Love and Lestrange: Zöe Kravitz on Her Character’s Complicated Backstory

The character of Leta Lestrange has long been shrouded in mystery: We only get a few vague lines introducing her in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and even then, very little is established about who she is or what role she plays. Recent trailers have cleared up some of the fogginess surrounding Leta, but Zöe Kravitz sat down with Entertainment Weekly to shed some light on her character’s complexities, starting with where she stands at the beginning of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald:

We’ve only seen her previously in a photograph from Newt’s office. They’re friends from childhood when they went to Hogwarts. They have quite a special bond and she was always looked at as an outcast, just as Newt was. Now he’s come back into town and learns she’s become engaged to his brother ,Theseus, so that’s an awkward situation.

“Awkward” may be putting it lightly. Though Kravitz stated that Leta and Newt were never romantically involved, the connection between them is still strong enough that her engagement to Theseus felt like a betrayal. Relationship troubles aren’t all that’s bothering Leta, though – her name and blood status carry a significant weight:

Being a pure[-]blood is a big deal. When she walks into a party people [do] a double take. She’s always felt like an outcast because of that and she’s very edgy because she’s used to being judged, and has created a bubble of protection [around] herself.

This falls in line with director David Heyman’s earlier remarks about Leta’s connection to the Lestrange family name – one she infamously shares with a certain unhinged Death Eater:

Leta is in some ways burdened by her name. The fact that she is a Lestrange has led some people to believe her to be a bad person. But as with a lot of J.K. Rowling’s writing, you have a rich complex character, and it’s one that Zöe brings to life.

We’ll certainly look forward to seeing Zöe in action! It sounds like she’ll be subverting every expectation we have of Leta’s character, including Queenie’s judgement of her as a “taker,” not a “giver”:

Newt is such an awkward person he has a hard time standing up for himself; maybe he doesn’t vocalize what he feels and it looks like he’s getting walked on. But Leta is a compassionate person, especially towards Newt. But she’s also a powerful person, a force, and that could become a problem between them. 

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald hits theaters on November 16, so there are only 83 days until we get to see Zöe Kravitz as Leta Lestrange alongside Newt, Tina, Queenie, Jacob, and the rest of the 1920s wizarding world!