Unlocking Fantastic Beasts: In Search of the Shooting Script ‘The Round Up Post’

Cursed Child was the run-away best-seller for J. K. Rowling in 2016, but outside of thespian Potter-philes with pockets deep enough for travel to London and tickets, enthusiasm for the so-called ‘Eighth Harry Potter‘ has been short-lived. The Presence approved the story but it didn’t show many of her signature story-telling magic.

I’ll go out on a limb to make a prediction I doubt anyone will remember and say that 2016 will be recalled by fandom much more for the first Fantastic Beasts film than for Cursed Child. There’s a lot more to talk about, really, in speculating about where the story is headed and the artistry and meaning of Rowling’s return to the Wizarding World than there is in thinking about Harry Potter as a father failure and a Time Turner tsunami.

The real challenge in talking about Fantastic Beasts 1: Newt Goes to New York is that we have to try to isolate Rowling’s work from the Heyman-Yates mish-mash of a movie. As Rowling said Steve Kloves told her, the agony of making a movie out of a Rowling novel or script is “fitting the woman to the dress,” i.e., forcing the natural figure into the mechanical formula of blockbuster movies.

Can we re-create Rowling’s actual ‘Original Screenplay,’ the approved shooting script out of which Heyman-Yates cut 15 scenes that we know about? When the published ‘Original Screenplay’ does not include the sliced scenes — and doesn’t even match up with the movie as released?

We can, but it’s still a work in progress. Here’s a reminder of where we stand in the effort, our first stabs at interpreting the recreated texts and the underlying, re-invented mythology (Theseus!), and what we have left to do. Enjoy!

Unlocking Fantastic Beasts: Finding the Text Round Up

Preface: ‘The Original Screenplay’ – Not the Shooting Script or Even a Faithful Movie Transcript (What the Movie Makers Changed or Left Out)

Part 1: J. K. Rowling, Screenwriter — Who is Working for Whom?

Part 5A: So What? The Found Text and Its Meaning

Part 5B: The Shooting Script — A Corrected Text for Serious Readers

Part 5C: Conclusions and Predictions

Why the Film Franchise Cannot Win a Major League ‘Oscar’

Comments

  1. Mr. Granger,

    I can understand the idea of trying to stitch together or find the the “exact text”. The problem is I wonder how much more info is needed to get there.

    Remember, this script went through at least three drafts before Heyman and Yates what “they wanted”, as opposed to whatever Rowling’s muse originally offered up. If I had to take a wild guess, I’d still say the best bet is to find out whatever can be found about the first script Rowling offered; i.e. “The Orphanage Script”.

    Such Hollywood items can turn up here an there, however I really don’t know how lucky anyone will be at that. There is at least this much to offer.

    I may have been able to piece together a bit of dialogue between Jake and Newt that is somewhat revealing. To do this, it means going back to the Lego Dimensions “cut” of FB. It’s ironic that a video game, of all things, would be truer to Rowling’s script than a released movie. Still, after looking around I was able to find a spot during one of the game’s puzzle sequences, where the player has to mix up a potion for the Murtlap bite.

    The puzzle sequence starts with Jake falling into the case, and noticing Newt (i.e. Newton) at a workbench complete with a full “chymestry set”.

    The dialogue plays out like this:

    Jake: (noticing workplace): Hey, that’s quite a medicine chest ya got there.

    (edit for needless gameplay)

    Newt: That’ll stop the sweating. And one of these should sort the twitch.

    Jake: Jeez Mister. You’ve got everything in here. You’ve really seen the world.

    Newt: I suppose I have…Though not all of it is pretty.

    Jake: Yeah, ya don’t need to tell me that, pal. The War seen to that.

    That, it seems to me, is the relevant passage of dialogue. Take that snippet, insert it into the script, and see how it stack up later when you reinstate a scene near the finale when Queenie discovers what happened to Jake’s brother.

    In other words, the audience left with a moment of character building that was excised from the final cut.

    The clip where I found this can be seen here.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mw_sxSDfCEE

    It happens at the 8:19 – 9:58 minute mark.

    Hope that helps in some way.

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