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Behind the scenes of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Credence

In the first Fantastic Beasts film, the mysterious Credence had a dark secret. Ezra Miller explained how his character emerged.

Credence concept art from the Case of Beasts
Layouts © HarperCollins Publishers/© WBEI. (s18) Case of Beasts

The adopted son of puritanical New Salem Philanthropic Society leader Mary Lou Barebone, Credence appears to have been dealt a bad hand in life. Played by Ezra Miller, he’s misjudged and maligned as stupid by most people, including his mother who beats him regularly.

'Credence is someone who doesn’t really have a sense of who he is, and is suffering from low self-esteem,' says David Heyman. 'He is adopted and has been abused by his foster parent, and in having his true essence repressed, he is a metaphor for so many people who are denied the right to be who they are.'

Percival Graves and Credence observe a Second Salemers poster
Percival Graves (Colin Farrell) with Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller).

Inevitably, there’s much more to Credence than meets the eye.

'He’s a very misunderstood character, seduced by a mentor who wants to take him to a very dark place,' states David Yates. 'And again he’s an outsider trying to find his place in the world, who has very special skills and very special things going on. There’s a wonderful humanity in what [Jo writes], a celebration of being who you are without apology and not hiding or trying to disguise everything you can be, not trying to overly conform. Those themes run through Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. She cherishes individuality.'

'Credence is going through a lot, but we’re not aware of what,' says Jenn Murray who plays one of his two adopted sisters. 'Chastity looks at him as rebellious and not paying attention and not doing things the right way. She feels any time he’s out of line, he needs to be put back. Ezra played that amazingly well, because there are so many levels to what he did. Some really, really subtle.'

'Ezra’s extraordinary,' agrees Yates. 'He’s fearless. He curious, ambitious open, and brings such a wonderful spirit. He’s a very, very gifted actor. A special find.'

In addition to having to endure his mother’s beatings, Credence also falls prey to MACUSA Auror Graves who believes he can provide him with information he requires to track down a powerful magical child roaming the streets New York. 'Our relationship is quite disturbing,' says Miller of Graves. 'This manipulation will be tangible. There’s an amazing amount of ambiguity in this story, and that is part of what’s going to make it really dynamic and fascinating. We have fallible humans on all sides, doing what they think is right.'

Despite the hardships endured by his character, Miller says playing Credence represents a dream come true. 'I have been obsessed with J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World since I was seven, and it’s been a guiding mythology in my life,' he reveals. 'I grew up repeatedly reading the books and listening to the Jim Dale [narrated] audio recordings from the time I would get home from school to the time I would go to sleep, up to when I was 14. I’m not ashamed to admit it.'

Troubled Credence Barebone wears black coat and hat as he walks through New York streets
© JKR/Pottermore Ltd. ™ Warner Bros.

A lot of people were like, ‘What are you doing wasting your time listening to those fantasy books?’ Look at me now. This has felt like the fulfillment of dreams more than anyone can ever imagine.' Even if Credence doesn’t get to wield a wand like Harry did.

'I’m kind of bummed because I wanted one, but I accept it. I’m one of those wand-less types which I appreciate ‘cause it means I’ve got the power. I’m too ferocious. I would break a wand into a thousand pieces.'

Enjoy more amazing artwork and learn more behind-the-scenes facts in The Case of Beasts, by Mark Salisbury and published byHarper Collins.