Jude Law recalls spending three hours with Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling when preparing to play a younger Albus Dumbledore, the future headmaster of Hogwarts, in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Noting the "great responsibility" of portraying the wizard who eventually trains the Boy Who Lived (Daniel Radcliffe) — a role played first by Richard Harris in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and by Michael Gambon in six later films following Harris' death — Law participated and reveled in a lengthy lesson taught by Rowling, screenwriter on the Fantastic Beasts franchise now readying its third installment.
"I think one of the beautiful moments in preparation was working with J.K. Rowling. I spent an afternoon when she gave me the entire history of this great character," Law told Vanity Fair when promoting The New Pope. "I remember she went in and she was having tea. She had these incredible heels on. She said 'OK, if you don't mind I'm going to stand up.' And she stood up for nearly three hours and just walked up and down, talked, talked — and it just came out, it's just living in her."
He continued, "And I'm sitting there scribbling down notes and getting all of this incredible insight into this character, which I had a little opportunity to use in [Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald] and next year I go ahead and we do another chapter. There's more to come with that."
In a past interview with Entertainment Weekly, Law said Rowling helped him tap into the "interior life" of the famed wizard.
"The one thing that came out was the sense of play," he said. "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."
Law did not, however, refer to the iterations of the character established by Harris and Gambon for work on the prequel:
"I'm sure they were in the back of my mind, because I'd seen their work and admired both of them as actors, greatly. I talked with [director] David Yates about that and we both decided that it wasn't necessary to do an impersonation of one of them as a younger man," Law explained. "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."
The untitled sequel, set for November 2021, will be co-written by longtime Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves, who penned every entry in the blockbuster franchise save for Order of the Phoenix. In October, star Dan Fogler revealed a February shooting start.
Fantastic Beasts 3 is set for Nov. 12, 2021.