This autumn, we’re delighted to announce a partnership with one of the year’s most anticipated new film releases, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, arriving in UK cinemas on 18th November from Warner Bros. Pictures.
Marking the screenwriting debut of J.K. Rowling, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an all-new adventure that takes us to a new era in the wizarding world – 1926 New York City – decades before Harry Potter. Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) stars in the central role of wizarding world Magizoologist Newt Scamander, under the direction of David Yates, who helmed the last four Harry Potter blockbusters. The film also stars Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Ron Perlman, Carmen Ejogo, and Colin Farrell. The film reunited a number of people from the Harry Potter features, including producers David Heyman, J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves and Lionel Wigram. Tim Lewis, Neil Blair and Rick Senat served as executive producers.
Do you want to be a wizard?
As part of our collaboration we created three 60-second films for use on social media, featuring a wannabe wizard cabin crew member who tries her hand at magic throughout a flight. The filming took place at the state-of-the-art training centre at our West Sussex headquarters, a location which has featured in many a blockbuster over the years. But does she succeed? And just who is this hopeful wizard who landed the starring role in these films? We caught up with wand-waving hopeful Becci Chute – a cabin crew member for the past five years who was lucky enough to be chosen for the role – and began by asking how she psyched herself up for her spellbinding moment in the spotlight.
“I’ll be honest, there wasn’t really a lot of preparation,” she says. “I began by researching the film and reading the storyboards, and I spoke to the video’s director on the phone a couple of days beforehand and he really helped. He told me to try my hardest to get into the role, and to really imagine I was someone who thought she could be a wizard. I did do A level drama at school and took part in the school production every year, which may have helped, and I also looked up how to say some spells on YouTube, which is pretty embarrassing!”
“The day itself started at 8 a.m, when I had my hair and make-up done. During this time I looked through the storyboards a couple more times, and was feeling a little bit nervous because I had no idea what to expect. The video production crew are used to working with professional actors and I’m far from that. I was worried I was going to let people down or just not be very good. But the crew were so, so lovely. They were patient, and made me feel really comfortable and at ease. If I did something wrong, we laughed it off and started again.
“What surprised me the most was just how much goes into it all. For example, it took 45 minutes to film me putting my bag in the cupboard. It had to be shot from about five different camera angles; with my watch on, with my watch off, with the sleeve up, with it down, with my shoulder in, with it out, with my left hand then my right… you get the picture. There were probably 50 people there, if not more. The timescale was very tight – we had to be finished by 10 p.m. no matter what. It was approaching that time when we got to the last scene, and we had a countdown from 30 seconds. Once it hit 10 p.m, that was it – it had to be finished. But we did it!”
While Becci’s natural flair saw her sail through the filming with minimal practice, she was even less prepared for the reaction of her family and friends. “It’s been amazing! I never ever expected this,” she says. “I was on holiday when the first film came out and woke up to hundreds of messages. My parents are really proud of me. My friends find it hilarious seeing me like that, which isn’t surprising. And my grandmother loves it – shows it to all her friends as if I’ve just broken into Hollywood.”
“I’m so thankful and flattered to have been chosen for this role. Being a member of Virgin Atlantic cabin crew has allowed me to see and do some incredible things, but Fantastic Beasts is definitely at the top!”