Ezra Miller and Claudia Kim “Crimes of Grindelwald” Roundtable Interview
by Catherine Horvath · Published · Updated
Trancribed by Korina Cotter-Butler and Danielle Joy Schwartz
SPOILERS AHEAD: PROCEED WITH CAUTION
One of the most anticipated duos of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is the Maledictus and Credence. Ezra Miller and Claudia Kim talk about the success of their pair of “misfit” characters and how the franchise has changed their lives.
Press: So how surprising was it to do this movie? We just heard from David Heyman that people don’t necessarily get the scripts far in advance. I think someone said the first time they read the script was at the table reading and they were just shocked at what they found out. How did you two...?
Ezra Miller: Someone first read the script at the table? Who said that?
Claudia Kim: That’s a lazy person.
Press: It was Dan.
Ezra: It was Dan Fogler?
Press: It was.
Ezra: That cannot be true.
Claudia: Is that true? No.
Press: That’s what he said. He could be pulling our leg. Were you surprised to see what happened to your character and where he’s going?
Ezra: Yes, I would say I did experience something akin to surprise.
Catherine Horvath: As a Potter fan, what are you feeling when you read that? Because we have a lot of mixed feelings.
Ezra: Well, first of all, I’d be fascinated to talk to you further about this at some other time. I think we’re not really talking about really all that stuff.
Catherine: Off limits. So you can’t even show me a facial expression to what you were feeling?
Ezra: It would have to be at least four different facial expressions, set to four different Vivaldi themes, like "The Four Seasons."
Felicia Grady: So Credence’s whole motivation in this movie was to find out who he was, and now that he knows, or at least he thinks he knows, who he is, what will be his motivation going forward?
Ezra: Probably "Why?" based. Yeah, I think that’s probably going to be everyone’s question and I think that would be the next pertinent one, but I really have no idea. And it’s lovely.
Press: What would be a political allegory for you guys, if you saw one?
Ezra: Belief is dangerous. Be careful who, if anyone, you ever give it to. Work on one’s self and rid yourself of fear before you show up to history to be manipulated by people who manipulate the fear in your heart and your belly. What else we got?
Claudia: Fear and love.
Ezra: Fear and love are two things.
Claudia: Everyone has a choice.
Press: If I can ask a question to Claudia? I'm from Nerds of Color, let’s say sometimes in this industry it can be difficult for Asian-Americans to get the main roles in huge franchises like this and I feel like with you being cast, how do you feel in terms of this as a shift in the industry? Do you think that the opportunities for major huge franchises like this, and you playing a character not just in this movie, but rooted in the mythology of something as deep as Harry Potter, indicates a potential shift in the dynamic of people of color getting bigger roles in Hollywood?
Claudia: Definitely, and I’m not even an Asian-American. [laughs] So can you imagine? And yeah, so back home I’m just getting so much love and support beyond anything that I’ve ever imagined. And I know that some people have voiced things about, “Why is Nagini, the Asian person, doomed to become this snake?” and still I think that’s such an important movement; it’s such an important voice that’s changing things for us right now. It’s just the beginning. I feel like, yes, I’ve experienced these obvious Asian roles being replaced by Caucasians and my friends and I talk about this “one Asian rule” movie thing. And all that has to improve, and that’s why I feel more grateful that I’m a part of this franchise. I feel the weight of the responsibility.
Catherine: Nagini is actually very loving and caring and protective toward Credence, which I think a lot of us were really surprised by. But what do you think draws her to him? That was never really explained. We jump into the middle of their relationship where they’re already fully making plans together to move on, to move forward, so what draws her to him in order to be loving and protective?
Claudia: I feel like she sees herself in him. She identifies with his loneliness and just being lost, that vulnerability. But I think she’s drawn because he gives her hope. I think she hasn’t yet discovered that she can use her powers to... maybe it might not be a power; it is a curse, after all. But she has this incredibly powerful beast living inside of her and she hasn’t made use of that yet. Credence is the one that motivates her to escape, to take that freedom and go on this journey with him to find the answer.
Ezra: And vice versa, of course. And then she bites Skender in the face.
Ezra: And we are out that... and that's a spoiler, though, but it happens pretty soon in the film. We escape! We escape that circus for young lords.
Press: Ezra, what does it feel like when you’re just out and about? I mean, you also have this huge fanbase now.
Ezra: You mean when I go hiking through the countryside?
Press: Yeah, when you’re hiking through the countryside, what do people ask you about what movie and what do they want you to...?
Ezra: They tip the hat, you know, a tip of my hairnet, return to the kitchens.
Press: Do you ever find challenges filming and also dedicating time to Sons of an Illustrious father?
Ezra: No, I don’t find it difficult at all. My babies are with me almost always and we are always making work in a lot of different capacities at all times. Sons of an Illustrious Father is one project. We’ve put a lot of work and time into it. We’re on a European tour the second I get off this press tour. So no, I find it delightful [and] fulfilling.
Press: Claudia, what could Hollywood learn from the Korean film industry and vice versa?
Claudia: Korean films have such a distinct style. Our films are really dark. Korean people are not. [laughs] But we have a dark side. They’re very dark, very serious, and I feel like, at least the Hollywood films I’ve been in, have been more light. There’s comedy and a sense of humor, so I guess Koreans could learn to be a little more funny. [laughs]
Claudia: Yes, han.
Press: What’s that?
Claudia: Han is, like, deep sorrow.
Ezra: Sorrow beyond reconciliation.
Claudia: Yeah, you know Korea so well.
Press: And vice-versa, what could Hollywood learn from the amazing Korean film industry?
Claudia: [laughs] It's just so different. A lot of people are crossing over now, so the collaborations are always interesting. It's just such a different market, different people, and different cultures.
Press: [unintelligible] .working with Johnny Depp as Grindelwald, I feel you can fall under the spell of Johnny Depp. You have the chance to hang out with him and watch his previous movies or works that were really inspiring?
Ezra: Deeply, deeply immersive experience we shared over a short period of time. In which, definitely a lot was shared and discussed. And a lot was shared in strange and ineffable ways in the course of trying to create this complicated dynamic. I really like the way that it plays in this movie, as the continuity between Credence's relationship with Grindelwald in the body of Percival Graves and transitioning into now this true form. We had a lot to think and talk about and to work on. So it was a thoroughly engaging and interesting experience for sure.
Press: This film is about the sibling-hood of the Muggle and snake and wizard... their good friendship, their making. How did you guys see this idea in this world? Nowadays, in reality, we are having so many issues right now in each part of the planet. How do you see yourself to this world and...?
Ezra: Sure, sure. Something interesting, and obviously something that J.K. Rowling's work is constantly, clearly seeking to deconstruct, is the mechanisms by which we remove compassion or remove the effort to achieve understanding when it comes to any fellow being. And in this series, we are talking about that when it comes to how we all regard each other, and the supposition in the J.K. Rowling-verse has always been that just because it's a magical world doesn't mean that it's a world free from othering, bigotry, hatred, fear, and war-mongering. And so these films start to further deconstruct some of those mechanisms and really start to look how we do that and that leaves us vulnerable to people who would have us do that, just to be pawns for their interests. I think that is a timeless message and a very excruciatingly relevant message right now.
Press: Going back to the original question that I had at the start about how you don't know what's going to happen until you actually see it, how do you - in your minds - carry these characters that you're going to be playing over maybe ten years?
Ezra: That's the pleasure of doing this work. It's something I really enjoy about it, having time to continue. I feel like, on a certain level, you have to dwell with the characters forever, anyway. Because you've interacted with that aspect of yourself. It's always around anyway, and I feel like to be able to return to it and spend more time, plunging in deeper, figuring out more is really exciting to me.
Press: Do you ever offer suggestions about what you should or shouldn't be doing or maybe missing from when you see the screenplays?
Ezra: Oh, I've never felt that.
Claudia: No. I just wanted to say that David allows a lot of space for us to explore what feels right for us. And I think that's the reason that's why he made me transform into the snake in person. Was that necessary? [laughs] But I think he was seeking inspiration, too, as to the writing of it. I don't know.
Ezra: Yeah. He does a lot of stuff like that, actually.
Claudia: Yeah. He takes so much time to discuss the character [or] the scene with us before we get into anything. And you'd think that with a writer like Jo... In Korea, we have some of those writers where you can't change a single word, or you won't be in that show anymore. [laughs] It's kind of like that. There's that fear of...
Press: Do not disturb.
Claudia: Yes. But they're not like that at all. The only thing that Jo has emphasized to me is her love for my character.
Press: Between Helen Cho and the Marvel universe, Barry Allen in the DC universe, and Credence and Nagini in the wizarding world, have these roles and experiences really allowed you to embrace your inner geeks? And have you gotten fully immersed in the mythologies of the different mediums that you guys have played a part of?
Ezra: We're both geeks from the way back.
Ezra: You're talking to two extreme nerds who have been in full embrace of geekiness for a long, long time. That's why we're here to begin with, don't you understand?
Claudia: And the way they greet you is not like, "Oh. Welcome." It's like, "Welcome to this universe. You never know what's going to happen. Keep an open mind."