James auditions and takes part in Fantastic Beasts 2

Year 11 student James recently auditioned and took part in filming to appear in Fantastic Beasts 2. Here he tells about his involvement:

I was fortunate enough to be able to appear in Fantastic Beasts 2 – and the experiences and opportunities I received on the way were absolutely incredible.

My mum saw an open audition on Facebook for the Fantastic Beasts sequel and I almost missed it as I didn’t want to miss a pool party taking place on the same day, which may seem silly now – but at the time it was a big deal for some reason. The audition was in London, in front of the film’s casting director, and was one of the first movie auditions I had been to. I felt a mixture of excitement and also nerves during my 15 minute audition (trying not to be self conscious of the camera pointed right at me). I talked and read a short script through a few ways, trying to be as adaptable as possible. After the audition I left and reassured my mother that nothing would come of it.

One month later I found myself sitting in a waiting room at the Harry Potter film studios in Watford waiting to audition for director David Yates – who has filmed four of the Harry Potter’s and also the first Fantastic Beasts film. I was in the room with seven other boys (who looked unnervingly similar to myself) and six girls. We were given a short description of what the scene would be about and then told to improvise it when we went in. This was terrifying as improv can be hit or miss, and you can let it pass you if you aren’t in the moment. My name was called and I went in with one other boy and girl armed with very little advice and tried to muster as much confidence as I could manage.

The first thing I noticed was how cool the office was, equipped with a dart board, table tennis and a large sofa where we would film. I shook hands with the director and attempted to make an icebreaker of a joke that was met with a reassuring smile. The first character I played was a confident young Theseus Scamander, the second a timid Newt Scamander and I quickly realised the characters were complete contrasts of each other. The improvisation went well and I tried to take the lead in each of the auditions driving the conversation forward, which wasn’t hard as I already had extensive knowledge of the Harry Potter universe, having read each of the books twice and binged on the films countless number of times.

I was the only boy there who had got through the open auditions – the rest had come through agencies, so I convinced my mum again that nothing would come of it.

Two weeks later, I was back at the studios and was told that I had landed the role of young Theseus (Callum Turner) and the boy I auditioned with had got the part of young Newt (Eddie Redmayne). However, I was also told that although Newt had a firm place within the script young Theseus was still not 100% certain as JK Rowling was unsure how to incorporate him in the script. Either way, we were both fitted with costumes and left.

Later that month I received a phone call to let me know that Theseus would no longer be apart of the script which was obviously gutting. But the director had taken a liking to me and said that I could still appear in a classroom scene in the film and attend the after party and early screening. I also received a wand which was very cool. During filming I met Jude Law and spoke to Calum Turner, who I was meant to play the younger version of. At the party I met further stars and talked to JK Rowling, Eddie Redmayne, Ezra Miller and Callum Turner, who gave me a friendly hug when I saw him and surprisingly remembered my name.

The whole experience was absolutely incredible and despite the outcome not being everything I wanted, it was still amazing. Since that audition I haven’t done anymore film/TV auditions but I am very excited to start A level drama next year.