Jude Law and the Dumbledore Twinkle”
SPOILERS AHEAD: PROCEED WITH CAUTION
When Jude Law’s young Dumbledore first appears on-screen in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, his back is to Newt and the camera. The excitement builds when Newt calls his name for the first time. Then Dumbledore turns around. Jude Law executes this introduction to Dumbledore with such grace.
Even the cast was blown away by Law’s portrayal of this well-beloved character. During the Fans First event last Saturday, Eddie Redmayne told the fans in a live Q&A how well Jude Law embodied the “Dumbledore twinkle.” He told fans that the Potter/Fantastic Beasts family on set were breathless by Law’s performance and that they could see the legendary “twinkle of Dumbledore’s eyes” in Law’s facial expression from the start. As Dumbledore turns to face Newt, we could see it too.
In true Dumbledore fashion, Law portrays Dumbledore as mysteriously “three steps ahead.” Or as Ezra Miller put it during the live Q&A, “three movies ahead.” Law delivers an evasive, sometimes manipulative Dumbledore, but a Dumbledore who is still lovable. Dumbledore is young, less experienced, and deeply troubled. Most of the adversity of his younger years is still fresh, and he has a lot to learn from and grow through before we meet him again 60 years later.
With Dumbledore’s complicated relationship with Grindelwald, Law is careful not to overplay the character. The Dumbledore we know from the Potter series was very elusive about his personal life and family. Even now, Dumbledore’s inner turmoil remains very private and internal. When Dumbledore tells Newt that he “cannot move against Grindelwald,” he does not tell Newt why. When Travers – Head of Magical Law Enforcement at the Ministry of Magic – invades Dumbledore’s personal boundaries by projecting an image of teenage Grindelwald and Dumbledore “as close as brothers,” Law softly says, “We were closer than brothers.” It is subtle, but Dumbledore rarely lets his vulnerability show in front of others.
Throughout the tossing and turning of Crimes of Grindelwald, we became fully committed to Jude Law as Dumbledore. He was less present in the film than we expected, and we cannot wait to see more from him in future films. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald hits theaters November 16.