yan Kowalski.
David: Yan Kowalski?
Eddie: I love that we find out about the film from the interview too.
Transcribed by Ashley Alldredge, Luna Irazábal, and Tracey Wong
Kat Miller: Okay, so we’ll pop right into it. It’s just a few very nerdy questions. I’m calling from MuggleNet, so the uber fans here.
Katherine Waterston: Good! I love nerdy questions. [laughs]
Kat: Good! Okay, so we’ll start off with kind of an easy one I think, actually. You personally have had quite a varied career with Boardwalk Empire and what people call your breakout role in Inherent Vice and then the upcoming Alien. So what was it about the wizarding world or J.K. Rowling or Tina that made you really want to step into this, into magic, and take this on?
Katherine: Well, it was Tina first, actually, because… returning to such a beloved world, it’s a kind of dangerous thing to do and an intimidating thing to do, and I was sort of met with it back to back with Fantastic Beasts and then Alien because these are both pieces of pre-existing franchises that people really, really love. I know it’s an intimidating thing to even consider, but when the script is good and when the character is good, it quiets all of the anxieties in your mind and it just then feels like any other potential job, which is that you want it if you love the character and you don’t care about it if you don’t connect to it. Because the thing is, even if the script is really good, if you don’t respond to the character, if you’re not dying to play the part, you’re not going to be any good for the people involved and it’s actually not maybe going to be that much fun for you either. So I feel like it’s kind of the same – I had the same reaction to it as I do with any script that I read where I connect to the character. I just adored her. And then when I got to meet David Yates, I saw that he was going to approach this… he wasn’t going to put the franchise on a pedestal. He said to me, “We want to make this movie feel like a small movie, an intimate movie. This is about these characters…” And so he sort of tricked us into thinking it wasn’t such a big thing, but there were moments on set where you started to wonder if he told the whole truth [laughs] because there are these massive streets – it’s built as far as the eye can see, which is really unusual in filmmaking these days; usually they just build the one building in front of you and the rest is a green screen that they’ll fill in later. But the whole set had been built, and [there were] hundreds of extras and stuff, and there were great action sequences and everything. So there were days, for sure, where it did feel like a big film, but most of the time what he had said to me remained true and so in a way after I first heard about it I didn’t… once I met them and started working, I didn’t feel necessarily like I was a part of this big, “Oh my God, J.K. Rowling,” franchise and I didn’t think of it that way too much until the journalists started asking me about it.
[Kat and Katherine laugh]
Katherine: It really did quite quickly turn into a very sweet sort of family-like environment, where I think we all felt pretty safe to play and stuff, which has been the dream. Certainly when I met Jo I was freaking out, but most days we were just going to work and trying to tell a good story.
Kat: Yeah, I feel like that’s the normal reaction when anybody meets J.K. Rowling, so that’s okay.
[Kat and Katherine laugh]
Katherine: Oh, one hundred percent. I’ve never seen someone so well equipped at dealing with people freaking out in front of them. I bet it happens to her every day, so she’s very good at dealing with people in awe.
Kat: Indeed. And you had said in other interviews that you really didn’t have a whole lot of experience with Harry Potter before you took Fantastic Beasts. However, you read the books while you were on set and you were filming, correct?
Katherine: That is correct, yeah.
Kat: So did reading through that and getting to know that world influence any of the decisions that you made on set or how you might carry Tina or anything like that?
Katherine: I don’t think so, not in some way that I could quantify. It’s more that it just kept me in the world, because when you’re working [you’re] very focused on set but then you go home, you’re in your apartment, or it’s the weekend, and you can sometimes feel a little disconnected. And then [on] Monday… it’s sort of like if you’re studying a language or something and you take a few days off and then you return to it and it takes a minute before you can pick up exactly where you left off, and I think in a way… I don’t know, I think reading the books on the weekends and in my spare time just kept me in the mood of it, the spirit of it, and it’s a strange thing but in a story like this, just sticking with the spirit of it I think it’s important to do, whether you do it by reading the books or some other way. We were introducing all of these new characters to the world, and we certainly thought about the pre-existing Harry Potter fans and wanting to deliver something that they would like, and I think part of that is to give them something new but also something that feels authentic to this environment that they know very well or to Jo’s world, and so I think that that probably more than anything sort of influenced me tonally. You said you were going to ask nerdy questions, but did you know you were going to get really nerdy answers? I’m sorry.
Kat: No, I like nerdy answers. It’s okay, it’s good, you’re doing great. [laughs] Did you end up having a favorite book or a favorite scene or something that you felt particularly connected to? These are the things Potter fans want to know.
Katherine: It is so hard to choose, but Dobby’s death in Deathly Hallows destroyed me.
Kat: Did reading the books… did that make you want to explore the world any further or were you just okay with that story? Because there’s this whole extended canon and all these details, like Newt and Tina get married – I’m sure you know that… or maybe you don’t.
Katherine: Yes, I know that. Well, I know that from his bio on the back of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Kat: The book, right. Yes. And then, obviously Luna – who’s in Potter – marries their grandson.
Kat: So it must be kind of weird too, to know where your character is going to end up still like four movies away plus some. Isn’t that like…
Katherine: Yeah. I mean, I… most actors never get to experience anything like this where you get to return to a character and watch it develop over many films.
Katherine: It’s such a treat to get to do that, and [laughs] I’ve even… I worry about torturing the fans a little because these things they roll out, some of them more quickly than others, and I think just because Newt and Tina end up together doesn’t mean that it’s going to be an easy road to get there.
Katherine: And I hope we don’t drive the fans too crazy in that process. [laughs] But yeah, it’s a bizarre thing that the audience knows more about these two people and their fate than they know themselves, which I think as a viewer can be a really fun thing to know. But of course, even though we – Eddie and Katherine – know that they end up together, Newt and Tina don’t know so we have to play it with that kind of innocence. And yeah, I’ve never done that before. I’ve never told a story where the audience has the upper hand, and I really enjoy it. I think it’s really fun.
Kat: Cool. Well, let’s pop over to the DVD release. The Blu-ray debuts on March 28 and the Digital HD is already out, and I was watching the deleted scenes and there is a fantastic one – which I was so glad it was on there – with Graves and Tina in the elevator with the mustard?
Katherine: [laughs] Yeah.
Kat: I thought it was so deliciously beautiful and awkward at the same time, and it really alluded to this relationship that the two of them have together. Do you have any insight on that relationship? How they’ve worked together, how they feel about each other, things like that.
Katherine: Yeah, I think that at the beginning of the film, Tina is in awe of her boss and thinks he’s a great man and wants to show him… all the time, she’s wanting to show him her dedication to her work and that she’s good at her job. She definitely wants to please him, and I think that there might be a little bit of a crush there but it’s not something in a sense that she articulated to herself. She just is in awe of him, and obviously he’s quite handsome and he has a lot of… he commands a lot of attention whenever he’s in the room, so I think it’s exciting and intimidating to be around him for her because if she’s around him that means she’s in the middle of an investigation or something but also it can mean that she’s in a lot of trouble. So there’s a tension there. There’s a power dynamic that causes this attention there. And of course she only wants to be at her best self around him, which is what’s, I thought, so great about the mustard scene. It’s absolutely mortifying that she thinks she’s really taking care of business, and she looks ridiculous and is called out for it. And it was… yeah, I think… I haven’t seen that scene, but I think that there were a lot of characters to get to know very quickly there, and I think that they felt we didn’t need to slow down the film at that point. But it was a way of showing that she really had a history at MACUSA and intricate relationships there and maybe to explore just making Newt a little jealous [laughs]…
Kat: [laughs] Right.
Katherine: … in that moment, maybe?
Katherine: [That] was something that I think they were toying with. But yeah, it did mean that I had mustard on my face for a long period of that film. [laughs]
Kat: Was it actually mustard? Like real mustard?
Kat: No? Okay.
Katherine: No, because I guess hair and makeup people don’t like to use real mustard because it makes your face break out in rashes or something?
Kat: Oh, sure. Okay.
Katherine: It’s just like a kind of gluey paste that they had to apply multiple times a day. [laughs]
Kat: [laughs] Oh, fun. Do you think there was ever a point in the film where she started to suspect that Graves was not who he said he was? Considering how close they were or maybe she just…
Katherine: I think it’s a really heartbreaking moment for Tina [laughs] obviously when he sentences her to death, not just because she doesn’t want to die but because she never imagined that he would do such a thing to her. And in a way, it’s that scene where he sentences them to death – that’s the real kind of “pull the mask off your face” reveal scene in a sense because she discovers this person she looked up to is not so wonderful or admirable after all and… in that scene when they’re talking about the Obscurus, Eddie sort of busts Graves. He says, “What would you want to use it for?” So he starts to get a sense that this man may have evil ambitions, and I don’t think that Tina… I think she’s overwhelmed by all of this new information at that moment, and it’s only confirmed when his response to that accusation is sentencing us to death then that sort of confirms the suspicion and obviously also really breaks Tina’s heart in a way. But yeah, I don’t think either of them at that point are thinking, “I wonder if this is Grindelwald?” [laughs]
Kat: [laughs] Right.
Katherine: But I think that the suspicion really begins there.
Kat: I have one really fun, very easy one here: Gigglewater, did they just use water on set for you? Or did they make something [that] actually tastes good? Did you ever get to try it?
Katherine: Well, I think that there’s a little bit of a cut scene there too, where actually… Newt and I had ordered something stronger [laughs] because we’d just been through it and ordered a stronger drink. But yes, it was just that Queenie and Jacob ordered the Gigglewater for themselves. But that was all Dan’s idea to have it cause the outburst of laughter…
Katherine: … and everybody thought it was so funny, that they kept it in the movie. Yeah, and… oh gosh, I’m blanking on it. We actually ordered something else, but I can’t remember what it was. But it sounded like a very strong drink.
[Kat and Katherine laugh]
Katherine: Oh, I wish I could remember. Maybe… now, the scenes that were cut from the film, are they in the screenplay? Because I haven’t read the screenplay.
Kat: I don’t believe…
Katherine: The published screenplay. Or is it the film version?
Kat: As far as I’m aware, it’s the film version. I didn’t recognize any of the deleted scenes in it. So… yeah.
Katherine: Oh gosh, this is going to really haunt me. I can’t remember what the name of our drink was, but it was something else. [laughs] It was called a Fire Breather or something…
Katherine: … but it wasn’t that. It was just something that sounded like it would burn going down. [laughs]
Kat: Was it Firewhisky?
Kat: No? Well, that’s okay. We will keep investigating and figure that out for you.
Katherine: I will get… next time you see me, I will give you the answer. It will come to me.
Kat: Okay. I’ll hold you to that. [laughs] No, I’m just kidding.
Katherine: [laughs] Okay.
Kat: No pressure, no pressure.
Transcribed by Felicia Grady and Tracey Wong
Claire Furner: Hello, Alison.
Alison Sudol: Hello! How’s it going?
Claire: All very well. How are you?
Alison: Oh, good, thanks.
Claire: Fantastic. So it’s come around very quickly from the release of Fantastic Beasts to the DVD release. I was just wondering: [Since] it was your first experience of the Harry Potter/wizarding world, what was it like, now in hindsight, experiencing this launch and traveling the world with it and yeah, just releasing it and bringing it to the world?
Alison: It was a whirlwind. It was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It was exciting and sometimes overwhelming and [a] beautiful and heartwarming experience. It was challenging. It’s quite a lot of responsibility to be a part of a movie like this that we all care about so much and has such important messages in it and trying to make sure that those messages stayed at the forefront of everything that we said. It was mindblowing also, just going around the world and seeing the response in places that I’ve never been, like China and Japan, and just seeing worldwide effect that this movie has had on people is pretty humbling.
Claire: Yeah, I bet. Where there any particular favorite moments from the press tour?
Alison: There was a moment in Japan where it was the premiere, and we came out, and it was drizzling – we all had umbrellas – and just everything was quite atmospheric and beautiful, and then there was a row of schoolchildren dressed as Harry Potter, screaming with joy. I mean, losing their minds with joy. And I walked up and just touched their little hands as I walked by, and they were [unintelligible]. They were just melting with excitement, and I just don’t think I’ll ever forget the looks on their faces, how touching their hands could make their life in that moment. I mean, it was darling. It was so darling.
Claire: [laughs] That sounds adorable.
Alison: It was so cute.
Claire: So with the DVD release, we’ve seen quite a few of the deleted scenes that were talked about during the press tour, and the one that everyone was waiting for was the [Ilvermorny] song. We finally got to hear it and see you guys perform it, and I think we briefly spoke during the media roundtables about the process of writing it, but how much of what we saw was Jo’s input, your input? How did that come together?
Alison: So Jo had written the lyrics. Actually, there were two parts to the lyrics, and one portion was in a much earlier script, and I remembered it from way back then, and I’ve always loved it, and then the other part was later, and we had these great words to work with and then had a job of figuring out a melody that would fit with the appropriate period, that would feel like a school anthem, that was something that Katherine and I could sing together, and that would feel like it was of magical world as well. And I’d never worked like that. I’d never worked from anybody else’s lyrics for the melody. It was quite challenging and also because it’s the school song, so it’s something that I didn’t want to mess up. And yeah, it just took a lot of trial and error in working it out, and David Yates and Jo and David Heyman kind of let me figure it out, really, which was amazing. They were like, “We trust you. Go for it.” And it took some working, and I worked with a composer for a little bit in trying to arrange it, and then we ended up singing it a cappella, basically. I think we did. Actually, I don’t know because, to be perfectly honest, I haven’t seen the scene yet. They just said to me that they have put the scene out, but I haven’t seen it yet. [laughs] I hope it’s okay. Is it okay?
Claire: Yeah, it’s great. It’s really lovely. I think everyone is a bit disappointed, only because the Hogwarts song was cut out of the original Harry Potter movies, and then we had the Ilvermorny song, but it was also cut out of this. [laughs] One day, there will be a film where the actual songs are in them. But no, it’s a really lovely scene. And also, it’s a beautiful scene. I mean, there are so many of them, but between Tina and Queenie, as sisters, you get a lot from that moment as well as you do throughout the whole thing. There’s been a lot about how your guys’ relationship on screen is this really tight unit. How much do you know? Has Jo enlightened you about their upbringing? Because obviously, we know they’re orphans, but do you know when that occurred and what their experiences were after their parents died?
Alison: Well, we did discuss a lot of it, of how they grew up. I think some of it… because of what we created in order to make our own relationship, I would hesitate to share that because it might turn something that was our private creation into something that is… since Jo didn’t necessarily tell us certain things, I would hate to then say, “These were the things,” and it’s not.
[Alison and Claire laugh]
Alison: But one thing that was very clear to us is that, because we lost our parents so young, we always took care of each other. And we acted very differently to the circumstances because we’re very different people. Queenie is younger than Tina, so Tina took on more of the responsibility of the two of them and also because Queenie is an empath, essentially. She was also quite vulnerable. Tina also took it upon herself to be more protective. So I think that influenced everything that happened with their school days, but it’s a very sweet thing to see that moment, as you said, because for us, the relationship as sisters in the movie is kind of just implicit; it’s implied. You kind of just get the sense that these two are incredibly close, but you never really get to see that much of their shared history, and so it was just a moment for us to play with that as well. And it was also really sweet when we were learning the song because Katherine had never… Katherine was so brave during this song. I was so impressed by her. Because it’s scary to sing on camera, and she was so gung-ho and went for it despite her nervousness about it. And it was a nice thing for us to share, anyway, as people.
Claire: Yeah, and I guess it also helped build on the characters’ relationship if you’re working together on that song and it’s quite a big moment, particularly for Katherine. That’s really nice.
Alison: It was.
Claire: So some of the other deleted scenes we’ve seen seem to just… a lot of Jacob scenes seem to have been cut. [laughs] I guess there were just so many of them. But there were lovely ones – two between Jacob and Queenie: a slight extension on the roof where you find out about his brother dying [and] a lovely one in Macy’s where Queenie says to him, “Oh, you don’t wish you could read other people’s minds because not everyone’s as nice as you.” I guess this goes back to the background stuff, but what do you think led to those wordings, and what do you think it is about Jacob that’s just so pure and so nice?
Alison: I mean, those were two scenes that we really, really, really loved shooting. The one on the roof felt so classic. It felt like a Casablanca moment or something when we were filming it; it was amazing. And then that one on the floor was so intimate, and Jacob’s soul is pure; there’s an innocence to him that hasn’t been tapered by all that he’s been through and a real kindness to him. And I think when you see those moments, you just realize what… for me, realizing what they’ve both been through, separately. They both have that innocence that comes from choosing to stay pure despite their individual circumstances – in Jacob’s case, the war; in Queenie’s case, seeing into men’s heads all the time, and it’s not something she can control, and it’s definitely not something she would wish for in many cases. And I think there’s a real sweetness to that commonality there. These are two people [who] have very similar spirits in that way.
Claire: Yeah, it’s really beautiful on screen, and that Macy’s scene, in particular, when I saw that – it’s a shame that one didn’t make it into the movie. In terms of her skills as a Legilimens, how far-reaching do you think that is? Because obviously, we’ve seen in the Harry Potter series that people can read each other’s minds, and that’s what you get more of in this film, but there’s that connection with her sister when she knows that something has happened to Tina that seems to stretch it and definitely expand on what we know is the law of Legilimen[cy].
Alison: I’m sorry, what was the question?
Claire: So do you know how much the scope of her skills are? Do you know if there’s more to it than just straight-up Legilimen[cy]?
Alison: Yeah, I mean, I think she’s quite powerful, and she hasn’t really had the opportunity to stretch that muscle, really. It’s not something that she ever even really talks about. You can tell because people don’t know that she’s reading their minds, so you know she’s not well advertised as a Legilimens. And I don’t think that she’s ever really had the need to utilize it. I think it’s like as a woman, I’ve noticed with myself and with my friends, there comes a moment in time where you suddenly really need to access your intuition. And once you start doing that and trusting your intuition, it gets stronger and stronger and stronger. And you realize that there may not be a limit on it if you continue to develop that. And I think it’s the same with Queenie. I think that she and Tina have a particularly deep bond, and that love makes it grow exponentially, and who knows what she can actually do? Which is quite exciting.
Claire: Yeah, it is exciting. We shall see, I guess, in the future installments.
Alison: We shall see, yeah.
Claire: What was the most exciting day on set, just generally? What scene, what moment, really, was the pinnacle of this shooting experience?
Alison: The pinnacle… well, I mean, the whole movie had so many wonderful moments, and then I think the moment when we all first met in the apartment, and there was the cooking scene and then sitting at the dinner table, for me, that still stands out as one of the most special moments of the film because a) it was just such a wonderful and challenging ballet that we managed to work our way through, but also, [b)] it was this moment where we were all four forced together in the room working together, getting to know each other. And the apartment was so beautiful, and the lighting was so beautiful, and the scene was so warm, and I just feel like I can access that feeling at any point and just feel so grateful to be a part of this experience. It was as magical as it looks.
Claire: That’s really good to know. [laughs] Because sometimes with all the special effects, it can sometimes be the complete opposite on set. But no, they know their stuff, the wizarding world team on these films, so it’s really exciting to know that was like on set. Well, cool. Thank you very much. Lovely to speak with you.
Alison: Of course! Likewise.
Claire: And best of luck with the next movie.
Alison: Thank you.