Jude Law may be following in the footsteps of the late Richard Harris and the great Michael Gambon, but his role of Albus Dumbledore in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald will be the youngest version of the wizened wizard yet. The moniker of “Young Dumbledore” has led to all sorts of Internet memes, some saucier than others, but Law himself has been rather quiet about the character, until now. In a chat with EW, Law freely answered just about everything he could about his character and how he would be portrayed in the new Fantastic Beasts movie.
Starring Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald, Zoe Kravitz as Newt’s classmate Leta Lestrange, his older brother Theseus, played by Callum Turner, and with returning players Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogel, and Alison Sudol, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald hits theaters November 16th. See what Law had to say about his take on Dumbledore below and head over to EW for the full run-down.
On J.K. Rowling’s notes on Dumbledore:
I had the good fortune and opportunity to sit with [author and screenwriter] J.K. Rowling shortly after we started work on it. She gave me a very good sense of Albus’ life journey and who he was and what was happening in his head and his heart and his world for this particular story…
The one thing that came out was the sense of play. He has a youthful mercurial approach to life, but that there’s something that hangs heavy in his heart, in his past, that underlies all of that. There’s a root of good humor and good heart and sense of self and a sense of past.
On Albus Dumbledore at this point in his long life:
This is a man with almost 100 years ahead of him before he became that character so we wanted to look at who he was in this moment and construct our own version. It makes me laugh when he’s called “Young Albus” because I’m 45, so I’m more in the middle of a midlife crisis, but I’m happy to hold onto that as long as I can!
As I mentioned before, there’s a sense of humor and mischief, a dash of anarchy, a sense of what’s right and what he believes in, and a sense of mystery. There’s also how he comes around to get people onto his way of thinking — which is rather indirectly. He also has a certain heaviness about him that I don’t want to reveal too much about — and that’s something he has to overcome, or hopes to overcome. He’s also got a great passion for sharing his knowledge, he’s a powerful and inclusive teacher.
On Dumbledore’s role at Hogwarts in this film:
He doesn’t teach Transfiguration, actually, not at this stage … in his career, he’s not. I’m not sure I’m allowed to say what he teaches … I only get to cast one [spell]. There’s a lot you don’t know about Albus in this film. And there are certain restrictions in storytelling — you’ll see, it all makes sense. You don’t see him in full flow yet.
Albus doesn’t have the Elder Wand yet, no. I have a wand. It’s very reflective of him, beautiful dark wood root with a stone on one end.
[Note: There’s a good bet Dumbledore is teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts in this flick.]
On Dumbledore’s sexuality:
Jo Rowling revealed some years back that Dumbledore was gay. That was a question I actually asked Jo and she said, yes, he’s gay. But as with humans, your sexuality doesn’t necessarily define you; he’s multifaceted. I suppose the question is: How is Dumbledore’s sexuality depicted in this film? What you got to remember this is only the second Fantastic Beasts film in a series and what’s brilliant about Jo’s writing is how she reveals her characters, peels them to the heart over time. You’re just getting to know Albus in this film, and there’s obviously a lot more to come. We learn a little about his past in the beginning of this film, and characters and their relationships will unfold naturally which I’m excited to reveal. But we’re not going to reveal everything all at once.
On Dumbledore’s relationship with Newt and Grindelwald:
I think he admires in Newt this sense of moral code that he will always do the right thing because he can’t do anything but the right thing. I think he likes that Newt finds beauty in beasts because I think occasionally Dumbledore feels like a beast. And there’s a master and mentee kind of relationship. And Newt isn’t afraid to say when he thinks Dumbledore is wrong, it’s not servitude.
I don’t actually have any scenes with Johnny. As I said before, this is only Part 2 of a longer story. I’ve always admired him from afar, but we don’t know each other, and I’ve not yet met him on this. In many ways that suits the relationship as it’s been many years since they’ve seen each other. So there’s complexity in that that’s fun to mine. Again, the past will reveal itself.