Meet Katherine Waterston, star of new Harry Potter movie Fantastic Beasts

The wizarding world of Harry Potter is back – and it’s got a brand new female heroine. Marie Claire meets Katherine Waterston.

It’s been five long years since The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 was released in cinemas, and now the Harry Potter universe is finally back on our screens with J.K. Rowling’s first original screenplay Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. Set in 1920s New York, with a brand new all-star cast, we caught up with the film’s leading lady Katherine Waterston to find out more…

You play Porpentina Goldstein in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. How close is JK Rowling’s script to the original books?
‘The themes got more serious as the books continued, and Fantastic Beasts feels like a continuation of that. It’s more adult and there are certainly some very dark elements, but I don’t think Jo [Rowling] tried to target a particular age group. There’s still so much childlike wonder in the story.’

Did you read all the books when you were a teenager?
‘My first introduction to Harry Potter was my little brother, who started reading them and then we didn’t see him for days. I don’t even know if he ate. I’ve always had an aversion to best sellers, so I tend to read really wonderful books about ten years too late! I read them while we were shooting, which actually ended up being an incredible gift as it kept me focused. I saw the films first, so I experienced it all in reverse.’

Katherine Waterston

Katherine Waterston and Eddie Redmayne in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

Which spell would you like to use the most in real life?
Reparo [to repair things] would probably be the most useful, but Stupefy [the stunning spell] would be amusing!’

You’ve worked with some incredible actors. Who’s been your favourite?
‘I’ll probably always hold working with Joaquin [Phoenix in Inherent Vice] very close to my heart because that was a big break for me.’

You were recently reunited with Michael Fassbender in the sci-fi movie Alien: Covenant
‘I can’t wait for people to see this film, because Michael plays two different robots and he’s just incredible. I really felt like I was getting this preview of what my children’s children will experience – interacting with an A.I. that looks like a person. He made my job so much easier, because I didn’t feel like I was engaging with a human being.’

Katherine Waterstone

Katherine Waterston and Joaquin Phoenix in Inherent Vice

Are you happy to be coming into the limelight in your thirties rather than your teens or twenties?
‘Years ago, my expectation was that as I got older I would have more clarity about life and how I was meant to live it, but now I see that the questions remain. Things don’t necessarily get more simple as you get older, but I think I’m probably less likely to sweat the small stuff.’

Who’s given you the best advice?
‘My grandfather said, “Fame is like smoking; it won’t hurt you if you don’t inhale”, and I think there’s something very grounding about that.’

Katherine Waterston is the star of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, in cinemas from 18th November

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