"Newt is a magizoologist who's just completed a global journey to find and document magical creatures for a book he plans on writing," Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts producer David Heyman tells Empire. "His case is important because it contains some of the creatures he's been researching. It may be small, but there's a whole world within."
A bottomless case filled with magical beasties, then? Might there be a dragon or two? Heyman is keeping quiet but he did give an insight into the scale of the production, currently filming at Harry Potter HQ, Leavesden Studios in Watford. "On some days we've had several hundred extras, all done up in 1920s costumes. We are going into the magical world, but we're bringing the magical characters into the Muggle, or 'Nomaj', world."
The Harry Potter films were, of course, crafted like period pieces themselves, albeit within a contemporary setting, but it is certainly intriguing to think how the Warner Bros machine might reimagine the era of the Jazz Age and the Wall Street Crash, only with mythical creatures and magical mammals.
Scripted by J.K. Rowling herself from her short tome, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is set decades before Harry, Hermione, Ron and the rest crossed the threshold of Hogwarts and tangle with the dark forces of Voldemort. Our hero here is magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), who is on a mission to document the creatures filling the wizarding world. On a trip to New York, he meets several characters.
Redmayne will be joined in the cast by the eclectic likes of Colin Farrell (Total Recall) as a wizard named Graves, Katherine Waterston (Inherent Vice) as Tina, Alison Sudol (What To Expect When You're Expecting) as Tina's sister Queenie, Dan Fogler (Fanboys) as Jacob, Ezra Miller (The Perks Of Being A Wallflower) as Credence, Samantha Morton (Control) as Mary Lou, Jenn Murray (Dorothy Mills) as Chastity, young newcomer Faith Wood-Blagrove as Modesty, plus Ron Perlman (Hellboy), Jon Voight (Mission: Impossible), Gemma Chan (Exam) and Carmen Ejogo (Selma) who recently signed up for as yet unknown parts.
Yates is currently shooting ready for a 18 November 2016 release date.