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Jude Law talks about his approach to playing Albus Dumbledore | Entertainment

They needed an actor to play a younger version of Albus Dumbledore.

It seems the people who made 2018’s “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” the second wizarding world adventure set decades before author JK Rowling’s “Harry Potter” saga, didn’t exactly have to beg Jude Law to take over. the role of the mighty wizard.

“I mean, it was kind of a no-brainer: ‘Would you like to play Albus Dumbledore?’ ‘Yes, I would,'” Law says during a virtual press conference for the follow-up to “Grindelwald,” “Fantastic Beasts: Dumbledore’s Secrets,” which hits US theaters this week. “I felt like I had been in preparation, unconsciously, from the moment I started reading the (“Potter”) books to my kids.

“God, there is so much in character for me and to investigate as an actor, that’s even before you enter this extraordinary world of magic.”

“Dumbledore’s Secrets,” co-written by Rowling, continues the story launched with 2016’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” It features series mainstays Eddie Redmayne as magizoologist Newt Scamander; Dan Fogler as baker and Muggle Jacob Kowalski; Alison Sudol as mind reader Queenie Goldstein; and Ezra Miller, as Credence Barebone, a powerful but disturbed wizard who is revealed in “Grindelwald” to be a member of the Dumbledore family.

(The film also introduces Katherine Waterson, an Aurora from America and Newt’s love interest, but only briefly. The actress did not participate in the press conference.)

See Mads Mikkelsen in the role of the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, the actor who replaces the late Johnny Depp. Grindelwald continues to rally support in the wizarding world for a war against Muggles, whom he finds quite distasteful.

Early in the film, viewers will begin to learn more about these “Secrets of Dumbledore,” beginning with how intertwined his past is with Grindelwald’s.

“I always imagined that being Dumbledore was always a pretty lonely place, as he was brilliant and outstanding at a very young age, to the point where he probably felt somewhat isolated,” says Law. “Then all of a sudden you meet someone who is just as brilliant and matches you and inspires you, and that kind of connection is very, very, very powerful, even more so when you’re young.

“I think it’s important, then, to also remember what their time together would have been like: incredibly dynamic, incredibly loved and special,” he continues. “And then (comes) this horrible moment where you realize you’re on a different path; they are actually moving away from each other. But that doesn’t necessarily remove the explosive core, the fireworks that went off initially.”

The Wizarding World celebrated its 20th anniversary last year: Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (titled “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” in the US) was released in 2001, and “Dumbledore” director David Yates has now been at the helm of the last seven movies, since 2007’s “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.”

Yates says he values ​​the ever-expanding pool of talented people that has emerged from the ongoing effort.

“When you make a movie, it’s a huge logistical undertaking, and it’s difficult creatively, logistically and technically,” says Yates. “So living that experience with people you respect and admire, but who can also bear the strain with some real dignity and some humor, is essential. And (those are) qualities that I’ve found in many of the people I’ve worked with in front of and behind the camera.”

There is a real sense of family, he says.

“We use that word a lot, but it’s important because that doesn’t happen (always) in our industry because it’s a tough business.”

Yates is then asked why, in his opinion, the movies are so enduring.

“They have become a safe place for a lot of people,” he says. “They celebrate certain values: loyalty, love, friendship, empowerment of the stranger/person you always underestimate, things that resonate with many people in the real world, as they do in this magical space. It’s a beautiful thing to be a part of stories that create a safe space for some people when they go to the movies to see them. I’m very proud of that.”

“Dumbledore’s Secrets” reveals the magical sides of never-before-seen places, including a forest in China and Germany’s Ministry of Magic.

Says producer Tim Lewis, “One of the exciting things, certainly for the audience and certainly for us filmmakers, is that we can open up the wizarding world and go into whole new areas.”

However, he acknowledged that the film also returns fans to some favorite places, none more beloved than Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Its future headmaster, Dumbledore, is a professor there at the moment, as is Jessica Williams’ Charms teacher, Eulalie “Lally” Hicks, a newcomer to the franchise.

“Oh yeah, I have the chills,” he says of being on the Hogwarts set. “I started reading those books in third grade, and a lot of those books weren’t out yet.”

He found being in the Great Hall especially meaningful.

“And then seeing the kids in their robes, their magical uniforms… I wanted to cry,” he says. “You know the feeling of wanting to squeeze something cute? He wanted to squeeze a lot of the kids and shake them.

“But then I realized that I was an actor, and it’s a responsibility, so I didn’t squeeze the kids. But the feeling was there,” adds Williams. “It was totally a pinch myself moment, and it was really surreal.”

Returning to the subject of his portrayal of Dumbledore, Law is asked if he needed to rewatch the “Harry Potter” movies to coincide with the portrayals of the character as an older wizard, first by Richard Harris and later by Michael Gambon.

“The main draw was to fill in the gaps and go back and explore themes and aspects of his character that were hinted at in the books and suggested in the movies,” he says. “Yeah, any excuse to go back and re-watch them, they probably caught me looking at them over and over again saying, ‘I’m looking into it! I am studying!’

“Honestly,” he continues, “we thought it was important to free ourselves from the Dumbledore we knew because he wasn’t that man yet. But at the same time, there were definite qualities that both Richard Harris and Michael Gambon brought to the character that I wanted to steal, I guess: humor and zest for life and mischievous behavior. They both have a kind of seriousness, a poignant one, that I thought was really beautiful and complicated.”

Speaking of “complicated” stuff, Yates uses that word, laughing, to describe the plot of “The Crimes of Grindelwald,” saying it took the filmmakers a while to put all the pieces together.

“So with this story in particular, we wanted it to be not only emotional, but also enjoyable and a real treat, and build on the values ​​of some of the earlier ‘Potter’ movies. that had whimsy and charm, humor and humanity.”

As for that last quality, Yates recalls a private screening a few weeks earlier in which a single young man was among the select few attendees.

“Everyone turned to him when the lights went out and said, ‘What do you think?’” says Yates. “And he looked at me and said, ‘I liked it. He is really human. And I thought, ‘We’ll stick with that.’ We made a movie out of all these extraordinary things, and the one thing he gets out of it: ‘He’s really human.’ That’s a testament to the performances and the story and everything.”

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