Help! Newt Scamander’s brown and battered briefcase has broken open—again (he never learns) and fantastic creatures are on the run. There are gold-digging nifflers, bowtruckles, murtlaps and even, gasp, a hippogriff let loose. Word on the street is that the beasts are hiding on the sets of the two Fantastic Beasts movies. Let’s revisit all the film locations around the world we can, and try and manage this mischief.
P.S. Muggles (sorry, no-maj just doesn’t fly with us) are welcome to join in the hunt too, as long as they don’t start exposing us on Instagram.
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them: Part 1
It’s best to begin our search where the action first began. The film, played by protagonist New Scamander (actor Eddie Redmayne) was set in New York in the 1920s, but the shooting actually took place in sets in the UK and in Liverpool. Here are some notable spots.
St George’s Hall
In Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, New York senator (and spoiler alert: bad guy) Henry Shaw gives a campaign speech a political rally inside the real-life St George’s Hall on Liverpool’s Lime Street.
When it is not a filming set for blockbuster fantasy films, the grand hall is a venue for organ concerts, weddings and even homecoming of the city’s football team.
The Cunard Building
In the film, Newt Scamander tries to track down an escaped creature in the popular department store Macy’s. These adventures on the make-believe 5th Avenue of New York actually take place inside The Cunard Building in Liverpool.
Built in the style of an Italian palazzo (palace), the building now lends its ground floor to the British Music Experience.
In the opening scene in the bank, we see Scamander in a giant bank as he bumps into character Jacob Kowalski for the first time. The film location in question was actually the old and now disused Martins Bank on the corner of 4 Water Street in Liverpool. It may be converted to a five-star hotel in the future, as per their website.
The headquarters of MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America) in New York may be a fictional institution, but its entrance certainly is not. The archway outside which Scamander is reprimanded and caught by is Tina Goldstein is, in reality, the entrance to the Woolworth Building in New York. The towering skyscraper, which is known for its neo-Gothic style, was reportedly chosen by JK Rowling, especially when she spotted the carving of an owl on its archway. As per Pottermore, it is explained that the Woolworth Building is big enough to house both No-Majs and wizarding folk, “if one activated the right spells.”
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them: Crimes of Grindelwald
The film, a continuation of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, was primarily set in three cities - London and Paris. Newt Scamander, after foraying through New York in the earlier part, adventures through the French capital to bring down evil dark wizard, Grindelwald. Quite surprisingly though, all the scenes taking place in Paris were shot in the UK and in Warner Bros. Studios.
If you are a Potterhead, then Leadenhall Market is sure to ring a bell. Home to Diagon Alley during the Harry Potter series, the market is also doubled as the French market in the film. The glittering location is once again a source of magic, adapted to the 1920s with shop gleaming with items reminiscent of the time period.
Located in North London, the Highgate Cemetery is a prominent Victorian burial ground. With its ivy-clad structures and overgrown hindered paths, it is the perfect blend of creepy and ominous. The climax of the movie takes place here as Grindelwald calls upon his faithfuls to spread his message.
Consisting of some of the most refined funerary architectures in the world, the cemetery is the resting place of many recognized individuals such as philosopher Karl Marx and author Douglas Adams.
Well-engraved among loyal Harry Potter fanatics, Lacock Abbey has seen scores of witches and wizards over the years. The 16th-century country house, which has appeared as Hogwarts in earlier movies, comes back to play the same role in this cinematic venture as well.
Earlier, Harry walked the great cloisters of Hogwarts, and now it was Scamander who scampered through the hall in an attempt to reach class in time.
St. Paul's Cathedral
You might have spotted Albus Dumbledore and Newt Scamander have a chat in the trailer while perched on top of a building overlooking the city of London. Designed by Christopher Wren following the English Baroque form, Muggles aren't allowed to the top of the structure as the two wizards.
But fret not, you can climb the dome and to enjoy the gorgeous view of London.