Fantastic Beasts 3 Star Eddie Redmayne Blames Lockdown for Frozen Filming

The third Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie is one of many films whose production and release has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The film would have begun production on March 16th, the day the United Kingdom first went into lockdown. Warner Bros. held off on filming until September 2020 and subsequently pushed the film's release date back from November 2021 into July 2022. Eddie Redmayne plays the lead character, Newt Scamander, in the Harry Potter prequel series. He tells Jamie Dornan for Variety's Actors on Actors series that the delay meat a much chillier filming experience than he'd anticipated.

"I can't tell you anything other than the fact that I think I've got some night shoots in Watford, in Leavesden, [England], that we were meant to shoot in the summer in water," Redmayne says. "But now obviously because of lockdown, and the film shut down, they're being shot in early December. And suddenly you find yourself swimming outdoors in British winter."

Redmayne remained tight-lipped about the film's story. "What can I tell you about the plot? Really, not much, mate," he says. "I mean, when you come over for dinner, I can tell you. Except — I can't, because that would be the NDA that I signed."

The COVID-19 pandemic hasn't been the only issue for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 3. Warner Bros. also recast dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, replacing Johnny Depp with Mads Mikkelsen after Depp's recent defeat in court in a case related to ex-wife Amber Heard's abuse allegation.

"Job wise, it's obviously super interesting and nice," Mikkelsen said, speaking with Entertainment Weekly. "It's also a shocker that it came after what happened, which is just super sad. I wish both of them the best. These are sad circumstances. I hope both of them will be back in the saddle again really soon."

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In addition to Redmane and Mikkelsen, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 3 stars Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Callum Turner, William Nadylam, Kevin Guthrie, Poppy Corby-Tuech, Jessica Williams, Victoria Yeates, and Jude Law. Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling co-writes the screenplay with Steve Kloves, and David Yates, a veteran of the Harry Potter films, directs. The film's plot takes place years after the previous film, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, and visits Rio de Janeiro and Berlin, setting the stage for the Wizard World's role in World War II.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 3 opens in theaters on July 15, 2022.