Eddie Redmayne Says Newt Is a Hero with Autism
We at MuggleNet love Newt Scamander, the hero of the Fantastic Beasts series. In fact, we think he’s J.K. Rowling’s best-written hero. As portrayed by Eddie Redmayne, Newt is kind, compassionate, and brave in an understated way.
Newt’s behaviors certainly contribute to his characterization, and Redmayne explained to Digital Spy something he thinks contributes to Newt’s mannerisms.
When he was first described by Jo in the first film there were various qualities – the way he walked, the way he looked, and his eye contact… I think he is on the Asperger’s spectrum. [At the time of the movie’s setting], it hadn’t been defined – that was in the ’40s, I think – so those qualities were something, yes.
[Note: Asperger syndrome is no longer a used diagnosis and instead falls under the umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.]
For a world that’s often been reprimanded for its lack of representation, it’s certainly no small thing for its hero to be a successful and brave man with autism (and a Hufflepuff!). There are few characters with autism in popular culture, and even fewer whose stories do not revolve around their diagnoses. There are also few Hufflepuff characters who are portrayed as the hero (and live through the story). Redmayne’s portrayal and Rowling’s writing have already made Newt a likable and admirable hero who is a wonderful representation for people with autism, and we can’t wait to see what he does in the future.