FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM: David Heyman interview

Yeah, Newt strikes me as a really unusual kind of character. Most movies you see about a hero of his own franchise, they’re not like Newt. He’s a lot more awkward. He almost read to me like someone that’s on the spectrum. Was that something you thought about?

Absolutely. You may be in love, you may have a boyfriend or a husband or a girlfriend, you maybe have really close friends, but you still feel alone at times. You may be comfortable in some situations but there are some situations where you feel really uncomfortable socially. That’s Newt. Newt’s alone. There’s a sadness about him. I think we all have that sadness in us. I think Newt is someone who communicates better with his beasts than with people. I know at dinner parties, I like to go and do the washing, because that way I can go and hide and be on my own. That’s Newt. He would go be with his animals.

Yeah, he’s really unusually introverted for an action hero kind of guy.

But he’s not an action hero, that’s the thing about him. I mean, he’s a hero. But he’s us. He’s you. He’s me. He’s not a superhero. I love some of those superhero movies. But I know I won’t be able to fly. I know I won’t be able to do things that Iron Man can do, or Superman can do, or Batman can do. I just won’t. I know I can love animals. I may not be able to use a wand. But I think that Newt is a very accessible and relatable hero.

Do you have any plans to bring any explicitly gay characters into the Harry Potter franchise?

We haven’t talked about it. We haven’t talked about that specifically. Not yet.

Is it something that you think could happen, that you want to see happen?

I have no idea. Possibly. I mean, clearly, Jo did talk about Dumbledore being gay. But we haven’t talked about that being the driving force behind casting or any of the characters. That hasn’t been discussed yet.

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM: David Heyman interview

I know you have plans to make — I guess now it’s going to be five films total, right?

Hopefully.

And the next one is going to go to Paris. So you’ve started out in Europe, you’re going to America now, do you also have plans to visit some of the other continents, like South America or Asia?

We haven’t really talked about it. I suspect with the specter of World War II looming large in the not-too-distant future, it wouldn’t surprise me if Europe is quite central to this series. But I have no idea.

Who do you think is a bigger threat, Grindelwald or Voldemort? Who do you think is more evil?

I think both are evil. I think the thing that Grindelwald has that maybe Voldemort doesn’t is, Voldemort was pure — he was just a brute, a bully. The thing about Grindelwald is, I understand what he’s saying. When Grindelwald talks about living in the shadows and why should we live in the shadows, I understand that. Why? Why should wizards have to live underground? That’s not right. I don’t agree with his attitude toward people who are different to him. But I understand. He makes sense. So he has the ability to persuade, to seduce, to make you come on the side of what he is thinking. That is scary.

As the franchise continues to move forward, are we going to see the storyline in Fantastic Beasts start to converge with real history at all?

I think if you look at all of her works, there’s a connection. The themes are connected to real history, both of the time and of today. And clearly, the time that it’s set, which is between the wars, 1926 and carrying on, where fascism is on the rise and World War II is around the corner, I know that there must be a reason. Whether Newt goes to war, I have no idea.

Okay. I want to switch gears real quick and ask about a different project you’re working on. I know you’ve been working on Willy Wonka, so what exactly is it? It sounds like it’s not a remake. Is it an origin story?

Yeah, it’s not a remake. They’ve done two films, quite different. But it’s possibly an origin story. We’re just in the early stages of it, working with a writer called Simon Rich, which is wonderful. I’m a huge Roald Dahl fan. I’ve been trying to work on Dahl material for quite some time but they’re all tied up. So when this was suggested, I didn’t take a moment to pause and want to jump right in. It’s challenging because you don’t have Dahl, you don’t have a Dahl book, and yet you have a Dahl character. But I think there’s a lot in his character that suggests who he is and also where he might come from or what his childhood or his middle age might have been like. So we’re exploring that. We’re discussing it. We’re in the very early stages and very excited about what lies ahead.

So you’re basically still developing the screenplay.

Yeah, very early on.

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is in theaters now.

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