With a film titled like The Secrets of Dumbledore, longtime Wizarding World fans know that means diving into the mysterious past of Albus Dumbledore and his relationship with the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald. Jude Law shared not only how he approached his version of the character but also what it felt like finally addressing that secret love affair.
Interview: Jude Law On Albus Dumbledore and His Secrets
Jude Law took on the monumental task of stepping into the shoes of Albus Dumbledore. This is a character that has been portrayed by both Michael Gambon and Richard Harris. He is someone the fans know well, so to say expectations were high is an understatement. Jude felt that weight but thanks to some advice from both David Yates and Eddie Redmayne, he found his inner Albus while still paying homage to the ones who came before him. And in this film, secrets come to light about the Dumbledore family and Jude was more than ready to explore these mysterious aspects of Albus' past.
Following the events of The Crimes of Grindelwald, The Secrets of Dumbledore finds the dark wizard, Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen), poised to take over the Wizarding World. The birth of an extremely rare and beloved qilin signals a change in leadership and Grindelwald will do what it takes to further his mission against muggles. Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) recruits Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), Theseus Scamander (Callum Turner), and others to stop him because he himself cannot move against Grindelwald. But fighting someone who can see into the future is not going to be easy. To take down Grindelwald the team must be as unpredictable as possible, to keep him and even themselves guessing until the very end.
Albus Dumbledore is a beloved character among fans of both the books and the films. What do you think makes your Albus different and yet similar to the one we know and love?
Jude: It's more a process of regression. One of the joys that David really allowed me to investigate was, rather than feeling the weight of the brilliant performances, by Michael Gambon and Richard Harris, was to really go back and understand that he's not the fully formed Dumbledore of the Harry Potter books and films. He's a man still finding his way, still confronting his demons. That's what I mean by regression. I suppose that in this film in particular, he's facing the past. He's facing himself and his own guilt. But if there were a quality that links him, I would say it's his mischievousness, his humor, and his belief in people. Dumbledore believed in Draco, he believed even in Tom Riddle. You know, he sees the good or the potential good, and I think that's something that he's always had.
You mentioned that David offered you some advice about playing Dumbledore, did Eddie have any tips or hints for you about joining this magical world? What made you want to sign on in the first place?
Jude: It was kind of a no brainer. Would you like to play Albus Dumbledore? Yes, I would. The major lure was the opportunity to to fill in gaps and go back and explore themes and sides of his character that were hinted at in the books and suggested in the films. It felt like I'd been in preparation subconsciously from the minute I started reading the books to my children. There's just so much in the character to mine and to investigate as an actor. And that's before you even get into this extraordinary world of magic. I remember Eddie telling me if there's a situation or a problem with a scene, remember you've got magic at your disposal. The scene in Berlin when I had to basically pass on information to the team went from being a scene where I was passing over maps to a scene with a magic hat and all sorts of things flying around.
It has been hinted at for years and confirmed by J.K. Rowling that Dumbledore and Grindelwald had a relationship. They were in love with each other and we finally get to see glimpses of that in this film. How did you and Mads go about approaching this aspect of your characters?
Jude: A lot of it was just sharing our perspective or our imagined take on how they met and what that meant to them. To me, it was always really important to think of who Albus was before he met Gellert. I always imagined that being Dumbledore was actually quite a lonely place being that he was brilliant and outstanding at a very young age, to the point where he probably felt slightly isolated. [He was] someone who was maybe diminishing his own sense of power and self and scope and ambition. Then suddenly he meets someone who is as brilliant and matches him, inspires him and that kind of connection is very, very, very powerful. I think it's important then to also remember what their time together would have been like, incredibly dynamic, incredibly cherished, and special. Then [there is] this awful moment where you realize you're on a different path, but that doesn't necessarily take away from the explosive kernel, the firework that went off initially in fact, it makes it harder.
Mads: We wanted this to be real. We wanted that relationship to be real. Real people, real situations, and real disappointment with each other.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore debuts in theaters on Friday, April 15. It is rated PG-13 for some fantasy action/violence with a runtime of 142 minutes.