VFX Supervisor Christian Manz Talks Magic and Nifflers in New Interview

In a recent interview with Flickering Myth, VFX supervisor Christian Manz discussed creating visual effects for the Fantastic Beasts franchise. He also talked about his past work with the Harry Potter film series.

He first spoke about his job and what has changed since he began with the Harry Potter series.

It’s becoming tougher to meet the audience’s expectations because the bar raises [sic] every year, especially when it comes to awards season time and you see the films that have risen to the top.

He also spoke about being able to work on the film with J.K. Rowling and what it was like to try to meet her expectations.

It’s just generally very exciting, though. We’ve all got out artists in house and it’s really exciting to have the person who has created this world in the room with you talking about it. She’s such a lovely person and generous enough to let you explore, so you get the best out of us by having her there.

Because the wizarding world films have spanned 18 years so far, Manz has previously had to consider the consistency of the magical effects that have been shown throughout the Potter films. However, the VFX team has been able to further experiment with its effects style in the Fantastic Beasts films.

It’s really important that we do obey our own rules in terms of looks of things. But of course, you’re trying to make things look better when someone Apparates or there’s a wand effect, for example.

Where we do have the freedom is that the Potter films are in a school where people are learning, and that was seventy years after the Fantastic Beasts stories. Here, these wizards have all learned magic slightly differently, so they can validly look different.

He mentioned his inspiration for one aspect of the circus that can be seen in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

I’ve been with my kids near the Science Museum and there was somebody making huge bubbles and I thought it would be amazing if children could leap into them. David loved that idea and then we worked that up into a finished effect.

Manz also spoke on filming in London.

I think it’s really important because, from a visual effects perspective, I can say that I think the Harry Potter franchise helped build the British visual effects industry. Suddenly, we were working on films in London that you only dreamed of having to go to the West Coast to work on.

It’s no surprise that the fan-favorite creature in the Fantastic Beasts films is also the visual creator’s favorite.

I always go to the Niffler. We created him for film one and then got to revisit him again. It’s so rewarding when you watch the film and you hear people chuckling or saying how much they enjoy that character, even though he’s an animal.

Everybody sees something in him that you’ve seen in a pet, which is why I think people love him.

He also talked about one of the new creatures created for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

That was there from the early script – the [z]ouwu particularly. Tim and I worked initially together on designing the creature, which was definitely a Chinese tiger-like thing. We had lots of different designs, but it eventually boiled down to a crazy bit of concept artwork that David wasn’t sure about. One of our animators built and animated it, and as soon as David saw that animation, he just loved it and we knew we’d got the [z]ouwu.

Manz also spoke about the BAFTA nomination for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

When we got the BAFTA nomination, to say I was over the moon was an understatement. Sadly, we already knew we weren’t getting on the Oscars list. The BAFTA nomination really validated everybody’s hard work.

Lastly, Manz gave the fans the smallest teaser for Fantastic Beasts 3!

Some new beasts! I’m currently pinning designs to the wall of new creatures.

Find the full interview here.

Are you excited for the new creatures coming to the Fantastic Beasts franchise? Comment below and let us know!

Hannah Howard

I am a proud Hufflepuff and am completely captivated by the Wizarding World. I can typically be found on the couch working on articles with my laptop, my cat, and a cup of coffee.