Warner Bros. is moving forward with a spinoff of the Harry Potter franchise, titled Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The movie tells the story of the wizard who authored the eponymous Hogwarts textbook, Newt Scamander, and is being scripted by Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling, with David Yates – director on the final four Potter movies – lined up as its helmsman. Fantastic Beasts, if all goes to plan, will kickoff a new film trilogy, and WB has already reserved release dates in 2018 and 2020 that could wind up going to said sequels.
Production on Fantastic Beasts isn’t expect to begin until 2015, in part because Yates first needs to finish shooting a new Tarzan movie – scheduled to be released by WB in Summer 2016 – before he makes the return trip to the Wizarding World. Meanwhile, it looks as though Rowling is still in the process of finishing the Fantastic Beasts movie screenplay, judging by this recent Tweet from her verified Twitter account:
Very busy at the moment working on a novel, tweaking a screenplay and being involved in @lumos campaigns. Back when I've finished something!— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) October 5, 2014
Rowling later followed the update on her work slate with a far more enigmatic message (teasing it as being “Something to ponder while I’m away”):
Cry, foe! Run amok! Fa awry! My wand won’t tolerate this nonsense.— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) October 6, 2014
This morning, the author/screenwriter clarified that the “solution” to her puzzle is the beginning of her synopsis for the Fantastic Beasts movie – something that “isn’t part of the script, but sets the scene.” Rowling previously revealed that the Fantastic Beasts takes place seventy years before the first Harry Potter installment, and her other recent Tweet – mentioning “Newt Scamander’s History of New York Fauna: One town, my tale” – is a reference to the fact that Newt’s adventure of documenting the various magical creatures around the globe starts out in New York.
Rowling, by most accounts, was pretty hands-off when it came to the screenwriting process on the previous Harry Potter film adaptations, so it’ll be interesting to see how the storytelling approach for Fantastic Beasts compares to the eight Potter movies. Films penned by writers who have a background primarily in literature tend to be, well, noticeably literary in their narrative and thematic structure (see: Gillian Flynn’s script adaptation of her Gone Girl novel).
That may continue to hold true for Fantastic Beasts, even though it’s (at most) a very loose adaptation of the Fantastic Beasts fictional textbook. Scamander’s adventure, like Harry’s, should also vary significantly in tone throughout, given that the “beasts” he’ll encounter should be everything from terrifying and dangerous to the comically-unusual and harmless. Rowling and Yates have proven to be adapt at managing drastic tonal shifts in the past, and that should continue to hold true for Fantastic Beasts.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens in U.S. theaters on November 18th, 2016.
Source: J.K. Rowling
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