The Mating Dance Scene In 'Fantastic Beasts' Required Eddie Redmayne To Get His Groove On
To call Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them a comedy would be wrong, as the Harry Potter spinoff is, like its predecessors, first and foremost a fantasy action film. Yet that's not to say that the new movie doesn't have its share of comedic moments, because oh, it does. Just take the hilarious mating dance scene Eddie Redmayne's Newt does in Fantastic Beasts , which consists of the actor, as magizoologist Scamander, partaking in the act in order to coax one of his magical creatures towards him and into his case. The dance is both a highlight of the film and a showcase for Redmayne's comedic chops, and according to the actor himself, it took a lot of effort.
"I worked with Alexandra Reynolds, who is a choreographer who worked on The Theory of Everything and The Danish Girl, and she and I went into a Youtube hole of watching birds doing mating dances," Redmayne recalls while at Fantastic Beasts' New York press day. "She video-ed me, doing about 10 different deeply humiliating mating dances, and the longest hours of my life were between each time I sent one of those videos to [director] David Yates and waited for feedback."
Leave it to an Oscar winner to put that much preparation into a scene that basically consists of him floundering about while wooing a large animal. Yet it wasn't just Redmayne who took the situation seriously; according to the actor, Yates was equally into getting the scene right. "I love David because he’d take it so seriously. He’d be like, 'I don’t know if that’s quite sensual enough, it's got to have more, realistically his rump would be there more...'" Redmayne recalls, laughing.
Unfortunately, his director's concern and those Youtube videos consisted of the only instructions the star got before heading into rehearsals for the scene. JK Rowling, who wrote Fantastic Beasts' script, "writes wonderful dialogue," Redmayne says, "but there are some moments when... it’s just like two words, and that particular thing was like, 'Newt performs mating dance.'" His adorably baffled look while recalling this line is telling of the intimidation he likely felt while reading it for the first time.
It's a good thing that Redmayne put so much effort into the scene, because the mating dance makes for one of the funniest, and most memorable, moments in the film. If only the actor's hilarious failed attempts to create the finalized dance were available for viewers to watch, as well. "What you saw in the film was pretty humiliating, but out there, there are several videos that could end my career," Redmayne jokes. Not that anyone would want that, of course, but for the sake of our enjoyment, someone, get to finding those, STAT.
Images: Warner Bros. Pictures