One of the best things about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the chemistry between its four leads. While the filmmakers have talked a lot about 1920s influences, such as modeling aspects of Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scamander after Charlie Chaplin (one certainly sees it in his mating dance) or Queenie Goldstein after the 1920s’ biggest “It Girl,” Clara Bow, there is nevertheless a bit of magic from later Hollywood movies about, Newt, Jacob, Tina, and Queenie. Indeed, with their kind of sweet, madcap energy, they resemble quartets from future decades, including that of two war buddies falling for the Haynes sisters in White Christmas. All that might’ve been missing is a musical number for the women.
Well, as it turns out, there was one!
Alison Sudol, as well as David Yates and producer David Heyman in a separate interview, described just what that scene entailed, and it sounded like an absolute delight, particularly since Ms. Sudol is a singer-and-songwriter pianist. Hence why Yates and Heyman requested Sudol to write the song for the picture, which would have been a school anthem for the American equivalent of Hogwarts, Ilvermorny.
Yates and Heyman first described the scene as occurring during the pastoral peace found inside Newt’s suitcase while the quartet is enjoying the sheer wonder of being in these fantastic creatures’ company. In the finished film, there is a remnant of this when Newt gets into an argument with the Goldstein sisters about which is better, Hogwarts or Ilvermorny.
Says Yates, “There’s a great, lovely song that we got Alison to write, an Ilvermorny song, and she sings it with Katherine [Waterston] in front of the boys, a school song. And as they sing it, the boys slowly kind of fall in love with them, and we took that out!” Yates pauses to laugh, already expecting the fan criticisms that will come once they see the scene on the inevitable Blu-ray. “Why did we take that out?!”
Sudol is fine with the decision but delved a little deeper into what the scene required.
“We shot so much for this movie, but not everything could fit in, understandably so, because what is in the movie is so special,” Sudol explains. “But yeah, they asked if I’d write a school song for Ilvermorny, and it was just like, ‘Woah.’ That was a song-writing assignment like I’ve never had before, and it was really fun. And it was just a really nice experience, and to do that with Katherine, as well. I hope that people find it; it’s just such an honor of being a part of the Wizarding World, and connect that with music.”
Heyman in the earlier interview did explain why it was cut.
“There’s probably more on this film that we cut out than on any of the Potters,” Heyman says. “We’re not trying to fuel DVD sales. It was really just about the story and how best to tell this story. In the film, it would have been lovely to leave it in; that Ilvermorny song is when they all go down into the case, and at that point in the story, there’s all this stuff going on outside, and they’ve got to find Credence. So why are they taking this honeymoon to sing a song? So we sort of wanted to propel the story.”
Even so, we certainly thought in our review that the chemistry among the four leads was the best thing the film has going for it beyond its 1920s, New York setting. So perhaps in the sequel when the foursome hit the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, we’ll finally get their big number? The Fantastic Beasts ending clearly implied such a thing is possible.
Fantastic Beasts is in theaters now.