Earlier this year, Fantastic Beasts franchise director and Harry Potter mainstay David Yates said that despite J.K. Rowling’s reveal that Albus Dumbledore is gay, the character’s sexuality would not explicitly be referenced in the upcoming sequel. Now, Jude Law, who will play a young version of the character in November’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, is saying that Dumbledore’s sexuality is not his primary characteristic and, therefore, will not be a point of emphasis… this time.
“Jo Rowling revealed some years back that Dumbledore was gay. That was a question I actually asked Jo and she said, ‘yes, he’s gay,’” Law said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “But as with humans, your sexuality doesn’t necessarily define you; he’s multifaceted. I suppose the question is: How is Dumbledore’s sexuality depicted in this film? What you got to remember, this is only the second Fantastic Beasts film in a series and what’s brilliant about Jo’s writing is how she reveals her characters, peels them to the heart over time. You’re just getting to know Albus in this film, and there’s obviously a lot more to come. We learn a little about his past in the beginning of this film, and characters and their relationships will unfold naturally which I’m excited to reveal. But we’re not going to reveal everything all at once.”
According to Rowling, Dumbledore actually fell in love with Gellert Grindelwald, his childhood friend and the film’s main antagonist played by Johnny Depp. The author referred to Grindelwald’s turn to the dark side as Dumbledore’s “great tragedy” and his evildoing eventually paved the way for the infamous Lord Voldemort to rise to power.
Given the significance of their relationship, it was surprising to see Law admit that he didn’t film any scenes with Depp’s character.
“As I said before, this is only Part 2 of a longer story. I’ve always admired him from afar, but we don’t know each other, and I’ve not yet met him on this,” Law said. “In many ways, that suits the relationship as it’s been many years since they’ve seen each other. So there’s complexity in that that’s fun to mine. Again, the past will reveal itself.”
One could take Law’s comments to mean that the Fantastic Beasts series will eventually touch upon Dumbledore’s sexuality and his past relationship with Grindelwald. On the other hand, this could all just be a polite way of explaining why one of the year’s biggest blockbusters isn’t co-headlined by an overtly gay character. We’ll let you make up your own mind on that one.
Elsewhere in the interview, Law explained how his version of the character will differ from the previous ones, played by Richard Harris and Michael Gambon, noting that the Fantastic Beasts sequel takes place roughly 100 years before the Harry Potter films.
“The one thing that came out was the sense of play. He has a youthful mercurial approach to life, but that there’s something that hangs heavy in his heart, in his past, that underlies all of that. There’s a root of good humor and good heart and sense of self and a sense of past,” Law said. “There’s a sense of humor and mischief, a dash of anarchy, a sense of what’s right and what he believes in, and a sense of mystery. There’s also how he comes around to get people onto his way of thinking—which is rather indirectly. He also has a certain heaviness about him that I don’t want to reveal too much about—and that’s something he has to overcome, or hopes to overcome. He’s also got a great passion for sharing his knowledge, he’s a powerful and inclusive teacher.”
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald will arrive in theaters on November 16.