(Adds background on gay Dumbledore character)
By Jill Serjeant
April 12 British actor Jude Law has been cast to
play a young version of Hogwarts' venerable headmaster Albus
Dumbledore, a key character in the second film of J.K. Rowling's
"Fantastic Beasts" movie spinoff, Warner Bros. said on
Law, 44, best known for his role as Dr. John Watson in the
"Sherlock Holmes" action movies, will play Dumbledore decades
before he became the beloved headmaster of Hogwarts, the school
where Harry Potter and his friends learned to become wizards and
fight dark forces in society.
Rowling, who created Dumbledore for her best-selling "Harry
Potter" books, has said she thinks of him as a gay man who fell
in love, when he was younger, with Gellert Grindelwald, who
later turned out to be evil and violent.
She told reporters in New York last year that the second
"Fantastic Beasts" movie would show Dumbledore "as a younger man
and quite a troubled man — he wasn't always the sage. ... We'll
see him at that formative period of his life."
Johnny Depp will play Grindelwald in the second movie, for
which Rowling has written the screenplay, Warner Bros. said in a
statement. Filming will start this summer.
The five-movie spinoff is set some 70 years before Harry
Potter goes to Hogwarts and features some new and some familiar
Potter characters. The story centers around Newt Scamander, a
"magizoologist" with a suitcase full of strange creatures.
Several British actors were considered for the role of young
Dumbledore, including Christian Bale, Benedict Cumberbatch and
Jared Harris, according to Hollywood publication Variety.
"We are thrilled to have Jude Law joining the 'Fantastic
Beasts' cast, playing a character so universally adored," said
Toby Emmerich, president and chief content officer of Warner
The first "Fantastic Beasts" film, released in November,
made some $813 million at the global box office. The second of
the movies, which is yet to be titled, is due for release in
The eight "Harry Potter" movies made $7 billion at the
global box office.
(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Andrew Hay and Richard