“Crimes of Grindelwald” Set Visit: Inside the Prop Department with Pierre Bohanna
Entering the prop department is like stepping into the Room of Requirement as its “room of hidden things” incarnation: wall-to-wall shelves, labeled by character or location, with props stacked high, raising questions as quickly as they are answered. Before we can get writing, however, we were promptly informed that just the items on the small table were for us to report on, and behind this table was Pierre Bohanna, head prop modeler.
We’re first introduced to the Magic Lung, an oddly shaped vacuum with many more extensions that will apparently have a “starring role” inside the British Ministry of Magic. As Bohanna discussed “the lovely shots of this chugging away,” I was distracted by the heading on a piece of parchment coming out of a dictograph machine: Ministerial Hearing No. 2891 for one Newt Scamander. It continued by listing the attendees. In addition to Newt, there was Theseus Scamander, Head of British Auror Office; Torquil Travers, Head of Magical Law Enforcement; Rudolph Spielman, Head of Incarceration, International Confederation of Wizards; and Arnold Guzman, US Emissary to Internal Confederation of Wizards.
Unless Newt has been involved in something else since returning to London, it seems he may still be answering for the Battle of New York, and his involvement, back home. The list of names was certainly intriguing since, at the point of visiting the set, only Theseus had been announced as appearing in the film. Unfortunately, the rest of the transcript was written in runes for “security purposes.”
Adjacent to this was a selection of wand designs with the actual props lying by their side: Theseus’s, with a handsome orange and brown marble handle with silver features; Flamel’s, a rustic-looking bone-and-metal wand; Leta’s, an elegant black wand with a twisted silver handle; and Newt’s assistant Bunty’s, bearing an acorn-and leaf-design carved into the wooden handle. A beautiful and intriguing collection of wands, almost definitely coming to a merchandise store near you!
Further along were a selection of props that will be seen in Flamel’s house: a large crystal ball and the very familiar Sorcerer’s Stone encased in a bell jar. As Pierre Bohanna notes, the latter proved trickier to create than you might have thought, given that there is at least one still available and on display at the Studio Tour.
We ended up making a set of them, about five or six of them, [in] different densities of reds. […] When we came to do them this time, […] we had to refresh them. But it was all from the original shape.
Over the course of the day, there was much talk about how Newt has changed since the events of the first film, most notably due to his becoming a best-selling author. For the props department, this naturally meant a brand-new design of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: a large hardback reference book, detailed not dissimilarly to MinaLima’s cover design for the Fantastic Beasts script but with blue-and-gold detail. There also was even a sign for Newt’s book signing, which seems all very meta: a film written by a world-famous author about a now, potentially, world-famous author. Perhaps Rowling has taken the opportunity to be reflective of her writing career, akin to her observations of journalism in Rita Skeeter.
As Bohanna wrapped up his discussion of the items on the table, I couldn’t help but spot a shelf of bags just behind him: traditional brown satchels each emblazoned with the Hogwarts crest. It took considerable willpower to avoid grabbing one and running! The props department was the final stop on this incredible set visit, a rewarding day that left our minds reeling at what was to come in the Fantastic Beasts series.
Read the rest of our set visit coverage here.
Additional formatting provided by Madison Ford.