Eddie Redmayne Talks ‘Fantastic Beasts’

Who is ready for some wizardly magic?

The movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, with an original screenplay by Rowling, could be described as a Harry Potter prequel, but only in the sense that it takes place long before Harry was born.

Set in 1926, it tells the story of Newt Scamander (played by Eddie Redmayne), a former Hogwarts pupil and now a devoted researcher of magical creatures, or magizoologist, to give him his proper title. He will eventually author the book of Fantastic Beasts, a Hogwarts set-text read by all children who study there.

The 34-year-old Oscar winner had two dreams when he was younger. One was to be in the Harry Potter films. He auditioned for the part of Tom Riddle, a troubled young wizard, “but didn’t even meet the casting director.” With his auburn hair, however, he was convinced there might be a role for him in the redheaded Weasley family, “but the call never came. Still,” he says, from the vantage point of now leading a whole new Rowling franchise (four more Scamander films are planned), “it’s all worked out for the best, hasn’t it?”

Redmayne’s other dream was to be a magician. “I was definitely an aspirational wizard. I used to go to this shop, Davenports, by Charing Cross in London, which sells kits to professional magicians, and I was completely intoxicated. Of course,” he adds, with classic English self-deprecation, “I had pretty much no skill.”

The December issue of Vogue is out on NY/LA newsstands on November 15.