×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Dumbledore Could Be Openly Gay in ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Sequel, J.K. Rowling Says

The new tentpole series “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” will feature several characters from the “Harry Potter” universe, J.K. Rowling confirmed at a press conference for the movie on Thursday afternoon.

Fans hoping to get a glimpse of a young Albus Dumbledore will need to wait for the second movie, part of a five-part prequel series planned by Warner Bros. But although the older Dumbledore never revealed his sexual orientation in the books or films — it was the author herself who coaxed him out of the closet during a 2007 interview at Carnegie Hall — the younger incarnation of the character might be less private. “Well, I’m very comfortable with the question,” Rowling said to reporters when asked about a gay Dumbledore. “I would like to say because this is obviously a five-part story, there’s lots to unpack in that relationship.”

“You will see Dumbledore as a younger man and quite a troubled man,” Rowling added. “We’ll see him at that formative period of his life. As far as his sexuality is concerned,” she said taking a beat, “watch this space.”

Rowling was warm and gregarious at a rare public appearance with the cast of the Warner Bros. movie — including Eddie Redmayne, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Katherine Waterston, and Ezra Miller — and director David Yates (“Harry Potter”). But unlike the eight “Potter” films, the “Fantastic Beats” screenplays, based on a threadbare 2001 novella, are all being adapted by the author herself.

How did she learn the craft of screenwriting? “I did buy a book that I never read,” Rowling said. “It just sat on my desk. I was very involved with the ‘Potter’ scripts,” she said about her screenplay approval of those stories.

“Fantastic Beasts” became a movie franchise when Warner Bros. optioned the rights to the novella several years ago. When the studio approached Rowling about adapting it into a movie, she told them she had a back story already etched out for Newt Scamander (Redmayne), the Magizoologist who arrives to New York with a briefcase packed with magical animals. “The character of Newt appealed to me,” Rowling said. “I had some thoughts about what happened to Newt and who Newt was. I thought, ‘I better tell them, because I wouldn’t want them to get Newt wrong.’” Her notes turned into a draft for the first script.

Rowling fielded questions about what message she had for fans who were skeptical about revisiting the “Harry Potter” world on the big screen without its influential star. “Well, it’s true that Harry is not in the movie, because he’s not born yet,” Rowling said of the stories set in an earlier time period. “But this is very much of the world. And there are characters” — she emphasized that she was speaking about a plural group — “you will learn more about through ‘Fantastic Beasts.’ I’m being so careful. This is ‘Potter.’ There’s a certain glory in writing a standalone novel where you can write anything you want. Now I’m back in top-secret territory again.”

“I think we’ve done the best job we can,” she said. “I’ve told a story I really want to tell.” But Rowling said she wasn’t giving up her day job. “I’m still writing novels,” Rowling said. “That’s why I look so tired. I’m writing a novel and a screenplay currently.”

Rowling, who has been vocal on social media about the results of this week’s U.S. presidential election, wouldn’t speak about Donald Trump. “I think I don’t want to say anymore,” she said. “We are here for the movie.” However, the themes of the film — set during a time where dystopian forces threaten the wizarding world — came from current events. “It was partly informed by what I see as a rise in populism around the world,” she said.

Rowling also talked about her writing process. “I need to do it,” she said. “I feel strange if I don’t write. Clearly, I don’t need to write anymore. I love it so much. I would feel almost like a psychic amputation if I didn’t do it. I have to write.”

She said she’s not picky about where or when she works. “I can write anywhere and anytime,” Rowling said. “I have written a surprising amount of one chapter on the lavatory, which is the only place where I could get temper and peace. Last night, I was in a bleak mood boarding the plane, and I thought, ‘I need to work.’ I got out the second screenplay and did work on that. It made me feel better.”

The first “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” opens on Nov. 18.

More Film

  • Picture Tree Intl. Inks First Deals

    Cannes: Picture Tree Intl. Inks First Deals on 'Traumfabrik' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Picture Tree Intl. has clinched first deals on romantic drama “Traumfabrik,” which is produced by Tom Zickler, the former producing partner of German star Till Schweiger. The film has been picked up by Leomus in China; Flins & Piniculas in Spain; LEV Films/Shani Film in Israel; Taiwan in Moviecloud; Media Squad in Czech Rep., Hungary [...]

  • Cannes Film Review: 'Alice and the

    Cannes Film Review: 'Alice and the Mayor'

    Sophomore director Nicolas Pariser follows his politically engaged debut, “The Great Game,” with an even deeper plunge into the disconnect between political theory and the workings of government in the unmistakably French “Alice and the Mayor.” Deeply influenced by Eric Rohmer in the way it aspires to use philosophical dialogue to reveal something about the [...]

  • 'Diego Maradona' Review: The Football Legend

    Cannes Film Review: 'Diego Maradona'

    You expect the director of a biographical documentary to have a passion for whoever he’s making a movie about. But the British filmmaker Asif Kapadia spins right past passion and into obsession. He doesn’t just chronicle a personality — he does an immersive meditation on it. Kapadia plunges into the raw stuff of journalism: news [...]

  • Atlantics

    Emerging Talent From Gallic Cinema

    Variety is teaming with Unifrance, an agency that promotes French cinema around the world, to focus attention on four emerging talents in the French movie industry as part of Unifrance’s “New Faces of French Cinema” program. Here Variety profiles the rising filmmakers: Justine Triet, Eléa Gobbé-Mévellec, Hafsia Herzi and Mati Diop. Mati Diop Born to [...]

  • John Hannah Reunites With ‘The Mummy’

    John Hannah Reunites With ‘The Mummy’ Actors for Horror Pic ‘Lair’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    John Hannah, Corey Johnson and Oded Fehr will star in “Lair,” billed as a socially conscious horror movie about an LGBT family embroiled in one man’s attempt to prove the existence of the supernatural. The trio all appeared in the successful franchise “The Mummy,” and their new picture goes into production later this year. Katarina [...]

  • Loving Vincent Animation Oscars

    Adult Audience Animation: Cannes Panel Talks Big-Screen Strategy

    CANNES–A panel of leading animation industry executives gathered during the Cannes Film Market on Sunday to shed light on their strategies for the theatrical release of adult-oriented animated features. It was a timely conversation at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Five of the 28 animated projects in the Marché du Film are adult audience-focused, including [...]

  • Lea Drucker poses with the Best

    French Filmmaker Axelle Ropert Readies 'Petite Solange' With MK2 Films (EXCLUSIVE)

    French writer/director Axelle Ropert is set to direct “Petite Solange,” a film that will star Léa Drucker and Philippe Katerine, who won the best acting nods at this year’s Cesar Awards for their performances in “Custody” and “Sink or Swim,” respectively. MK2 films will handle international sales. Haut et Court has acquired rights for French [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content