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Jude Law explains Dumbledore’s “dark” love for Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts

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Kayleigh Dray
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Jude Law, who plays a young Dumbledore in the new Fantastic Beasts films, has opened up his character’s “dark” love for Newt Scamander.

It’s no secret that the Dumbledore at the heart of the Fantastic Beasts films is incredibly different to the grandfatherly, twinkly-eyed, lemon sherbert-popping man of the Harry Potter stories. And no, we’re not just talking about the fact that Jude Law’s character (who is several decades younger in the prequels) has shunned his white beard and billowing robes for a goatee and sharp grey suit.

Rather, we’re talking about the fact that, in the prequels, Dumbledore is still unsure as to whether or not he’s on the side of good or evil.

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As fans of JK Rowling’s original Harry Potter books will no doubt remember, Dumbledore’s dark side is touched upon briefly in the final novel of The Deathly Hallows, when it is revealed that he, as a teenager, forged a plan to take over the wizarding world and make Muggles subservient “for the greater good”.

“I was gifted,” he told Harry. “I was brilliant. I wanted to escape. I wanted to shine. I wanted glory.”

However, when a three-way duel between himself, his brother Aberforth, and his friend/lover Grindelwald resulted in the death of his sister, Ariana, Dumbledore shunned his plans for magical supremacy. Instead, he chose the path of light and began what would be a long and prosperous career in teaching at Hogwarts.

Or so we always thought. 

As it turns out, Rowling believes that Dumbledore is still very much battling with this darker side of himself in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, and finds it incredibly difficult to stay on the correct side of the moral line he’s struggling with.

Addressing this theory around his character, Law has shared some important details around his character’s relationship with Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne).

“This is something Jo Rowling said to me,” said Law, as reported by Cinema Blend. “The reason he loves Newt is that Newt loves beasts and I think he thinks he’s a beast.”

The actor continued: “I think he thinks he’s dark, that he’s seen and done things that he wishes he hadn’t and he’s constantly pulling himself back on the right moral side.”

Law previously said that Rowling had told him that Dumbledore was definitely a gay character. “But as with humans, your sexuality doesn’t necessarily define you; he’s multifaceted.”

Law went on to suggest that Dumbledore’s sexuality might play a greater role in later Fantastic Beasts films, in a bid to curb the widespread frustration expressed by fans that the character was not portrayed as “explicitly gay” in The Crimes of Grindelwald.

“What you got to remember this is only the second Fantastic Beasts film in a series and what’s brilliant about Jo’s writing is how she reveals her characters, peels them to the heart over time,” he said.

“You’re just getting to know Albus in this film, and there’s obviously a lot more to come. We learn a little about his past in the beginning of this film, and characters and their relationships will unfold naturally which I’m excited to reveal. But we’re not going to reveal everything all at once.”

As fans will know already, Law did not have any scenes with Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts 2. Depp plays Grindelwald in the series, the dark wizard who Rowling has said Dumbledore had a romantic relationship with as a teenager (although in the books, their relationship is simply depicted as an intense but platonic friendship).

However, the actor suggested that Dumbledore and Grindelwald will meet in a later Fantastic Beasts film. “As I said before, this is only Part 2 of a longer story… The past will reveal itself.”

The producers of Fantastic Beasts have been criticised for casting Johnny Depp as Grindelwald 

Depp’s casting as Grindelwald has faced its own controversies. It was announced that he would be playing the dark wizard shortly after the actor settled out of court with ex-wife Amber Heard, who had accused him of domestic violence. (Depp always denied the allegations against him.)

As the #MeToo movement began to gain traction, Depp’s casting came under scrutiny once more. Addressing the controversy on her website, Rowling said: “Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the filmmakers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting, but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies… I accept that there will be those who are not satisfied with our choice of actor in the title role. However, conscience isn’t governable by committee.

“Within the fictional world and outside it, we all have to do what we believe to be the right thing.”

She added: “For me personally, the inability to speak openly to fans about this issue has been difficult, frustrating and at times painful. However, the agreements that have been put in place to protect the privacy of two people, both of whom have expressed a desire to get on with their lives, must be respected.”

Linking to the statement on her Twitter account, she said she was saying “what I can about the Grindelwald casting issue”.

Later that same day, Heard posted an image of the joint statement she and Depp released on the day their divorce was finalised.

She also added a message which seemingly addressed Rowling directly, which read: “For the record, this was our FULL joint statement.

“To pick and choose certain lines and quote them out of context, is just not right. Women, continue to stand up and stay strong. Love, Amber.”

Image: Getty

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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