This past weekend, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald opened in theaters and introduced us to Jude Law's younger version of Albus Dumbledore. There was also the faintest hint of his boyhood love for the dark wizard known as Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), who is now trying to spark a wizard revolution against the Muggles (non-magic peoples) across Europe.
"I think the world is ready for it, and if it isn’t, it bloody well should be," he said.
In the story, Albus' feelings for Grindelwald play into his reasoning for not being able to move against the wizard and sending others, like Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), to do it in his stead.
"This film is not about his homosexuality, nor does his sexuality define him," Law added. "But that relationship is certainly a defining element of who he is and what he’s about. I also don’t think he’s someone who has given his heart or his soul to many people. The aftermath of their relationship left him reeling, and he’s packed his heart in ice, to be honest, and no one’s quite thawed it."
To prepare for the role of the enigmatic, manipulative, and powerful Hogwarts professor, Law was given a history lesson in Albus' more formative years by none other than J.K. Rowling herself (she also penned the screenplay).
"She took me back through his childhood and how that emotion impacted this young man," he said. "One of the key relationships we talked about, of course, was with Gellert Grindelwald, and how that was formative in that it was intense, intimate, passionate. It was the first time Dumbledore met his match and, for a reason I can’t divulge, they have this falling out. And it propels them in opposite directions and leaves this wound between them that is still open some 25 years later."
The "falling out" to which Law refers is that final magical duel between himself, Grindelwald, and Albus' younger brother Aberforth. During the height of their friendship, Albus and Gellert planned to overthrow the Muggles and find all three Deathly Hallows. Aberforth, having enough of their foolishness, stood up to the two, which only enraged Grindelwald, who used the Cruciatus Curse on him, resulting in the aforementioned duel.
This fight ended in the death of the Dumbledore brothers' little sister, Ariana, although none of them was sure who cast the curse that actually killed her. The fear of finding out is another reason why Albus pushed off his final confrontation with Grindelwald until 1945. Grindelwald was aware of this, allowing him a freer reign to amass power and followers prior to his fall.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is now playing in theaters everywhere.