Tag Archives: Julian Morris

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Who Should Play Newt Scamander?

After seeing the news last week of Gaston and the Beast’s casting in the upcoming live-action version of Disney’s Beauty and the BeastI started thinking about other popular future movies that have yet to be cast.

If you know me even just a bit, you’ll know that I absolutely love Harry Potter. I was late in coming to the Potter-party. Despite constant attempts at convincing me to read the books from my best friend and my sister’s best friend, I didn’t actually get around to it until my second year of University and BOY, am I glad I did!

In 2011, the world thought it had had its last glimpse of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter on the big screen with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. Then, in September 2013, we were treated to the exciting news that Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling, producer David Heyman, and director David Yates would be giving the big-screen treatment to her book, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which takes place in the same universe as Harry Potter, but does not have the same characters.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was originally written in 2001 by J.K. Rowling to raise money for Comic Relief, a charity that fights poverty around the world.

The world that Rowling created for the Harry Potter books has been fleshed out in her mind so well, that even a seemingly one-shot character like Newt Scamander, the protagonist of FBaWtFT, is actually tied right back in with the main characters of the original Harry Potter series in some way.

***SPOILER-ALERT***

Note: The following spoiler does not actually take play in the Harry Potter books, but was confirmed by J.K. Rowling in a chat post-Deathly Hallows:

Newt’s grandson Rolf Scamander, Rowling said, marries Luna Lovegood, one of Harry’s best friends.

Sorry Luna/Neville shippers, it was great to dream up the two of them together, but I, personally, think they were just too good as friends to make a relationship work… not to mention that Luna probably needs someone a bit more kooky like her.

***SPOILER ENDED***

And this brings me back to why I’m writing this post – we’re going to get our chance to see Newt Scamander on the big screen either in late 2016 or early 2017.

The casting director did a fine job with the eight Harry Potter movies (with some minor issues here and there), but I’d like to take my shot at playing casting director and tell you some of the actors who I think could play Newt Scamander.

First things First:

What Do We Know About Newt?

Who could ever play this super-stylish wizard? :P
Who could ever play this super-stylish wizard? 😛

So far this is what we know about Newt Scamander, on a fictional character-level:

– he was born in 1897
– his mother bred hippgriffs
– he’s a “Magizoologist” — meaning, a zoologist who works with magical creatures
– he worked for the Ministry of Magic in the “Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures”
– he wrote Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a book that goes on to be used by Hogwarts’ students
– he wrote it in 1927
– he has a wife named Porpentia
– he has at least one child and a grandson named Rolf
– he lived at least into the 1990s

This all means, if this movie (and any subsequent sequels) take place in the years leading up to his writing of the book and/or around when we wrote it, we need:

– a British or Irish actor (students of Hogwarts are from Great Britain or Ireland)
– in his mid-twenties to early-thirties

There was only one person who sprang to mind when I first heard about this movie:

MY Newt Scamander:

TOM HIDDLESTON

Obviously this is Newt Scamander right here, am I right?
Obviously this is Newt Scamander right here, am I right?

D.O.B.: February 9, 1981
Place of Birth: Westminster, London, England, UK
Likelihood that he’ll be cast: **/5

Why do I think Tom Hiddleston should be Newt Scamander?  Okay, let’s be fair, I think Tom Hiddleston should be cast in most everything so I have a chance to see him in more.

But, my actual reason for choosing him is because he embodies my imaginary picture in my mind of Newt Scamander – lanky, charming, a bit goofy, and able to pull off 20s gear like nobody’s business.

hiddles

Add to that, that Tom has already proven he can do the roaring twenties by playing F. Scott Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris (2011), so we know he fits the decade well…

midnight in paris
Tom (as F. Scott Fitzgerald) with his co-star, Alison Pill (as Zelda Fitzgerald) in 2011’s Midnight in Paris

…And that he’s just one of the best up-and-coming actors at the moment, and you have my #1 choice for Newt Scamander.

Even though it seems to be a no-brainer, there are a few things standing in the way of him being cast in the role, though – namely the fact that he’s already very well-known as Loki in the Marvel Universe.

I’m not sure that they’d go with someone who is so recognizable as another character, no matter how wonderful he is.

Since he is such a great actor and quite popular, I do still have hopes that he could be cast, which is why I put his likelihood at two out of five stars.

My new favourite choice:

JULIAN MORRIS

julian morris
D.O.B.: January 13, 1983
(Fun fact: Also Orlando Bloom’s birthday (1977) – what a day for attractive people!)
Place of Birth: London, England, UK
Likelihood that he’ll be cast: *1/2 /5

If you haven’t heard of Julian Morris, I wouldn’t blame you.

I first saw him on Pretty Little Liars, as Wren Kingston – a mysterious and shady character, as most characters on that show are.

Sure, Wren just seems like an awesome, sweet, romantic doctor, but he's about to kiss his fiancee's younger sister here!  *GASP*
Sure, Wren just seems like an awesome, sweet, romantic doctor, but he’s about to kiss his fiancee’s younger sister here! *GASP*

He followed that up with a role as Prince Phillip on Once Upon a Time. Where he really caught my attention, though, was just recently as Ryan, the love interest of Zooey Deschanel’s Jessica Day on New Girl.

I think he could be the perfect mix of bumbling and gentleman, but at the same time, since he proved he can play someone a bit more questionable on Pretty Little Liars, there’s a bit of an edgy side there – like someone who just might want to mix with dragons, basilisks and hippogriffs!

Also, on a purely superficial level – he’s just adorable!

Wooing Jess - and us impressionable viewers - on New Girl
Wooing Jess – and us impressionable viewers – on New Girl

The reason I only gave him a one-and-half star chance though, because I’m not sure how well known he is.. Having really only been on TV shows in the last couple of years, he may only be at “TV Star” level right now.

He’s my dark horse, long-shot hope though!

The guy that I thought Julian Morris was when he first came on New Girl, until I realized they were different people:

BEN BARNES

Is it just me, or do they look at least a bit alike?
Is it just me, or do they look at least a bit alike?

D.O.B.: August 20, 1981
Place of Birth: London, England, UK
Likelihood that he’ll be cast: **/5

To be totally honest, when I was watching New Girl, it really didn’t click for me that Ryan was played by the same actor who was Wren. Instead, for a little while, I thought he was Ben Barnes, who I remembered from the film Stardust.

Ben Barnes, I feel, is the movie-equivalent of Julian Morris. He has been in a few different fantasy movies by now (Stardust, two Chronicles of Narnia films), so we know he’d be fine with possibly working with a lot of CGI and green screens.

As much as I'd like to believe Liam Neeson is just THAT good as an actor that he turned himself into a lion... he did not, and the lion is most certainly computer-generated.
As much as I’d like to believe Liam Neeson is just THAT good as an actor that he turned himself into a lion… he did not, and the lion is most certainly computer-generated.

The troublesome part with him – and what knocked him down to a two out of five rather than two-and-a-half or higher – is that the most recent movie he headlined, Seventh Son, didn’t do all that well critically or at the box office, and, frankly, it really did look pretty terrible.

On top of that, there still seems to be another Narnia movie in the works (even though the last one was over five years ago), so if he’s signed on for more of those that’d complicate things.

And continuing with the actors from Stardust:

CHARLIE COX

charlie cox

D.O.B.: December 15, 1982
Place of Birth: London, England, UK
Likelihood that he’ll be cast: */5

I honestly don’t think Charlie Cox has a chance whatsoever, particularly because he is now the lead in his own show – Daredevil – which is premiering next month.

I thought I’d still add him in though on the off-chance that Daredevil doesn’t fare well (we know it didn’t for Ben Affleck!) and because, funnily enough, when I saw Stardust years ago, I was much more enamored with Ben Barnes than Charlie Cox (even though he was only in the movie for, maybe, twenty minutes? But now I have seen Charlie Cox in more).

Now, years later, Charlie Cox is still doing quite well for himself in the entertainment world.

I was impressed with him most when he came on Boardwalk Empire as Owen Sleater.

On a show where it was easy to get irritated with characters, he was one of the likable ones. Much like Tom Hiddleston, he’s proven he can do twenties style from his time on there, so that’s a definite plus for him.

He also did a fine Irish accent, should they want an Irish Newt Scamander!
He also did a fine Irish accent, should they want an Irish Newt Scamander!

But, because of his good fortune of landing the role of Matt Murdock aka Daredevil, I think he’s the longest of my long-shot choices.

If we’re talking British people, who’s more British than The Doctor?!

MATT SMITH

matt smithD.O.B.: October 28, 1982
Place of Birth: Northampton, Northamptonshire, England, UK
Likelihood that he’ll be cast: */5

Speaking of long-shots…

The chances that Matt Smith would be picked to play Newt Scamander are very low because he is another one of those actors who was only just very recently tied to a beloved series – Doctor Who.

Matt Smith played Eleventh Doctor from 2010-14, and was my personal favourite incarnation of The Doctor.
Matt Smith played Eleventh Doctor from 2010-14, and was my personal favourite incarnation of The Doctor.

As the Eleventh Doctor, though, he embodied a lot of what I’d like to see in Newt Scamander – curiosity, fun and a healthy dose of silliness.

There's a reason he's known as a Discombobulated Cat or Drunk Giraffe...
There’s a reason he’s known as a Discombobulated Cat or Drunk Giraffe…

I’m not exactly sure why I think Newt Scamander will be a bit of a goof or that the movie might have some zaniness to it, it might be because of J.K. Rowling’s hint at a synopsis:

Newt Scamander only meant to stay in New York for a few hours.

Somehow, that has led me to believe he is going to get himself into some madcap adventures. (This may also be influenced by my love of Silent Movies and that one of my favourite parts of the twenties is the one and only, Buster Keaton).

With that being the case, and these thoughts of a wild ol’ time in the Roaring Twenties in my head, Matt Smith could be a perfect choice.

But after years of playing the Eleventh Doctor, he may want to just move on to more stand-alone roles rather than another lofty series with a huge heaping of eager fans, in which case, this wouldn’t be the role for him.

A suggestion I saw online that I kind of got on-board with:

HARRY LLOYD

harry lloydD.O.B.: November 17, 1983
Place of Birth: London, England, UK
Likelihood that he’ll be cast: ** 1/2 /5

Interesting fact about Harry Lloyd – he is the great-grandson (a few times over, great-great-great-grandson?) of Charles Dickens! If you’re going to turn a literary character into flesh and blood, a relative of a Charles Dickens probably isn’t a terrible way to go.

My only experience with Mr. Lloyd is the few episodes that I watched of Game of Thrones, where he sported a platinum wig that would make Lucius and Draco Malfoy jealous.

Seriously, we got ourselves another Malfoy with this hair...
Seriously, we got ourselves another Malfoy with this hair…

With that in mind, when I read an article where someone else had suggested him, I couldn’t really see it… But then I saw what he looked like in real life and could see the possibility a bit more.

Aside from his playing Viserys Targaryen and a guest spot on two episodes of Doctor Who, I can’t comment on his acting ability, but he’s got the look that I imagine.

If he isn’t busy doing anything else in the next couple of years, he could be a contender.

Might I also add, he wins points from me for having a name very similar to silent movie actor, Harold Lloyd.

Now the problem with my choices is that on the scale of mid-twenties to early-thirties, I skew a bit more to the later half, likely because I am in the middle of this scale myself (…okay, I’m inching toward the older side *shudder*), so am drawn to the actors in their thirties.

Unfortunately, curmudgeonly old-folk as I am, I don’t know very many up-and-coming 22 to 25 year olds off the top of my head who could play Newt convincingly and possibly hold up an entire series. The only one I could think of was Nicholas Houltbut much like Tom Hiddleston, he’s already tied to a super-film series in the X-Men, so I don’t know that that’d allow for time for a whole new series in the next few years.

Another young actor I’ve heard rumblings about, though, is: Luke Newberry.

The one I just found out about:

LUKE NEWBERRY

luke newberry2

D.O.B.: February 19, 1990
Place of Birth: Exeter, Devon, England, UK
Likelihood that he’ll be cast: ***/5

The interesting thing about Luke Newberry is that he was originally cast as a character in the epilogue of Deathly Hallows: Part 2, but his part was cut.

He already seems to have Hedwig's stamp of approval!
He already seems to have Hedwig’s stamp of approval!

SO, he is already known to the Harry Potter family, and he didn’t get a chance to strut his acting chops yet.

Could this mean he’s a front-runner? Possibly so!

If they already know him and like him, they may want to give him a fair shot.

There is apparently also already a massive fan base online rooting for him, so if the casting directors take fan-favourite into consideration, he definitely seems to be it.

I’m not sure when the actual casting announcement will be made, but I am eager to see if I got anywhere close.  Maybe they’ll decide to go the same route as the Harry Potter movies and bank on a totally new and fresh face, but, as you can see from my choices above, they do have a lot of great talent to choose from…

Are there any actors who you think should be cast in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them?  Let us know in the comments or on twitter.

Until my next post!

-PJ