Harry Potter for adults: The background on J.K. Rowling's first screenplay


The friend of magical beasts

Newt Scamander, the main character played by Eddie Redmayne, is a "magizoologist." He's afraid of wizards and especially of humans. He understands the magical creatures he is studying a lot better. A series of five "Fantastic Beasts" films will center on this character.


On a research trip

In the 1920s, Newt Scamander is traveling around the world to explore magical creatures. An unfortunate incident makes him stay longer than planned in New York, where he was only supposed to stop over. The fantastic beasts Scamander was carrying in his suitcase manage to escape and destroy the city.


Magical interrogation

For his serious offense, Newt Scamander is prosecuted by the Magical Congress of the United States of America. He is questioned by the Auror Percival Graves, played by Colin Farrell.


Love on a mission

While trying to recover his fantastic beasts, Newt Scamander meets Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston). As expected from a good blockbuster, the sparks from their magic wands aren't the only ones that fly...


Harry Potter's school book

Newt Scamander appears in the stories of Harry Potter as the author of a school book on fantastic beasts. J.K. Rowling published the book under Scamander's pseudonym. It includes different notes that Harry Potter scribbled into it while studying it.


Family ancestors in the Harry Potter universe

The magizoologist Newt Scamander was not only the author of Harry Potter's school book, but also the grandfather of Luna Lovegood's husband. Luna is the crazy outsider in the Hogwarts wizarding school who assists Harry Potter in his fight against his archenemy, the Dark Lord Voldemort.

J.K. Rowling's "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" takes place 70 years before Harry Potter entered Hogwarts school. The first film in a series of five opens worldwide this week.

The story is set in 1926 and reveals a series of new characters with magical powers. Eddie Redmayne stars as Newt Scamander, a "magizoologist" whose strange creatures escape from his leather case upon his arrival in New York.

"Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" marks J. K. Rowling's debut as a scriptwriter. The film is the first of five feature-length movies centering on the Scamander character.

Weltpremiere Phantastische Tierwesen und wo sie zu finden sind

Eddie Redmayne and J. K. Rowling at the world premiere of the movie

The British author had written a book with the same title in 2001, under the pseudonym Newt Scamander, which discusses the magical creatures in the Harry Potter universe.

The movie was produced by Warner Bros. and directed by David Yates, who previously filmed the final four films in the "Harry Potter" series. Redmayne's co-stars are actors Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Katherine Waterston and Ezra Miller.

Just like the Harry Potter stories, "Fantastic Beasts" shows the fight between good and evil, dealing with darker topics such as xenophobia and intolerance. "Rolling Stone" magazine even called it "the first anti-Trump blockbuster." 

"If you have read the Potter books, you know this period threatened to become very dystopian. You were looking at the rise of a very dark force," said J. K. Rowling at a press conference ahead of the film's world premiere in New York on November 10.

The European premiere took place in London on Tuesday. "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" opens in theaters worldwide on November 18.

eg/kbm (Reuters, AP)


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