Why Harry Potter director David Yates has returned for Fantastic Beasts

‘Harry Potter’ helmer David Yates is returning for the hugely anticipated ‘Fantastic Beasts’ spin-off, largely down to the quality of the script and the desire to start a project form scratch.

When the director of four Potter movies (’The Order of the Phoenix’, ‘The Half-Blood Prince’, and both parts of ’The Deathly Hallows’) saw the franchise through to fruition, everyone thought that was the end of his four-year love affair with the J.K. Rowling wizarding world.

Yates explained why he chose to return to the universe, albeit with its spin-off, when speaking to Collider.

“It [the script] was just the most delightful read. It was charming, moving, tender. It felt fresh and it was with a bunch of people that I really love working with so, it was a bit of a no-brainer.”

Whilst he enjoyed working on the iconic Potter film series, his desire to start a story of his own is what’s brought him back for more. “Do you know what was lovely for me, is with Potter the train had already left the station when I jumped on it. You know it was half-way along the tracks and I got to do my thing with it but all the pieces were already on the table,” says the director. 

So what Yates is arguably more excited about when it comes to ‘Fantastic Beasts’ is starting a fresh.

“Whereas, with this movie I built it from the ground up effectively. So, for a filmmaker and the storyteller that is always the most exciting thing - to sort of cast it, to create it, to build it. I loved Jo’s concept of just dropping it into New York in 1926. Taking her universe but putting it through that paradigm was really exciting. And works.”

He describes starting a new story as “liberating” because it’s J.K. Rowling’s first attempt at a screenplay and doesn’t already exist in book format. It’ll be new to fans and removes any creative restrictions when making it.

“It’s liberating… it’s incredibly liberating. And also, you know with the books, everybody had their own their own idea of what certain characters should be like, how the story should evolve. You’re always working in the context of people’s expectations which is fine and great and wonderful, as it should be actually ’cause they are wonderful books. But what’s marvellous about this series is nobody has ever read them. (laughs) And they feel really fresh and we’re not limited by page one to page four hundred and sixty five of something that pre-exists.”

Set in 1926, some decades prior to the Harry Potter saga, Eddie Redmayne stars as Newt Scamander. The film co-stars a legion of big names, including Ezra Miller, Jon Voight, Colin Farrell, Ron Perlman, and Samantha Morton.

‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is in UK cinemas on 18 November.

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Picture credit: Warner Bros.