After spending two straight falls consumed by awards season, Eddie Redmayne is taking a break from the Oscars and fronting his first franchise.
In the Harry Potter prequel “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” the mantle of J.K. Rowling’s leading man has been passed from Radcliffe to Redmayne. His Newt Scamander also wields a wand, but he’s a humbler operator in the same magical realm. Newt is a sheepish Brit arriving in 1926 New York, with a leather case stuffed with wondrous but outlawed creatures.
Though the film, which also stars Colin Farrell, Katherine Waterson and Dan Fogler, is an ensemble, Redmayne is undoubtedly the freckled face of the new Pottermania. It’s a new, high-pressured role for Redmayne, an Oscar winner for his Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything” and a nominee for last year’s “The Danish Girl.” So is fatherhood; in June, his wife, Hannah Bagshawe, gave birth to their daughter, Iris.
A few hours after taking a break from promotional duties with Iris, Redmayne chatted in a downtown Manhattan hotel about his headlong dive into Rowling’s empire, the film’s multicultural message and just how many movies he’s gotten himself into.
AP: Your first blush with the Harry Potter world came much earlier, didn’t it?
Redmayne: This is true. When I was at university, they were casting the net quite wide for Tom Riddle, the young Voldemort. I had gotten an audition. I think I was seeing the casting director’s eighth assistant. I remember surviving about three and a half lines of the first scene before I was shown the door, so I wasn’t very successful. It wasn’t the greatest introduction to the Harry Potter world. Read More