Magic, it turns out, is a highly addictive thing - and when it comes to the intricate fictional world of JK Rowling, fans can rarely get enough.

To celebrate the release of Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them, a number of books on the making of the film have consequently been published (just in time for Christmas), including Ian Nathan's behind-the-scenes guide Inside the Magic, and The Case of Beasts, which explores the wizarding world shown in the film.

We had a look through, to see what we could glean about Fantastic Beats, its cast, and Rowling's script.

Here are some of the things we learnt:


1. Eddie Redmayne wound up "sobbing" after reading the script for the first time

Eddie Redmayne and JK Rowling at the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them premiere. Photo / Getty
Eddie Redmayne and JK Rowling at the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them premiere. Photo / Getty

In Yates-ian style, the director held a "slightly clandestine meeting" with Redmayne near Christmas in the basement of "a hidden little club in Soho", next to a roaring fire.

The club may or may not have been The Leaky Cauldron. He later went to safari parks to meet real zoologists and meet experts in animal breeding to learn about these people cared for exotic creatures.

2. JK Rowling wrote the script in two-day chunks

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

is Rowling's debut screenplay, and she said that, in comparison to writing a novel, "she really, really, really enjoyed it. It's completely different to being a novelist, where you're alone for a year, completely alone for a year and then one person gets to read it."

Instead, Rowling was in constant communication with Yates and serial Potter-producers Steve Kloves and Lionel Wigram, who pitched the idea of an adaptation to Rowling in the first place. She would then: "depart for her hotel and spent two nights at her keyboard, returning having not slept but rewritten huge portions of the script, sometimes producing an entirely new draft."

3. Redmayne made sure that Newt's wand was animal-free

Prop modeller Pierre Bohanna wanted Newt's wand to include an "animal component", such as Fawkes's phoenix features that can be found in both Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort's wand, but Redmayne refused: he was "insistent there would be no leather or horn involved. Newt wouldn't stand for that. Which definitely ruled out anything macabre like bone."

4. The crew built 1920s New York on set at Leavesdon Studios

It took just 16 weeks to create Manhattan's Lower East Side, TriBeCa and the Diamond District in 1926 in a studio an hour north of London.

The set ran 800 feet by 500 feet, and needed constant re-dressing by an army of different teams of designers and dressers during the five months it was used for filming.

The same attention to detail was given to the office space of the MACUSA, where Tina and Queenie Goldstein work - 80 bespoke desks were designed and built and chairs were imported from the US for the set.

5. Queenie is the most attractive female character Rowling has ever created

She wrote as much in the script: "The most beautiful girl ever to don witch's robes".

6. The extras really earned their money

To recreate the chaos of 1920s Manhattan, there needed to be a lot of extras and a lot of costumes.

The problem was, that Fantastic Beasts was set in December, so the cast were dressed up in overcoats, scarves and gloves - and the crowd scenes were shot in August 2015.

Everyone was sweltering, remembers crowd costumer Gary Hyams, and "tended to undo their coats or take their scarves off and tuck them into their pockets. So we have to make sure it's all on from the beginning for that take.

"And also we have to make sure that nothing modern is showing. Glasses are a good one, watches are another. They forget to take their watches off and then suddenly somebody lifts their arm up and you've got a digital watch."

7. There are a lot of deliberate similarities between Harry Potter and Credence Barebone

Ezra Miller and Colin Farrell in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Photo / Youtube
Ezra Miller and Colin Farrell in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Photo / Youtube

Both are orphans, adopted into loveless families and thrown into the paths of a struggle between good and dark magic.

"It's rare that fantasy can touch on something this painful and delicate," said actor Ezra Miller, who plays Credence.

"It's been an amazing gift to explore the idea of someone who endures trauma, and then has tough choices to make about how that trauma is going to manifest in the rest of their life."

Producer David Heyman also indicated, however, that Credence's character - and the struggles we see him go through in the film - are a metaphor for the dangers of repression.

"When he is rejected, repressed, and his essence is denied, what happens with him is a reflection of what can happen in greater society," Heyman explained.

8. Tina's trousers were designed to show that she was a modern, forward-thinking type of woman

Costume designer Colleen Atwood made the decision to put Katherine Waterston's character in trousers (something that was not all that common for women in the 1920s) as a way of demonstrating Tina's independent side.

"She was sort of a modern girl..." explained Atwood. "She had an element of what the aurors wore but not really. Hence the trousers."

9. The Demiguise was 'babysitting' the young Occamy

Ever wonder why, in Fantastic Beasts, Dougal the Demiguise escaped?

We always assumed that the mysterious ape-like creature with a talent for invisibility just saw his chance and decided to make a run for it. But the truth, it turns out, is a lot more aww-inducing.

If you're the sort of person with a soft spot for YouTube videos with names like "tiny kitten curls up with baby goat", we suggest you take a deep breath, and prepare for some serious inter-species cuteness.

According to Redmayne, in the script Dougal ventures out solely in order to protect the lost young Occamy.

"The Demiguise has such heart," Redmayne explained. "Loves the Occamies. Is kind of babysitting one. And when it escapes, the Demiguise, he goes out into the world to make sure the newborn Occamy is okay."

JK Rowling apparently came up with the idea that the Demiguise should show a caring instinct while the creature was still in the design stage.

"One of the things I love about what Jo's written is not only as she created all these amazing animals and Newt's relationship with the animals, but also the relationship between the animals," said Redmayne.

10. The chilling MACUSA execution pool was inspired by a Saatchi Gallery installation

According to the film's VFX supervisor Christian Manz, the disturbing, memory-absorbing pool seen in the film was designed to resemble a Saatchi Gallery artwork "where there was oil with a perfect reflection on the surface".

Although the installation in question isn't named, it sounds as if Manz is referring to artist Richard Wilson's 20:50, a permanent piece in which an entire room at the gallery is filled with smooth black engine oil.