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Old 08-23-2018, 04:01 PM
masterofmystery masterofmystery is offline
Post Wizarding Paris, French Ministry mayhem & more: on the UK set of 'Fantastic Beasts' 2

Ah, Paris. The sights, the sounds, the beautiful streets, food ... and mayhem. So much mayhem, in the form of Gellert Grindelwald.

In the second part (part one is here) of our Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald set tour, we visit the streets of Paris ... well, not quite the French capital, but a recreation of the famous European city at Leavesden Studios. Here we spot Nicolas Flamel's home, various Muggle and Wizarding streets, a boulangerie, and Credence Barebone's escape and prison, Circus Arcanus.


Credence begins and continues this story. He's the reason Tina (newly reinstated MACUSA Auror) heads off to Paris, because she wants to find and help him. He's the weapon Grindelwald wants to get control of, and undoubtedly through his infinite powers of persuasion, manipulation and being a Leglimens, he'll know where the Obscurus is.

Credence gets from New York to Europe via a magical ship, which has two sections, for both Muggles/No-Majs and Wizards. Once Credence escapes to Paris from New York City with Circus Arcanus (which is for the entertainment of Muggles put on by the Wizarding community), he's more free, more sure of himself and determined to find out his family history. Ezra Miller, who plays the enigmatic Credence, discussed with us where Credence was in this point of the story.

Ezra Miller: Well, I would say that he is both free and burdened in new ways. Obviously, there is an element of self-awareness that brings both of those factors into play. So he's free of a lot of the confines he's known, and he's free of certain-- sense of uncertainty that he's known. But with the consciousness of his reality comes also heavy burdens, and obviously, he's a bit of a ticking time bomb given his particular magical condition.

There is a burden that comes in the form of a burning need to know more about who he actually is and to understand the roots that he's growing from, because obviously he's had a very fragmented experience up to this point. So this quest for identity, which I can't relate to at all. No one knows what that's like to try and figure out who you are. It's obscure, you know.
We spotted the massive circus tent and set in Paris. In the center of a Parisian street we walked through, we spotted a massive red/orange tent, with two smaller tan-colored tents surrounding it. Also on the Paris street was a huge metal birdcage, easily 20 feet tall, which could have fit several people. Surrounding the cage’s entrance was an elaborate wood-facade made of cardboard (probably for the circus since it was a few feet away from the tents on the Paris street).

Like the Leaky Cauldron in London, Paris has a secret entrance into their Wizarding community as well. Here's where Credence is spotted as he ventures into Circus Arcanus early into the movie. From art director Martin Foley about the French Wizarding community entrance:

Martin Foley: So there's this beautiful statue in the street and she-- it's a bronze statue and as you approach as a Wizard she moves her leg and you pass through underneath the base. And, you know, we had that handcarved and built here. And you'll see it out there on the top of the steps. And when you go through the statue you’re in a Wizarding part of Paris. So we’re having fun now redressing shops into Wizarding shops. So it's a return, a bit like the French version of Diagon Alley, a slightly grander scale but that's, again, it's that tying that thread back to the other films ... or forward to the future films, if you like.

Then the circus arrives and Credence is, like I said, using this as a job. But he meets some characters in there that he likes and befriends.
Credence is a victim of abuse. First from the hands of his stepmother Mary Lou Barebone, then of Percival Graves (who eventually was found to be Grindelwald in disguise), up to those working at the circus and ... back in circular fashion to Grindelwald. Ezra Miller may not reveal much about his character's future but he has an idea of where it's going. Miller even stated that because of all the abuse, Credence now meets everyone with "great skepticism" and will "analyze and question their intent and their integrity because he's just been given no basis."

We now walk through the Ministère des Affaires Magiques de la France — or the French Ministry of Magic (which is underground, noted Foley, according to J.K. Rowling's script). While the image above gives an idea of what the office space is like, here are a few specific tidbits about the area:
  • The French Ministry is a circular office space with a massive glass dome that has pictures of magical creatures on them.
  • The bottom floor has lines of tall, brass file cabinets (the ones that Newt, Tina and Leta jump through in the trailer), that can also be used and turned into cubicles/tables with typewriters on them on which employees work.
  • The top floor has a green floor that rises as a hill as it comes to the fence from which someone can look down at the floor below. The top floor also has archive rooms filled with desks that have folders and notes (all in French).
  • There will be a huge chase/action scene on the Ministère des Affaires Magiques de la France set, as per Foley.

Now, we head to the rest of Paris, including the great amphitheatre which Gellert Grindelwald used to recruit new members to his cause. Grindelwald has placed large black banners/curtains on buildings in Paris that can only be seen by Wizards.

Producer David Heyman went into the mindset of the manipulative Grindelwald while chatting with us on set.

David Heyman: He has the power of persuasion. He's very seductive. He can make people follow him because he is as persuasive as he is. He's incredibly charismatic. He's wonderfully amoral. Or awfully amoral, depending on which way you look at it. Wonderful for a delicious villain. Awful, in terms of an individual. He is a fundamentalist. You know, he's an absolutist. He sees only one path. He believes in superiority of Wizard kind over human kind, Muggle, you know, and makes a very persuasive case for that. Not one that I am prepared to follow. Not one I suspect you're prepared to follow. But you can understand why some people do, and that's really, really scary.
With this, David Yates gave a general breakdown of the bigger themes of the movie.

David Yates: This is a little bit more political with a small 'p' than perhaps the others. What we've done more than any of the others is this is very much a sort of, like, multi-character narrative. We're following a lot of characters all at the same time, all of whom are-- and it's a series of couplets. It's a series of love stories, really. It's a series of people — and really, the central theme is, you know, falling in love, falling out of love, falling in love with an ideology, being drawn into love, being corrupted by love. It's really-- it all circles around that central premise of love, I think.

A few tidbits should be noted about the enigmatic new character, Yusaf Kama. According to Yates, he is a Wizard with a mission set to up him by his dying father, and one he was left to fulfill. Not much is revealed beyond that, though concept art showed that Kama's hideout was in a Parisian sewer — one Newt and Jacob were spotted perusing around. Another photo showed Tina in a similar sewer setting — though this one with a jail around her. No explanation yet as to how or why the American Auror ended up there.

Heyman teased a bit about Kama's elusive character, and his inner demons. "Kama, a great character. He's someone who's who's come in search of answers. I can't tell you what those answers are or what the questions are," Heyman said, "but he is a person with a wound, an emotional wound that he is trying to find answers for."

Going back to Paris, as we ventured through the set, we noticed little details about the streets and shops — all far more incredibly colorful than anything fans spotted in New York City for the first movie, or in London and U.K. for the Harry Potter series. That should be no surprise with the decadence of the French culture, especially in the 1920s.

On the Paris exterior set we saw what we presumed was Nicolas Flamel’s home. It was was probably the building called Achemiste (in an alleyway a block away from the larger street on which the circus stood), which had a crooked door entrance slanted sideways, and looked older and less flashy than the rest of the shops and areas on the Paris sets. Other items of note included:
  • Paris exterior sets include shops named 11A Coiffeur (hairdressers) and 76B Parfumerie (perfume shop). Grindelwald’s massive hideout, a very large Parisian building, is right next to the perfume shop.
  • More Muggle Paris buildings and restaurants include: Cafe du Charu; Cafe Abringer — a full, high-class restaurant set was built inside, with china, silver, champagne glasses, etc., and spotted on one of the seats was a French paper, "Le Petit Parisien"; a boulangerie, depuis 1793 on the Rue de Montmorency; and K. Rumelle’s Confiserie Enchantee candy shop — with windows full of glass jars filled with colorful sweets, like Honeydukes, on Rue Riche.
  • In Wizarding Paris, we spotted: Gaston McAaron’s Equipemen Quidditch, depuis 1392 — a full Quidditch shop with broomsticks, silver trophies across the walls, more contemporary shirts (like polo shirts) and caps in a glass display; Baguettes Magique (store number 36) — a wand shop filled with wand boxes (was still currently being filled by crew members while we were there) that had triangle-shaped wand boxes (think like Toblerones), as well as rectangle ones of various colors, both in the shop and outside the shop on table displays.
  • On the Rue Philippe Lorand was a three-story building with an exterior spiral staircase. In front of this was a large square courtyard, with four leafless trees at each corner, surrounding a circular statue in the middle. The statue was dark greenish in color, with four women standing with their backs to each other on a large pillar, standing on top of what looked like a sewer grate. This courtyard is pivotal to the story (and may be the entrance to the French Wizarding community).

Colleen Atwood also stated that the costume fans see Grindelwald in throughout the movie (the black suit spotted in the trailers and at San Diego Comic-Con) will not be the one in the finale. A second costume was created for the final sequence and climax of Crimes of Grindelwald — and it will be one that no one will expect.

In case you're wondering: Yes, the final three movies will take place in other cities. David Yates stated at the time that he knew the location(s) of the third movie. When probed about whether it would be in Latin or South America, Yates did not confirm, though it seems it may not be there ... yet.

Even after seeing all this, and being teased and spoiled tremendously for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, we simply can not wait to see the final cut come to life this November. And neither can you.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald hits theaters and IMAX on November 16, 2018.
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