Fantastic Beasts stunt coordinator Eunice Huthart on Eddie Redmayne’s daredevil streak

The Pottermore Correspondent

Newt Scamander in 1920s New York, photo by Jaap Buitendijk
Newt Scamander in 1920s New York

Eunice Huthart just suspended Eddie Redmayne in the air. What did you do at work today?

Eunice has got one of the coolest jobs in the world. If teaching famous people to fight, crash cars and scale buildings is your thing.

As a highly respected stunt coordinator, she choreographs danger on some of the biggest blockbuster films in the world. She first broke into movies when the producers of Bond film GoldenEye noticed her on the TV show Gladiators (first as a contestant, then as a Gladiator).

Since then, she’s recruited the best stunt team in the world. She takes the same 12 crazy-courageous people with her on every job – and they must all be qualified in six elite skills that might include gymnastics, motorcycling, diving, swimming, martial arts, wrestling or running.

Right now, she’s doing the stunt work on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which explains why she dangled Eddie Redmayne from the sky.

‘Eddie’s great. We just tell Eddie what to do and he does it,’ she says, sitting cross-legged on the floor next to me. ‘I have never had to talk him into doing anything. Eddie’s just like, “Come on guys, what are we doing now? Bigger, faster, harder!” It’s more a case of me telling him, “Eddie, we can’t do that!” We need to make sure he can work tomorrow, you know.’

Eunice has a knack with brave celebrities. She did Angelina Jolie’s stunts for 12 years straight, on everything since Tomb Raider – so Salt, Mr and Mrs Smith, The Tourist and Maleficent.

‘Angelina was the same. Sometimes we had to pull the insurance people over and say, “You have to tell Angelina we can’t let her jump off that 100ft building because if it goes wrong, it goes wrong very badly.” She’d be willing to do everything, so we’d have to pull the reins in on Angie. It’s so much fun, working with people like Angie and Eddie.

‘Oop! Hang on! This is the moment I’ve been waiting for,’ she says suddenly, and jumps to her feet. She’s just spotted director David Yates across the room. She bounds over to him, sweeping her hands through the air and practically jumping as she gets his opinion on today’s stunts. Next to the eternally calm David, she’s like a sprite or a nymph. With that kind of energy, it’s no wonder she can get actors like Eddie Redmayne and Angelina Jolie to do anything.

‘Phew, sorry,’ she says, crouching back down beside me. ‘My whole job is delivering what David thinks up, so I have to pick my moments and just bombard him with 200 questions whenever I can. It helps me set the action for this film especially, because it’s so character-based.

‘We’re not just doing action for action’s sake here, we are doing it in character. Some of the stunts on this film are great. I’m just here the whole time thinking, “I get to work with David Yates, how lucky am I?” It’s mental.’

And this is where it gets awkward for you and me. Eunice told me about some daring, spectacular, funny, impressive, dangerous stunts for this movie. They’re going to be incredible. But I can’t, in all good conscience, tell you about them. Not yet.

Now available
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – The Original Screenplay