Going into Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Eddie Redmayne's Newt Scamander was going to be the breakout of the film. After all, it's his face on all the posters, and he's the hero responsible for carrying the beasts of the movie's name. Yet while Newt is certainly an exciting new addition to the wizarding world, the rest of the movie's cast of characters also shine, with Queenie, played by Alison Sudol, a particular standout. A kind, free-spirited witch a bit too good at reading people's minds, Queenie is a joy of a character, and Sudol, a relative newcomer to the big screen, knows exactly why that is.
"I fell in love with this idea of this woman who’s this extraordinarily compassionate, warm, loving, fun, mischievous, free-spirited soul, who happens to be able to read minds, and she’s magical," Sudol says at Fantastic Beasts' New York press junket. Recalling her first introduction to the character, she adds with a grin that she thought, "Yes, please, sign me up."
Yet while Sudol immediately connected with Queenie, the younger sister of Tina (Katherine Waterston), Newt's eventual love interest, she had some reservations about signing on to a film as big as Fantastic Beasts. A successful singer (her former alter ego was the popular indie act A Fine Frenzy) and TV actor (she appeared in Season 2 of Transparent), Sudol had limited experience on the big screen before signing on to David Yates' film. Any actor would be a bit nervous to take on a movie as massive as one based in JK Rowling's wizarding world, but for relative newcomer Sudol, it was particularly overwhelming.
"I did not get the size or magnitude kind of until the screen test, and then I had about a week and a half long panic attack," she recalls, laughing now at the memory. "But I loved Queenie so much, I just wanted to get out of the way with my own nerves. I wanted to be her, and that was stronger than the fear of, 'can I do this?'"
Luckily, there are no signs of nerves of apprehension in Sudol's on-screen performance as the scene-stealing witch. Queenie is simply captivating, a character you won't be able to take your eyes off of — and when Sudol suits up for the next few Fantastic Beasts movies, she'll hopefully be a lot more confident about bringing Queenie back to big-screen life.
Image: Warner Bros.