This post contains spoilers for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
The general, polite consensus about Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is that the movie is, at best, deeply confusing. (At worst, its worse.) Clarity is difficult to come by here, especially in the final few scenes—when we learn that Credence Barebone, played by Ezra Miller, is somehow the secret brother of Albus Dumbledore. That detail is delivered by Grindelwald himself (Johnny Depp), who doesnt reveal how he came to glean this special piece of information. A secret Dumbledore brother was never alluded to in the original Harry Potter books, making this twist even more befuddling to fans—though perhaps not quite as mystifying as the random cameo by Minerva McGonagall, an appearance that defies the Potter canons established timeline.
Now, here to make this twist even more confusing is Ezra Miller himself, who attempted to explain it in an interview with IndieWire. Miller first threw some doubt on Grindelwalds revelation, saying, “I guess the point of this film is probably dont take anything that metaphorical Grindelwald says as gospel in general. But do we bring that forward, then apply it to the information he gives the Obscurial at the end of the film? Well, I dont know, honestly. Maybe not.”
O.K., so . . . maybe its true, maybe not? Miller continued, attempting to explain how Grindelwald could have come by such rare and specific information.
“I think that, on the one hand, from a Harry Potter canon perspective, there are reasons why Grindelwald would definitely know something like that, given his connection to Albus and that family,” the actor said. “And we know he had this history that involved Aberforth and Ariana [Dumbledores known siblings]. So its not impossible that theres validity and truth to it.”
Are you properly confused now? Good, because he has one more thing to add: “Is it impossible that Grindelwald is lying? Obviously. Also, no—its not impossible.”
Miller is maybe beholden to some sort of studio-sanctioned doublespeak, which will give J.K. Rowling, the Potter creator who also penned both Fantastic Beasts screenplays, space to do whatever she wants with the third film. Or maybe hes honestly just as confused as the fans are. The only thing we know for sure is that movie is still as confusing as ever.
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Get Vanity Fairs HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.Full ScreenPhotos:Daniel Radcliffes Quirky Post-Harry Potter Projects: An Appreciation
The Woman in Black (2012)
This British period horror flick was Radcliffes first major outing post-Potter. Radcliffe starred as Arthur Kipps, a lawyer dealing with the loss of his wife who soon finds himself dealing with a supernatural threat—the titular woman in black. The movie made £14 million in its first three weeks at its home box office, a record U.K. opening for a British horror film.Photo: From CBS Films/Everett Collection.
A Young Doctors Notebook (2012-2013)
Its not often you get to see Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe hang out in a bathtub together, so if nothing else, A Young Doctors Notebook gave that to the world. Radcliffe played the titular young doctor to Hamms older doctor in this delightfully zany series, which was largely well received by critics and ran for two seasons.Photo: From AF Archive/Alamy.
Kill Your Darlings (2013)
In this period flick, Radcliffe took his first movie-length stab at an American accent, playing a younger version of the beloved beat poet Allen Ginsberg. Although his role entailed a much-discussed gay sex scene, Radcliffe said the hardest part was “hitting all those big emotional beats,” and crying when the script called for it.Photo: By Clay Enos/Sony Pictures/Everett Collection.
What If (2014)
By far Radcliffes warmest, fuzziest role came in this rom-com, which finds Radcliffes character Wallace falling in love with a girl named Chantry (Zoe Kazan). This part, like so many others in Radcliffes career, involved his bare butt—which was a little too much to handle for some fans who still remembered him as Harry Potter. But overall, the movie—and Radcliffe—were insistently adorable.Photo: By Caitlin Cronenberg/CBS Films/Everett Collection.
Swiss Army Man (2016)
Yes, the legendary “farting corpse movie.” This film co-starring Paul Dano was an immediate enigma for those who heard about it outside of Sundance: it inspired both standing ovations and walk-outs. But its visually enchanting, with a warm message that resonated with many viewers. Radcliffe plays Manny, a cheerful, naïve corpse whom Danos character Hank must teach to be human again. The two have great chemistry, and their adventure together is a gaseous odyssey for the ages.Photo: Courtesy of A24.
Now You See Me 2 (2016)
In Now You See Me 2, Radcliffe did a total 180 from the Potterverse by playing the skeptic within another franchises magical universe—a reversal that Radcliffe himself told Vanity Fair he hadnt even thought about.
“The people I admire are always the people that manage to mix it up and do both: do super commercial stuff, and do super weird indies as well,” Radcliffe said. “And thats kind of the career I want for myself.”
A highlight from that experience, Radcliffe added, was working with Michael Caine, whose achievements and reputation he called “the Everest of my own personal aspiration.”
Photo: Courtesy of Lionsgate.
This upcoming thriller finds Radcliffes character, an F.B.I. agent named Nate Foster, seemingly in over his head as he attempts to infiltrate a white-supremacist group to stop them from making a bomb. The first trailer was pretty intense, and now fans can finally see whether Nate pulls off the undercover gig—or gets himself killed trying.Photo: Courtesy of Lionsgate.PreviousNext
Yohana DestaYohana Desta is a Hollywood writer for VanityFair.com.