Fantastic Beasts star and indie musician Alison Sudol has truly made a name for herself as the captivating Queenie Goldstein, and was kind enough to share some behind-the-scenes magic with Supanova TV in Adelaide.
“First of all, being an American, I never thought I was going to be part of the Potterverse; I just didn’t think it was possible,” Sudol told Supanova TV host Quinny.
“When this came around, I didn’t understand at first that Queenie was a part of the Potterverse, but I ended up just falling in love with her as a character and I was thinking of her as like a ‘Salem witch’ type.
“But her empathy, compassion, warmth, spirit, femininity, just everything about her I love, and she’s quite a different person than I am, but I wanted to protect her and wrap myself around this young woman.”
Sudol said she was able to put her own spin on the character, something you don’t see often with big franchises.
“They gave me so much freedom to explore who she was and to play around, which is just a dream with something as big as this,” she said.
“It was great because we were encouraged to explore with our characters. They gave us so much room.”
Sudol admits that, after the success of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, it wasn’t easy to get back into character for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
“On the second film, it took a lot of mental work and breathing to go back to Queenie, and to not follow other people’s expectations of what she needs to be,” she revealed.
“She shifts quite a bit in the second film, and as an actress, I had to find a way to navigate that as best as I could and not worry about what other people think, because you’ll drive yourself crazy.
“As women – you have to think about the time period of this too – I grew up not wanting to show my cards and inner deck, you find a way of going through life where people think of you in a way that feels safe and comfortable.
“She had been incredibly sheltered by her sister, Tina, and for good reason, so she needed to be protected.
“It wasn’t that she had a façade on, but she didn’t want this other side of her to exist, but that is starting to come out whether she likes it or not in the second film.”
Later that same day, Sudol took to the Cosplay Theatre, sharing even further insight into the franchise and her character.
Jumping into the world of Harry Potter
“I was a huge fan of the books growing up and, in a very rock’n’roll way, I finished the last Potter book on tour. Everybody else was out partying and I was in my bunk like, ‘Oh, my god!’ So to be able to be included in this world would be an insane dream, and it’s still kind of hard to process the fact that I’ve met [J.K. Rowling].”
Learning to relax
“I’ve learnt tools and I’m starting to learn meditation, but also deep breathing. It’s amazing when you feel like the world is an onslaught of sensory overloads. I’ve learnt that you can’t control the pace of the world, you can’t control the way other people react, and you can’t control very many things. But you can learn to take five deep breaths when you’re feeling overloaded, like a slow inhale and exhale, and just the act of taking your own moment to breathe can create just this space between the circumstances and the reaction.”
Getting her wand
“It was wild, I mean, what other job do you get a wand, you know? We had wand lessons as well, which was pretty cool. I remember seeing it on my schedule, ‘Wand School’. Something that I found very interesting about wand school is that it wasn’t about teaching us how to hold a wand, it was much more like paying attention to how our characters would hold the wands as themselves and focusing on intention. Like, the intentionality of casting a spell.”
“The main perpetrator of shenanigan-type behaviour was Mr. [Dan] Fogler, who played Jacob. He almost made me pee my pants several times before takes, he’s hilarious and really, really funny.”
Favourite Harry Potter character
“I think it would be Hagrid, he’s the best.”
Inspirational music artists
“So many artists like Nick Drake, Karen Dalton, Air, Talking Heads, Velvet Underground, Eva Cassidy, it’s kind of all over the place. There are some really great artists nowadays who are doing really cool work like Angel Olsen and Aldous Harding, and This Is the Kit as well.”
Working with Jason Isaacs
“Yes, he’s here [at Supanova]! Like a little kid sitting on the bus, I was like ‘Jason! Sit next to me!’ Yeah, he’s a great person, he’s really funny. He and I worked together for a while and we were in Israel, Croatia and Albuquerque. He’s just such a cool person and a good human. I’m excited to catch up with him more and I didn’t expect to do that here, because I’m in London all the time, and it takes coming to Australia to hang out.”
“The one that sticks out because it’s really nostalgic is the scene in the first film where Tina and Queenie are setting the table and Queenie is cooking. It was the first scene we shot with all four of us in the same room and I just remember feeling so excited and nervous. Because it was so new, and we’re all in this wonderful situation together, it was just a really special scene, and I love the way Queenie and Jacob are sort of falling in love at that table. It’s really special.”
Lead image: Alison Sudol at Supanova 2019 – Brisbane. Photo by Ewan Ly.