J.K. Rowling knows that fans can't get enough of the Wizarding World. It's why she's given us the Fantastic Beasts series not long after finishing her revolutionary Harry Potter story. Although nothing will ever top the magical coming age story that tackled such complex topics as loss, love, and the meaning of friendship, Fantastic Beasts is a worthy follow-up.
Fantastic Beasts add to the overall lore of the series, but it also deals with its own relevant themes and continues those explored in Harry Potter. This doesn't take away from the fact that the films are just plain fun. This is especially true for audience members who don't understand how movies are made. Their lack of knowledge adds to the wonderful adventure of it all. Going in blind can be rewarding, but taking a look at behind-the-scenes photos can add a bit of fun to the experience, as well.
With Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald about to hit cinemas everywhere, it seems like the perfect time to learn a bit more about the making of the first Fantastic Beasts film, as well as have our minds blown by the sheer magic of it all. Be aware, some of these photos will alter your perspective of these films. They'll expose some of the realities of big-budget filmmaking, while others will seem just plain goofy. Honestly, all of it is part of the fun of delving into this magical world.
Without further ado, here are 25 Behind-The-Scenes Photos That Change Everything.
25 Newt Nurses A Light
For the most part, blockbusters nowadays avoid practical effects and instead use CGI. Many believe that it's more cost-effective and, most importantly, allows filmmakers to have complete control over the action. However, some filmmakers will do their best to include some elements of practical effects like the one shown above.
In this scene, Newt Scamander is nursing one of his magical creatures in his suitcase. Although the creature would later be created, the filmmakers gave him a swaddle prop to hold. The creature the prop was supposed to be emitted light. Therefore, they needed to do that practically as to get the natural bouncing of light on the actor's face.
24 Queenie's Wand Play
It must have been difficult for actors to take wand-waving seriously. After all, they're simply flicking around a stick when they're shooting. Only later will they see the results of said flicking. Acting takes a certain amount of imagination, but when working with computer-generated charms, spells, and curses, one needs to have a large amount of creativity.
Alison Sudol, who plays Quennie Goldstein, seems pretty comfortable with her wand skills. In this Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them behind-the-scenes photo, she appears confident and focused. Director David Yates looks on, seemingly happy with the wonderful actor's work.
23 Creating The Thunderbird
Newt's Thunderbird, Frank, is sort of the deus ex machina of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and he took a lot of work to create.
As we can see from this image, not only did the Thunderbird have to be created from scratch, but so did the backdrop behind it. They couldn't film New York City as it is today since the film takes place in the 1920s. After the backgrounds of the aerial shots were made, the filmmakers had to animate the bird. That process began by forming a rough, colorless, creature in the sky.
22 Newt At The Ready
Academy Award-winning actor Eddie Redmayne clearly has no problem jumping into the Wizarding World. At least in this behind-the-scenes photograph, it appears as if Redmayne is playing around on a legitimate set. This means that he didn't have to extend his imagination that much. Instead, he could just focus on his character, and his external specific goal to recapture his magical creatures who are causing havoc around New York City.
For this scene, the filmmakers are using a steady-cam. This means that their intent was to move the camera in strange directions while maintaining stability and allowing the actor to move freely.
21 Throwing It Back To 1926
One of the most striking elements of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was the setting in New York City during 1926. This period had such a specific and recognizable style. The production design team did an excellent job bringing back the era, as we can see from this behind-the-scenes photo.
The creative team completely nailed the look and feel of the 1920s. Everything from the architecture to the clothing, and even the fonts used in storefront windows look as if they were brought back via a time machine. The actors must have loved interacting with these sets, as it could help them get into character.
20 Graves The Fashionista
Colin Ferrell was given a great opportunity when he joined Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. His character, Graves, was secretly Gellert Grindelwald in disguise. This meant that Ferrell only had to shoot one of these demanding movies and still reaped the benefits of being in them.
One of the benefits of being in a Fantastic Beasts movie is that one gets to wear great costumes. Without a doubt, Graves had the best costume in the movie. His long black coat and stylish scarf probably allowed Ferrell to feel confident about the mysterious character he was playing. As we can see from this photo, he seems to be relishing the opportunity.
19 Cars In The 1920s
One of the easiest ways to figure out what decade a movie takes place in is by looking at the cars. Since Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them took place in New York during 1926, the filmmakers had to make sure they acquired the right vehicles. Not only did they have to procure passenger vehicles, but they also had to create police department cars like the ones featured above.
Once these cars were found or assembled, they had to be trucked onto the set. Some of them are prop cars that were used for minor interactions with actors. Others actually had to drive. Although some of the cars were created via CGI, this image proves that a lot of them were real as well.
18 Samantha Morton Humanizes Mary Lou
In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Samantha Morton's Mary Lou is easily one of the most reprehensible characters. After all, she's openly bigoted to those who are different than her, especially to those who have magical blood. Mary Lou is also awful to Credence and the children she looks after. In this photo, however, she seems completely approachable.
This behind-the-scenes photo humanizes Mary Lou as it depicts Morton have a warm chat with her director, David Yates. Seeing actors between takes like this reminds us that they're simply doing their job like the rest of us. No matter if they're portraying a likable hero or a dastardly villain, they simply need to earn a living.
17 Kowalski Working With The Blue Screen
One of the more impressive scenes in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was when Newt took No-Maj Jacob Kowalski into his magical suitcase. Much like the tent in The Goblet of Fire, his suitcase used an extension charm that allowed Newt to house all of the magical creatures he protected and nurtured.
As seen in the photo above, the suitcase set did include some physical aspects. They allowed the actors to interact with their environment, even though much of their surroundings were blue screen. This gave actors Eddie Redmayne and Dan Fogler the bare minimum to act with. After all, most of what they were looking at in the movie were created after they shot their scenes.
16 Daring Newt
This Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them behind-the-scenes photo proves that Eddie Redmayne isn't afraid to through himself all-in to his work. In this scene, Newt is forced up on top one of his magical creatures. The filmmakers created a giant green mass to act as the creature so that Redmayne could interact with something as he's hoisted into the air.
It doesn't look like there's much in the way of safety wires keeping him on top of that thing. Although the fall wouldn't be the worst, it would certainly hurt. Redmayne shows us that he has some courage.
15 Creating An Entire CGI World on set
This behind-the-scenes photo from the making of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is a real eye-opener. It shows us just how much work went into the creation of Newt Scamander's suitcase where he keeps all of his precious magical creatures. It also informs us of how few practical sets were used in the making of this movie.
If you look closely at the image, you'll see Ben Fogler's Jacob Kowalski carrying a bucket. Other than him, that bucket, and the floor he stands on, everything looks completely digital. Of course, much of the effects in this shot aren't finished, but it does look pretty silly. There has to be a reason why more practical sets weren't used in the filming process. Perhaps they would have made the film appear more realistic.
14 Tina takes a leap
It's so cool that the filmmakers behind Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them created a detailed set for the scene where Tina is put into a chair that will claim her life. Although the liquid floor had to be created with CGI, everything else was completely legitimate. They even had these two guys holding a platform for Katherine Waterston's Tina to jump on as she escaped.
Later on, the CGI team animated these guys out, put in the harmful liquid floor, and added Newt's swooping creature for Tina to step on. The mixture of practical and visual effects added to the realism of the scene.
13 Creating Snow
This behind-the-scenes image from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them shows us how the filmmakers created the scene where Newt and Jacob are attempting to capture the Erumpents. Although the wall and the broken bits are practical effects, almost everything else was created with CGI. This makes sense as the Erumpents is crashing through the snow and ice in this scene. +
Since the environment was being disturbed in such a way, it was safer and more practical to create it all in post-production. This meant the filmmakers not only had to great the giant magical creature but all of the snow and ice as well.
12 Giving Gnarlack Life
There are various behind-the-scenes videos that break down the CGI in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. By watching them, we gain a little bit of insight into the long and arduous process the creative and technical team go through to make magic a reality. In this post-production video, we see how they created Ron Perlman's gangster goblin, Gnarlack.
After creating a digital skeleton for the character, the CG team gave Gnarlack some skin and muscles. Then they gave his clothing some texture, even though there was no color on the body yet. After perfecting a clay-looking version, they finally added some color and life.
11 Building The Fairy Singer
The scene in The Blind Pig Speakeasy was clearly one of the most visually demanding in all of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. After all, it contained a great number of characters that needed to be created in post-production. Additionally, there was a large amount of magic floating around in the air.
The fairy singer in the speakeasy was created in the same way that the CGI team brought Ron Perlman's Gnarlack to life. First, they designed and shot the speakeasy as if it were a real place. They populated the room with real actors and adequate lighting. They then placed all of these wonderfully magical elements on top of the existing footage. All of this work should give us a deep appreciation for the artistic and technical talent needed to pull something like this off.
10 One Happy Credence
This behind-the-scenes image from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them features Ezra Miller looking entirely normal. After seeing the movie, it's a tad strange to picture Miller without depressingly dark clothes and frown on his face. After all, his character, Creedence Barebone was particularly lonely, angry, and kinda disturbed in the film.
This image shows how happy-go-lucky Ezra Miller can be when he's not playing J.K. Rowling's original character. Ezra Miller reprises his role as the Obscurial-ridden Muggle-born in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
9 Taking Gnarlack Down To His Core
Before the CG team gave Ron Perlman's gangster goblin, Gnarlack, life, they had to take him down to his core. As seen in this post-production video about the making of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them's CGI, we see that a skeleton was the first thing they created for the character. Even though a goblin's anatomy is only slightly different than that of a human, they needed to know how the character's body would allow him to move.
They then added muscles to Gnarlack, as that not only filled out his body but also dictated how much weight the character would carry.
8 Send In The Aurors
At the end of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Aurors are sent across town to fix wrecked buildings, cars, and streets. This happened while the Thunderbird was sending magical rain onto all of the No-Majs in order to clear their memory of all that had happened in the story.
For this shot, the actors were fortunate enough to work on a mostly complete set. This entirely hand-made street, complete with decade-accurate buildings and active lamp-posts, was set against a giant green screen. This allowed the CGI team to create the cityscape that we saw in the finished product.
7 The Niffler's Muscles
When building a computer-generated creature, the FX team has to construct it as if it were a living, breathing animal. In order to make it move the way a real mammal would, they needed to create all of its muscles. This would allow them to see how each body part would move when in action. From there, they give the animal all of its defining features, including its skin, hair, and eyes.
We can see exactly how the CGI team created the Niffler in this behind-the-scenes photo from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Not only does it give us some insight into the creative and technical process, but it gives us some appreciation for it to. At the very least, it alters our perspective.
6 Integrating Live-Action And CGI
In this behind-the-scenes shot from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, we see how different it was for Eddie Redmayne on set, versus what the end result would be.
Not only did Redmayne have to pretend that the creature was there, but he also had to imagine that he was outside in the snow. There are so many variables that prove how challenging it is for an actor to work with green screens. Additionally, it shows how creative a CGI team can be, since they then had to create the entire park that Redmayne's Newt was in.
5 Animating Gnarlack And The Bowtruckle
When creating Pickett the Bowtruckle, an animated skeleton wouldn't be all that beneficial. After all, the minuscule character doesn't move or even look like a human. This behind-the-scenes image from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them shows us that Pickett was probably one of the final elements added into the scene. Even though the animation for Ron Perlman's Gnarlack still looks raw, it's far more detailed than that of the Bowtruckle in his hand.
In the back, we see that there was a physical set, as well as real actors. In all likelihood, there was a prop or person standing in for the character on set in order for the camera to know where to be. This person or prop was later taken out to allow the CGI team to work their magic.
4 Building The Erumpents
CGMeetUp was able to visually break down the process that the CGI workers had to go through for creating the Erumpents capture scene from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. In this behind-the-scenes image, we can see that the creature started off as a giant clay-looking blob that was void of color.
They needed to go through this process as it allowed them to accurately determine how the big creature would interact with the location, as well as how much space it would take up on screen. From there, they could add texture, color, and bounce the right lighting off of its skin. The whole process is quite taxing, but very rewarding for those who love to do it.
3 Making Day into Night
Sometimes, filmmakers have to shoot scenes in the day that will eventually take place at night. That seems to be the case for this scene from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them when Newt and Jacob are attempting to capture the Erumpents. Although this scene is shot in a studio, it had to be lit as if it took place during the day. This allowed the CGI team more freedom to manipulate the environment in post-production.
If the filmmakers decide to shoot something in the dark, it's far harder for the CGI geniuses to make something lighter if they need to. However, the opposite works well for them. Thanks to this behind-the-scenes photo, we gain a little insight into movie magic.
2 The Senator's Rally
Since a lot of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is about the possibility of exposure and thus a war between the Muggles (otherwise known as "No-Maj") and the Wizarding World, it was important to show both sides. One of the ways the filmmakers did this was focus on Senator Henry Shaw Jr., played by Josh Cowdrey.
In this behind-the-scenes photo, Senator Shaw addresses his adoring fans about the dangers the city faces. Instead of using a green screen, a set was constructed and a boatload of extras were trucked in and dressed up as 1920s citizens. The centerpiece has got to be the ginormous portrait of Shaw. Could you imagine what it would have been like for artists to spend hours painting the details of Cowdrey's face on a massive canvas?
1 Interacting With The Thunderbird
It takes a real actor to be able to authentically interact with a creature that's not really there. In this scene, Newt takes Jacob into his magical suitcase where he houses all of his magical creatures. This particular creature, a Thunderbird named Frank, had to be completely animated. Since Newt had to physically interact with it by rubbing its head, actor Eddie Redmayne needed something to touch.
A simple, make-shift head was created for Redmayne to interact with. The head of the Thunderbird also gave CGI artists a proper location and scale for the creature they needed to completely create. Small behind-the-scenes details such as this one are the reason why so many fans are fascinate by the making of the Fantastic Beasts movie.
Which Fantastic Beasts behind-the-scenes photo changes everything for you? Let us know in the comments!