Fantastic Beasts: who will play the Young Dumbledore?

Professor Dumbledore (Richard Harris) in 2001. Photo / Getty
Professor Dumbledore (Richard Harris) in 2001. Photo / Getty

K Rowling's debut screenplay, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, has swept across the world like a Thunderbird and left mostly magic and anticipation in its place.

The film, which stars Eddie Redmayne as magizoologist Newt Scamander, is the first of five in a whopping, decade-spanning franchise which looks set to rival the original Harry Potter film adaptations in scale and box office domination - it's clocked $150 million so far.

Eddie Redmayne in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Photo / Supplied
Eddie Redmayne in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Photo / Supplied

For those not up to scratch with their Hogwarts homework, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is set 70 years before the first Harry Potter film (and book), in New York in 1926.

It sets the scene for the next four films: Rowling's ambitious portrayal of the divisions between magical and non-magical people during the inter-war years, and the rise of dark magic and its impact on the wider world.

Rowling has said that the final Fantastic Beasts film will end in 1945, which is also the date when Albus Dumbledore, future headmaster of Hogwarts and mentor to Harry Potter, had a historic duel with dark magician Gellert Grindelwald, his one-time collaborator and, poignantly, object of unrequited love.

Director David Yates has already confirmed that a young version of Dumbledore will appear in the second Fantastic Beasts film, due to arrive in cinemas in 2018.

While no casting information has been announced, the considerable Harry Potter fanship has firm ideas about which actors they would like to see cast in the role. Here are the favourites:

Jared Harris

Jared Harris. Photo / Getty
Jared Harris. Photo / Getty

Most recently seen in The Crown, British actor Jared Harris is possibly the frontrunner in the Dumbledore race. He has, perhaps, the edge in the looks department, as his late father Richard Harris played the elderly headmaster in the first two Harry Potter films.

But, as those who relished Harris's performance in Mad Men will know, the 55-year-old actor (older than Dumbledore in the Rowling canon, but the right age to be two years older than 53-year-old Depp, who plays Grindelwald) captures a quietly tormented British soul quite perfectly.

Yates possibly planted the seeds of the Harris For Dumbledore fan campaign that has been gathering attention in recent weeks. In the run-up to Fantastic Beasts's release, he said:

"In the second movie Dumbledore comes back. There are a couple good scenes with Newt. We just have to find out who would play him? Any thoughts? It's not going to be Michael Gambon. No, we need a younger Dumbledore. But, Jared Harris is a fine actor. Harris has been made aware of the swell of interest in him being cast in the franchise."

While he hasn't ruled the possibility out, he's remaining modest about his chances of landing the role. He told the Evening Standard online on Friday:

"They're obviously thinking about it. I haven't heard anything and I don't expect to. It's not up to me. Having seen [fan campaigns] before I find that [film bosses] don't like to have their hands forced. These campaigns almost always go in a different direction."

Fans remain insistent on the casting, however, with some even mocking up what Harris might look like in the role (above).

Ewan McGregor

Ewan McGregor. Photo / Getty
Ewan McGregor. Photo / Getty

Auburn-haired and twinkly eyed, Ewan McGregor is another contender for Dumbledore as far as the fans are concerned.

The 45-year-old Scot is the perfect age to play the "young" Dumbledore, who was 45 at the time when Fantastic Beasts was set.

Vanity Fair have wasted no time championing McGregor with an editorial explaining that he more than proved that he could play a younger version of a well-loved sage as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequels and could bring the sequel box office attention (although we doubt Fantastic Beasts 2 would need much more of that).

McGregor himself hasn't commented on the interest, but that hasn't stopped people loudly voicing their interest online:





Arthur Darvill

Arthur Darvill. Photo / Getty
Arthur Darvill. Photo / Getty

Arguably, this runner (or rider) has come entirely from Mr Darvill's camp.

The Legends of Tomorrow star put himself forward for the role last week, when he spoke to Digital Spy, perhaps hoping that the casting directors would look kindly upon his request:

"D'you know what? I've made this pact with myself that when I hit a certain age, I'm only going to play wizards. I want to be that guy. So whether it's 10 years down the line or... when I can grow a salt and pepper beard, I would be totally happy just playing wizards for the rest of my life. But yeah, if they came knocking saying, 'We really want you to play the young Dumbledore', I'd definitely consider it!"

Somewhat awkwardly, nobody seems as enthusiastic about Darvill playing Dumbledore as Darvil himself.

The 34-year-old is a little young for the role, and perhaps hasn't yet earned the gravitas that McGregor or Harris could bring to the screen: Dumbledore was one of Scamander's champions at Hogwarts as a teacher - it's easier to think of Redmayne and Darvill as classmates.

Damian Lewis

Damian Lewis. Photo / Getty
Damian Lewis. Photo / Getty

A small but impassioned group has been inspired to support Damian Lewis's potential casting as Dumbledore, namely thanks to his noble Dumbledorian looks (blue eyes, red hair, steely gaze) and ability to take on a big personality with panache, as demonstrated when he played Henry VIII in Wolf Hall.



Lewis hasn't commented on the speculation, but he could feasibly fit in a turn as the wizarding great: aside from his current filming of the largely female remake of Oceans Eleven, Oceans Eight, there are no other forthcoming titles listed on his iMBD page.

- Daily Telegraph UK

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