Joshua Shea has had quite a year. He starred in one of the biggest sequels of the year: “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.” Joshua plays a younger version of Eddie Redmayne’s character, Newt. The Fantastic Beasts sequel brings audiences back to the famed wizard university, Hogwarts. YEM spoke with rising star Joshua about the movie and being a part of the JK Rowling universe.
Young Entertainment Mag: So before you were cast in the film, were you a fan of Harry Potter or JK Rowling?
Joshua Shea: I grew up reading the Harry Potter books and watching the movies. I was never a huge fan of reading but found myself encompassed by JK Rowlings writing. And I could not get my head out of the books.
YEM: Did you read the “Fantastic Beasts” books or watch the first movie to prepare for the role?
Joshua: When I was pre-production for the movie, I spent quite a lot of time watching the first Fantastic Beasts movie. I studied Eddie’s mannerisms and get to know Newt’s character. This was an incredibly useful tool as an actor to get a feel for the style and influence my performance.
YEM: Fantastic Beasts was a hugely successful movie. What was it like to be a part of the Fantastic Beasts sequel? Was it exciting?
Joshua: It’s such an incredible movie to step into. I learnt huge amounts about how the film industry works and what it takes to create a movie on the scale of Fantastic Beasts. You realize, when taking part in movie like this how much work and care goes on behind the scenes to make the magical world come alive. I found it an incredibly welcoming environment to be part of.
YEM: You play a young version of Eddie Redmayne’s character. Did you get to meet Eddie?
Joshua: I met Eddie a couple of days before I started filming. He was incredibly generous, spending a whole day speaking to me and visiting the sets where I was going to work, which was a completely surreal experience. He is so unassuming and humble and someone I regard with a great deal of respect and admiration.
YEM: Do you have anything in common with Young Newt? Can you relate to him at all?
Joshua: I think I can definitely relate to Newts feeling of being unconventional or different. When you are interested in a subject or hobby thats not regarded as cool by your peers, you can often feel like an outsider. Similar to Newt. For Newt this is an interest in magical (and non magical) creatures but for me, an interest in the creative arts. I could use my experience to influence my performance.
YEM: Did you get any instructions on how to cast spells?
Joshua: I was given some coaching by an amazing movement coach called Alex who gave me a hand with some wand movements to cast spells and working with the CGI. This was an incredible experience and one of the many highlights of working on the movie.
YEM: What was it like to work with Jude Law who plays young Dumbledore?
Joshua: Jude was lovely to work with and put us at ease, very much like Dumbledore himself!
YEM: Finally, what was the audition process like for the film? Did you know this was for the Fantastic Beast sequel?
Joshua: The audition process for fantastic beasts happened over quite a long period of time. I applied for the role through Pottermore’s open casting call which they put out last summer. A week or so later I received a recall to Self Tape. That is basically a video which you record and send off. There was a two week gap before I then received a call back for a live audition with the Director David Yates. The live audition went really well and I felt like I had done my best no matter the outcome. Finally I received a phone call from the Casting Director who told me that I had been cast!
Also the cast was sworn to confidentiality early on in the audition process. It was a difficult secret to keep but definitely worth it in the end!