“Fantastic Beasts” production halted after positive COVID case

Cast members Ezra Miller, Jude Law, Katherine Waterston and Eddie Redmayne attend a promotion for the movie “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” in Beijing
Cast members Ezra Miller, Jude Law, Katherine Waterston and Eddie Redmayne attend a promotion for the movie “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” in Beijing, China October 28, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

February 4, 2021

LONDON (Reuters) – Production on the third “Fantastic Beasts” movie has been halted after a team member tested positive for COVID-19, Warner Bros. Pictures said on Thursday.

The franchise, a spin-off from the “Harry Potter” books and films, stars Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne as “magizoologist” Newt Scamander.

Filming had begun in September at Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden, outside London, after the pandemic delayed a March 2020 start, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“A team member from Fantastic Beasts 3 has tested positive for COVID-19. The diagnosis was confirmed as a result of required and ongoing testing that all production employees receive, and the team member is currently in isolation,” a Warner Bros. Pictures spokesperson said in a statement.

“Out of an abundance of caution, Fantastic Beasts 3 paused production and will be back up in accordance with safety guidelines.” 

The statement gave no further details.

The “Fantastic Beasts” films are set some 70 years before “Harry Potter” and include younger versions of author J.K. Rowling’s characters such as Albus Dumbledore, played by Jude Law.

The upcoming movie, scheduled for release in July 2022, also sees Mads Mikkelsen take on the role of evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald, originally played by Johnny Depp.

Depp was asked to leave the franchise late last year after losing a libel case against a British tabloid which branded him a “wife beater”.

(This story refiles to fix typo in paragraph 8)

(Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Gareth Jones)