As the continuation of a franchise that made billions of dollars at the box office, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’s cast and crew must have felt great pressure. Fortunately for them, it is safe to say that their hard work paid off, since the movie managed to pull in more than $800 million at the box office.
An ambitious film that features some incredible special effects, a huge cast, and showed a world that people love in an all-new light, it is amazing how much effort went into the crafting of this film. Brought to life due to the hard work of a small army of people, some of those involved in making the movie have revealed fascinating aspects of its production that are amazing to learn about. With that in mind, it is time to look at this list of 25 wild details behind the making of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
In order for a piece of information to be considered for possible inclusion in this list, it must, first and foremost, relate to the making of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in one way or another. On top of that, something about it needs to be astonishing enough to hold the interest of the series' fans. Of course, it should be noted that every person’s knowledge base is different, so huge fans may be aware of some things to come.
Here are 25 Wild Details Behind The Making Of Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.
25 Puppets Were Used as "Beasts" on Set
One of the biggest challenges of acting in a special effects-heavy film is that you are consistently asked to pretend you are interacting with things that aren’t really there. This is especially difficult in a movie like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, since the creatures all had individual personalities. The actors had to do their best to envision some wacky animals.
In an effort to make that task at least a little bit easier, the effects team had puppets that represented the movie’s creatures on set during their scenes. That may sound weak but Alison Sudol, who played Queenie said of the puppets “the way that they moved, the sounds they made, were so visual, so vivid”.
24 Eddie Redmayne Grilled J.K. Rowling For Info When They First Met
An opportunity that would be a dream come true for many fans of the Wizarding World, even being able to briefly meet J.K. Rowling would be pretty incredible. More exciting still, when Eddie Redmayne got to spend time with the famous author after he was cast to play Newt Scamander he had the perfect excuse to pick her brain about the universe she’d spent years crafting.
Speaking of the experience, Redmayne revealed he knew Rowling wouldn’t be around long so he “basically grilled her for an hour” and that “it was so phenomenal”.
23 A Major Prop Was Designed to Look Similar to Ones from the Potter Films
As a film that takes place several decades earlier than any of the other Harry Potter films, when it came time to make Fantastic Beasts the ways it could reference its predecessors were somewhat limited. For instance, it would make absolutely no sense for Harry, Hermione, or Ron to show up, and Dumbledore was not set to appear until the sequel. That doesn’t mean that Fantastic Beasts was totally absent of Harry Potter movie references, however, as the props were designed to exist in the same world.
Seraphina Picquery’s throne was meant to bring to mind Dumbledore’s original regal seat at Hogwarts.
22 Eddie Redmayne's Important Role in the Audition Process
Cast extremely early in the pre-production process, Eddie Redmayne’s role in the Fantastic Beasts franchise was of great importance. In addition having their lead actor set in stone, signing Redmayne when they did also allowed producers to involve him in the casting of his co-stars.
Since it was so important that Eddie had chemistry with the movie’s other leads, his kind nature also made his inclusion of the process even more helpful. Prior to actors auditioning, Redmayne visited with them, offered encouragement, and even ran lines with his potential co-stars.
21 The Actors Got to Design Their Character’s Wands
While it seems foolish to think that any of us regular Joes could accurately imagine how it would feel to star in a Wizarding World movie, there are certain parts of it that seem easier to envision. For instance, one thing that seems very clear is that, unless an actor had become jaded, it would be very exciting to be presented with their character’s wand for the first time.
Amazingly enough, at least in the case of Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston, they were also given the opportunity to aid in the designing of their wands. Speaking of how it worked, Waterston revealed “it was such a collaborative process” and “they gave us lots of options.”
20 Eddie Redmayne bombed an audition for Kylo Ren in Star Wars before Newt
Just prior to landing the role of Newt Scamander, Eddie Redmayne auditioned for an even more impactful role: Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens. Furthermore, had he been cast in that role, Redmayne would not have had the time available to star in Fantastic Beasts.
Fortunately for Potter fans, by his own admission, he was awful in his audition, in part because he was attempting to sound similar to Darth Vader. Amusingly enough, Redmayne even referred to his attempts to do a “koohh paaaah” voice.
19 The Movie was originally a mockumentary
Fans of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them are doubtlessly curious about the biggest decisions that made the movie what it became. It is simply astounding to learn that the idea of making the movie a mockumentary was even passingly suggested at one point.
During an interview with Collider, David Heyman said his fellow producer Lionel Wigram had the idea to make the movie “a documentary about Newt.” We don’t even want to imagine a big-screen Wizarding World mockumentary-- it just wouldn't be the same.
18 When Ezra Miller Celebrated Landing His Role In Public
As one of the best actors of his generation, Ezra Miller’s work in movies like We Need to Talk About Kevin and The Perks of Being a Wallflower make it clear how talented he is.
Cast as Credence Barebone in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, he brought a believability to a character that easily could have seemed cartoonish in a lesser actor’s hands. For that reason, we are overjoyed he is a part of this franchise. Evidently, he is too since he is a huge Potter fan that dropped to his knees and started yelling in the middle of New York when he learned he would be a part of this film.
17 An Early Draft of the Screenplay Was Much Darker
The first Wizarding World movie since the release of 2011’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them initially almost was much more similar to its predecessor. Instead, it is a much lighter film that in a lot of ways brings to mind the first two Harry Potter movies. It hints at difficult things to come but there is an innocence to it that is hard to deny.
However, during a press conference, J. K. Rowling revealed that almost wasn’t the case since one script she wrote “was really dark," but after a conversation with David Yates, she lightened things up.
16 Eddie Redmayne Worked Out for Months for a Cut Scene
Like many big-budget movies, Fantastic Beasts contained several deleted scenes, one of which must have been especially painful for Eddie Redmayne since he had spent so long getting ready to shoot it. Meant to be a revealing moment for Newt Scamander, in this deleted scene he had his shirt off which allowed the audience to see the many scars wrangling his creatures had left on his body.
Wanting to look his best for that moment, Redmayne revealed he’d done “months and months of training,” all for a moment that most people will never see. On top of that, it is a shame that viewers had no idea how far Newt went to protect innocent animals.
15 Many Cast Members Had No Idea About Johnny Depp’s Involvement
When Johnny Depp made an appearance in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’s final moments as Grindelwald, many fans were taken aback. After all, most studios would have been completely unwilling to have a bankable star in their movie and not promote them endlessly-- even if he is a controversial figure.
Fantastic Beasts stars Colin Farrell and Alison Sudol only found out about Depp’s involvement in the movie just before the public did. It's amazing that it never leaked during filming.
14 J.K. Rowling’s Script Included an Incredible Amount of Detail
One of the most successful writers of her generation, one of the major reasons that J.K. Rowling has so many fans is how descriptive and detailed her Potter novels are. Fortunately for everyone involved in making Fantastic Beasts, she wrote her script for the film in a similar way. Speaking of her screenwriting, Eddie Redmayne revealed that “when J.K. Rowling writes a script the detail in-between is so intricate and so exotic and enticing that it was all there.”
Going further than that, when speaking about his own character in the script, Redmayne said “it was so fully-formed that I had an absolute sense of who Newt was pretty much from the first time I read it”.
13 Extras Were Overheating
The extras hired to fill up the background of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them had it a lot more difficult due to the movie’s shooting schedule. Though filmed in August of 2015, the movie is set in the month of December, so when scenes took place outside anyone seen on camera had to be dressed like it was the winter.
This left the extras sweating due to the August temperatures, the heavy clothing they had on, and the heat thrown off by movie lightning.
12 Dakota Fanning and Saoirse Ronan almost played Queenie
Previously best known for her singing career, when Alison Sudol landed the role of Queenie in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them many filmgoers had no idea who she was. Fortunately for everyone involved, she was perfect for the role and her character became one of the best parts of the film, in large part due to her charming interactions with her love interest, Jacob.
Still, considering how likely it was that Fantastic Beasts would be a huge success, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that several other actors were considered for the role. In fact, at one point Saoirse Ronan, Dakota Fanning, and Lili Simmons were all also in the running to play Queenie.
11 Eddie Redmayne Had Previously Auditioned for Chamber of Secrets
As we touched on earlier in this list, the only reason Eddie Redmayne was available to star in Fantastic Beasts is that his audition to play Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Kylo Ren went poorly. Funnily enough, Redmayne bombing in another audition was equally important.
Speaking to Empire Online, Redmayne revealed that he “actually auditioned to play Tom Riddle when [he] was back at university.” The young version of Lord Voldemort was seen in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Luckily he didn't get the part, as there is no way Redmayne could play the franchise’s biggest villain and one of its heroes.
10 The Cameras Kept Rolling In Between Many Takes
There certainly are some amazing aspects of being a movie star but a lot of fans are unaware of how tedious it can be as well. Actors often have to wait around for hours as the film crew works to bring the director’s vision to life on the set. On top of that, when working on most major movies there also are large breaks between each take being filmed.
On the other hand, while making Fantastic Beasts director David Yates kept the film running in between takes so they could quickly try the scene again in order to keep the actors’ concentration intact.
9 The Movie Was Director David Yates' 5th Wizarding world Film
Almost universally embraced by the movie-going audience, the Harry Potter series is the 3rd highest grossing film franchise of all time. As a result, it is safe to say that directing one of the films must have felt extremely intimidating.
One of only four people who’ve helmed a movie in the Wizarding World, David Yates seems to have been quite comfortable in that role since he has done it so many times. In fact, Yates not only directed Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald but he also helmed the final 4 Harry Potter movies as well.
8 J.K. Rowling Wrote Her Very First Screenplay for the Film
Able to create a world that made millions of youngsters excited about reading for the first time, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter stories had a huge fan base long before they hit the big screen That level of success meant that when work began on the Harry Potter film franchise, Rowling had a hand in making many major decisions, including things like which actors and directors were hired.
However, the level of control she had over Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them went to a whole new level since she wrote the screenplay for the movie, which was a first in her career.
7 Collin Farrell Never Read any Harry Potter before Starring in the Film
Playing the most notable Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them villain, Colin Farrell was extensively interviewed about what it is like to star in a Wizarding World movie. Very forthright about how exciting it can be, he said things like “I would be a liar if I said being in a trailer where that score kicks in didn’t get me excited.”
That said, Farrell was honest about the fact that he is not a Potterhead. In fact, he even went so far as to reveal that when he gave the interview he’d never read a single Potter book.
6 David Yates Wasn’t Sure He Wanted to Direct Another Wizarding World movie
As we touched on previously, David Yates had already directed four Harry Potter movies prior to helming Fantastic Beasts. For that reason, Yates knew exactly how arduous it would be to work on another one of these movies, which could have motivated him to turn down directing this film. On top of that, Yates also could have felt like he’d already put enough of a stamp on the Wizarding World and decided to move on.
However, once he read Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’s script, he loved the material and was excited to build the new series from the ground up so he took the directing job.
5 J.K. Rowling Bought a Book on Screenplay Writing But Never Opened It
Already an experienced author when she began to script Fantastic Beasts, J.K. Rowling still revealed in a press conference that while working on her first script she decided to buy a book on screenwriting. Funnily enough, however, it turned out that she that wasted that money as Rowling went on to say of the book “it just sat on my desk."
She felt instead that her role in approving the scripts of Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves made him her script writing “tutor.” Based on the movie’s success she clearly didn’t need that book after all.
4 The niffler is based on the honey badger
One of the key factors that could decide whether or not Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was a success, was whether or not the movie’s fantastic beasts were believable on screen. For that reason, the special effects team behind the movie worked hard to make them seem as real as possible, including basing the way they move on real-life animals.
For instance, a special effects supervisor for the movie revealed that when it came to the movements of the highly memorable niffler, “one of the big inspirations was the honey badger.”
3 Eddie Redmayne Trained with Real Zookeepers for His Role
Eddie Redmayne also did a lot of homework on the way he should pretend to react to the fantastical animals. Cast as a character with a sweet soul and love of creatures of all sorts, Redmayne revealed in an interview that the movie’s director “wanted my relationship with the different creatures to feel real.”
That is why the actor “went off to various nature parks and met people who handled animals and learned some really idiosyncratic things that were completely useless.” Redmayne also said he also learned some more practical and useful things too.
2 The Deleted Musical Scene
A franchise of films that have been masterfully crafted, pretty much every element of the Wizarding World movies works to create a cinematic universe audiences could lose themselves in. Music can make all the difference in helping viewers immerse themselves in a factional world and the Harry Potter movies have wonderful scores. However, very little singing of any sort can be heard in this series.
Despite that, there was a scene shot for Fantastic Beasts in which Queenie and Tina sang the Ilvermorny school song . However, it was deleted and only seen once the movie was released on home media.
1 Eddie Redmayne Was the Only Choice for Newt
Quite possibly the most important decisions that were made during the production of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, casting the right people in lead roles was a huge deal. After all, almost all of the stars of the film would go on to play their pivotal part in the movie’s many sequels.
Most important of them all, when it came to casting Newt Scamander, it would have made sense for loads of actors to try out. Instead, the actor who played Newt, Eddie Redmayne, was the only one ever considered for the part. He didn’t even have to audition for the role.
Do you have any other trivia to share about Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them? Let us know in the comments!