Bad First Drafts: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling’s first time ever to write a screenplay, and with a solid $75 million at the box office in its opening weekend, fans are obviously happy with the results. Of course, every big budget Hollywood movie goes through multiple rewrites before the first day of filming begins. We here at the Agony Booth just happen to have uncovered Rowling’s first draft…


newt

Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne)

A heroic yet socially isolated young man who is completely oblivious to all the norms of the wizarding world he’s been thrown into.

 

 

 

 

 


fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-poster-katherine-waterstonTina Goldstein (Katherine Waterson)

The hero’s bookish yet sexy best friend who serves as the source of all knowledge and constantly saves his ass.

 

 

 

 

 


kowalski Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler)

The hero’s useless, goofy sidekick who can’t catch a break but inexplicable ends up with the hot chick at the end.

 

 

 

 

 


queenie

Queenie Goldstein (Fine Frenzy)

The little sister who exists just to be the love interest of whichever main character gets left out when the other two hook up.

 

 

 

 

 


depp

Johnny Depp (Johnny Depp)

The all-powerful evil wizard on the loose whom everyone is pants-shittingly terrified of but no one ever does anything about.

 

 

 

 


seraphina

Seraphina Picquery (Carmen Ejogo)

Head of a comically inept government bureaucracy that can’t recognize evil right under its nose and would much rather focus on stopping our heroes from reminding people that an all-powerful evil wizards is on the loose than stopping said evil wizard.

 

 

 

 


 

Look, they told J.K. Rowling to write what she knows, okay? So without further ado…

 

beasts_tt2

FADE IN:

EXT. AMERICA – DAY

The adorably bumbling Newt Scamander arrives by boat in America, which is entirely represented by New York City, which is entirely represented by three square blocks of upper Manhattan. 

CUSTOMS OFFICIAL:
Welcome to late 1920s America, good sir. No liquor or Catholics allowed. And try not to touch any black people; their music is frightfully contagious. Anything in your suitcase to declare?

NEWT:
Let’s see, I’ve got a brain-eating bungee snake, a flaming-fart rat, and a bloated rape-noceros. Nope, nothing dangerous.

CUSTOMS OFFICIAL:
Rape-nocer-what?

NEWT:
Like a rhinoceros, only it rapes people. Trust me, it’s hilarious.
(suitcase latch pops open)
I really should fix that.

CUSTOMS OFFICIAL:
Did you really just point that out to the audience? Because YES YOU FUCKING SHOULD.

NEWT:
Oh, and did I mention the serpent that would grow to crush the entire city if it were ever in an uncontained space?

a-escape

Nothing like horrific neglect for the safety of others to kickstart the plot.

Newt heads nowhere in particular and immediately runs across a family of abusive, Puritan missionaries holding a protest against witchcraft outside a bank building.

NEWT:
Ha, what backwards, bigoted morons!

MOTHER MARY LOU:
Witches blew up a building last night! Witches with a hideous smoke monster!

NEWT:
Okay, you got us there, but–

MOTHER MARY LOU:
And if you try to deny them access to your children, they’ll just abduct them off to their secret school and indoctrinate them into the occult against your will!

NEWT:
Technically that’s true too, but–

MOTHER MARY LOU:
And it doesn’t matter what horrible things they do to you, because the others will all band together and erase your memory that it ever happened!

NEWT:
Wow, okay, did it occur to anyone that our “villains” are 100% right about us? It’s a good thing she beats her kids or else she’d be the hero of this thing. Hell, I’m about to prove her point in 3… 2… 1…
(suitcase latch pops open)
Oh bother, my cartoon platypus seems to have escaped.

Newt chases a purple, shapeshifting platypus into the bank where it robs people blind, emphasis on blind, because there’s a purple platypus jumping in and out of purses and coat pockets and no one is seeing this shit, seriously?

a-platypus

“It’s not stealing, I told them to put it on my bill! Get it? Get it?”

Jacob Kowalski, an innocent bystander, gets caught up in the shenanigans.

KOWALSKI:
Hello! I’m kind-hearted schlub with a soul-crushing factory job who’s nervously applying for a loan to open up a bakery to make my poor departed grandmother happy and any other pathetically lovable traits you’d care to shoehorn in here.

NEWT:
How about accidental bank robber?

Newt drags Kowalski into the bank vault as he continues his slapstick capture-the-platypus routine, then teleports them both outside after getting caught by the bank manager.

KOWALSKI:
The bank manager knows who I am! He’s got my home address and all my personal information in my loan file!

NEWT:
Don’t worry. By the rules of screwball comedy, the whole bank robbery thing was forgotten the moment we left the building.
(pulling out a wand)
Speaking of forgetting, time to wipe your memory.

KOWALSKI:
Speaking of screwball comedy, bonk!

Kowalski hits Newt upside the head with his suitcase, which coincidentally looks EXACTLY like Newt’s suitcase, and uh-oh, I think we all see where this going.

NEWT:
Is this a prequel to Harry Potter or The Three Stooges?

Suddenly, Newt is arrested by the charmingly earnest Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) of the American Magical Police Department.

NEWT:
Wait, I can explain! I came to America unannounced with a suitcase of magical animals and accidentally befriended a muggle—

TINA:
Um, every single one of those things is illegal here.

NEWT:
By the way, the muggle’s memory never got erased.

TINA:
You should really stop talking now.

Tina hauls Newt off to the Magical All-Purpose Building, which not only serves as police headquarters, but also Magical Congress, permit office, dungeon, coffee shop, and Quidditch Hall of Fame. 

a-congress

The Build-A-Bear opens next week. 

To Tina’s surprise, the president of the Magical Congress of the United States of America just happens to be hanging out in police HQ. 

NEWT:
An African-American female president in 1926? That’s pretty damn progressive considering Muggle America will only be willing to do half of one of those things 90 years from now.

TINA:
President Seraphina! I caught this wizard–

PRESIDENT SERAPHINA:
(shoving her fingers in her ears)
I hate you, Tina! I hate you, I hate you, I hate you! LALALALA I CAN’T HEAR ANYTHING YOU’RE SAYING!!

NEWT:
There’s gotta be an interesting story behind that. Sadly, I’m too British to inquire about it.

The ominous Magical Police Chief Percival Graves ushers Tina out of the room and takes her downstairs to her desk in the Permit Office. 

a-permits

When the set designer discovered he had a 50% off coupon on brown lacquer, that’s when he said, “fuck it,” and started painting the sign and the ceiling too.

GRAVES:
What the hell are you doing, Tina? The president made it very clear she demoted you from the police department to the permit office!

TINA:
Wouldn’t that be like demoting an FBI agent to postal carrier? They’re not even the same government agency.

GRAVES:
Magical government works however we say it works, until we say it doesn’t anymore!

TINA:
Fine, but hear me out. This guy broke half the laws of our country in his first 10 minutes here.

NEWT:
Yep, sure did. Repeatedly and unrepentantly. I even let a muggle run off with my suitcase full of illegal animals.

GRAVES:
Hmm, I guess I should run him upstairs and book him–no, wait, it’s my lunch break. I’ll just leave him with you and assume everything works itself out.
(whistles his way out the door)

INT. NEW YORK DAILY INQUIRER – INTERLUDE

The Puritans are rudely scoffed at by a prominent newspaper publisher and his total dick of a son, who happens to be the U.S. Senator from New York.

INT. KOWALSKI’S APARTMENT – NIGHT

Since the police are inexplicably uninterested in Newt’s one-man crime spree, Tina takes him to track down Kowalski and discover he’s just been mauled by one of several magical creatures to escape Newt’s suitcase.

NEWT:
Don’t worry, buddy! My animals only viciously attack people for comic relief. Still, we should keep an eye on you overnight just to keep the plot mov–

TINA:
For observation.

NEWT:
Right. For observation. That’s what I was going to say.

KOWALSKI:
(drools, pees himself)

Everyone heads to Tina’s apartment, which she shares with her mind-reading sister Queenie. 

QUEENIE:
(in lingerie)
Hi, boys.

KOWALSKI:
Humina-humina! I’m suddenly happy to go along with whatever bullshit you guys say!

QUEENIE:
Did you seriously drag home a slovenly, bewildered no-maj who can’t stop picturing me naked?

NEWT:
Look, he’s injured. Just be nice to–

QUEENIE:
Because that’s my fetish! YUM-MY!

Kowalski and Queenie play psychic footsy over a strudel that could feed 20 people, then the boys go to bed.

NEWT:
Nighty-night, girls. I’m going to conspicuously hide that I’m fully dressed under the covers despite the fact everyone thinks it’s normal for Kowalski to wear his necktie to bed.

Maybe Newt and Tina thought this was a normal muggle thing, but didn't the director or the costume designer

In fairness, this is what pajamas looked like in the 1920s.

The women leave.

NEWT:
Okay, it’s time for us to hop into the sack together.

KOWALSKI:
I thought you’d never ask, you sly devil—oh, you mean literally hop into your suitcase. Right. I knew that.

They descend into the depths of Newt’s travel bag, which is full of fantastic beasts happily living in 1920s movie lots of their habitats.

a-bird

Okay, I get the habitat backdrops, but who the hell painted that sign by the stairs and who the hell is it for?

NEWT:
(manically)
Look! Feathered snakes with solid silver egg shells that will be important later! And here’s a Baby Groot that will be important! And this spooky smoke creature will be extremely important! And check out my deus ex machina bird! You bet your ass that’s going to be important before the end!
(catching his breath)
Whew! Now that we’ve established all the relevant creatures, why don’t you help me track down all the ones that escaped?

KOWALSKI:
Betray the hot chick who’s clearly into me so I can help out the annoying fugitive who makes me rob banks when I’m not being mauled by his illegal pets? I don’t see why not.

EXT. CENTRAL PARK ZOO – NIGHT

A bloated cartoon rhinoceros attempts to fuck Kowalski to death. No, really.

KOWALSKI:
Yeah, that’s pretty much what I should have expected.

NEWT:
Now that we’ve corralled the rhino into the suitcase, let’s go home.

KOWALSKI:
What about the millions of dollars in damage we did to the zoo and the lions and other deadly animals we showed roaming the streets of Manhattan? Are we going to do anything about that?

NEWT:
Hmm, that would really bog down the plot. Let’s just call it more screwball comedy and ignore the hell out of it.

They share a hearty laugh and retreat down into the suitcase. Just then, Tina sneaks up and steals the bag with them inside it.

INT. MAGICAL ALL-PURPOSE BUILDING – NIGHT

Tina barges into the office of the President of the Magical Congress of the United States of America, who is in the middle of a face-to-face meeting with literally every other magical world leader on the planet, but without posting any security or even locking the door.

TINA:
Oops, was that meeting today?

PRESIDENT SERAPHINA:
Tina Goldstein! You better have a damn good explanation for this!

TINA:
In this bag is a reckless wizard who set free a bunch of magical creatures in New York City and threatens to expose us to the normal humans!

Newt and Kowalski climb out of the suitcase.

PRESIDENT SERAPHINA:
And you’re just now telling us? That makes you an accomplice!

TINA:
Are you fucking with me? This is the second time I’ve burst in on you with this news today!

PRESIDENT SERAPHINA:
Details, schmetails. Arrest them both.

Why are the British wizards in Harry Potter horribly behind the times style-wise, but the American wizards are fashionable as shit. Is it because America? It's because America, isn't it.

Why is it the British wizards in Harry Potter are comically behind the times style-wise, but the American wizards are fashionable as shit? Is it because America? It’s because America, isn’t it.

Graves drags Newt and Tina down to an interrogation room.

GRAVES:
The U.S. Senator from New York was just murdered by a smoke monster like the one in your suitcase. What can you tell me about that?

NEWT:
Not a damn thing until season four.
(beat)
Sorry, just a little smoke monster humor there. Anywho, smoke monsters are created when a young child tries to suppress their magical nature so hard that it manifests as a ball of murderous rage. If the child doesn’t learn to accept their power, this process inevitably kills them by the age of 10, at which point the smoke monster becomes inert and harmless, like the one in my bag.

GRAVES:
Hmm, so the one in the bag is useless then. Darn. Anyway, you’re guilty of exposing the magical world to normal humans, the penalty for which is death and a $50 fine. The fine will have to be approved by a judge, but I totally have the authority to order death sentences on my own without review or appeal. These nice ladies will lead you off to your execution now.

NEWT:
Death?!
 Did you know about this, Tina? Is that what you expected to happen the first time you arrested me this afternoon?

TINA:
You know, it does seem a little harsh now that you mention it.

Two magical bailiffs—who do not seem to be evil or corrupt in any way—merrily lead them straight to the execution chamber, because every adult in J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world is a sociopath. Tina is tossed into a pit of ravenous sludge that tries to eat her alive (while simultaneously displaying holograms of her favorite worst most-relevant-to-the-plot memories, why not). 

NEWT:
You know, if you didn’t find people guilty of capital offenses and carry out their executions in less time than it takes to boil water, someone might have the time to check prisoners for a Baby Groot hiding under their lapel.

Newt pulls various animals out of various places and escapes with Tina.

QUEENIE:
Me and Kowalski are here to rescue–oh. Damn, that was the least relevant rescue attempt ever put on film.

NEWT:
Somewhere out there is a young child who’s accidentally created a murderous smoke monster. We have to find them right now!

INT. PURITAN CENTRAL

The camera zooms in on a nine-year-old girl named Modesty as ominous music plays and lightning flashes and giant neon arrow flashes over her head.

MOTHER MARY LOU:
Modesty! I found a wand under your bed! Now I’m going to beat you senseless with your brother Credence’s belt.

CREDENCE:
Psych! It’s me! Murder time!

Credence turns into a giant cloud of black energy and destroys half of New York City in accordance with Hollywood Legal Statute § 13-23-101 for all movies with a budget over $100 million.

An angry cloud…? Dammit, Warner Brothers! Have you already forgotten Green Lantern?

An angry cloud…? Dammit, Warner Brothers! Have you already forgotten Green Lantern?

INT. GRAND CENTRAL STATION – NIGHT

Newt finds Credence the Cloud sulking in a train tunnel. 

NEWT:
It’s not too late to embrace your inner magic, Credence!

GRAVES:
I’m here, too—and I say embrace murder! Kill all the humans! Woohoo, go Credence!

CREDENCE:
No! It ain’t me! I ain’t me! I ain’t no wizard’s son, no!

Suddenly, every Auror in America shows up and blows Cloudy Credence off the face of the Earth, which is kind of sad but also the first responsible thing any government official in the history of Harry Potter has ever done.

GRAVES:
Dammit, I needed that Smoke Monster to… for… well, shit, we never actually explain that, do we? Anyway, I’m so frustrated I’m going to out myself as evil for no apparent reason!

Graves transforms himself into Johnny Depp!

JOHNNY DEPP:
You mean Grindelwald! I’m Grindelwald!

NEWT:
No, you’re clearly Johnny Depp. Can’t you hear half the audience snickering?

JOHNNY DEPP:
But I’m wearing a shitty wig and ghost-white makeup!

NEWT:
Exactly. You couldn’t look any more like Johnny Depp if you had Tim Burton’s fist up your ass.

PRESIDENT SERAPHINA:
Hurray, we’ve captured Grindelwald, which might mean something if his existence had been anything more than a footnote in the movie thus far. Lock him up, boys!

NEWT:
Lock him up?!? Weren’t you going to summarily execute us 20 minutes ago for the exact same crime?

PRESIDENT SERAPHINA:
Yeah, maybe, but now we’ve got bigger things to worry about. Credence’s rampage revealed the existence of magic to the entire city, meaning war with the normal humans is inevitable.

TINA:
As if. This is a prequel, so we already know nothing universe-altering could possibly happen. The stakes are pretty much nil.

NEWT:
What say I just whip out my deus ex machina bird to wipe the entire city’s memories clean of magic while your Aurors run around behind it repairing all the damage?

PRESIDENT SERAPHINA:
Wow, we found an even lazier ending that just grabbing a time-turner and making it so the whole thing never happened. Goody for us.

The bird flies up, rain falls down, and all problems are instantly solved.

ffda

So now there’s gonna be a giant, ferocious, mind-wiping eagle on the loose in New York City now and everyone’s cool with that? Just checking.

KOWALSKI:
Where am I? Who are you people?

QUEENIE:
(bats her eye lashes)

KOWALSKI:
Oh, right. Hi, Queenie.

NEWT:
No consequences for anyone! Hurray!

Newt gives Kowalski enough solid silver egg shells to start his bakery and/or destabilize the U.S. economy and cause the 1929 market crash.

EXT. DOCKS – DAY

Tina is saying goodbye to Newt, who has tied his suitcase shut. 

TINA:
Are you telling me a rope is all it takes to keep that damn thing shut? Damn it so much.

NEWT:
I’m off to England to publish my book. Would you like an advance copy? It’s only two words long.

Tina opens up a copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

TINA:
“My suitcase.”
(beat)
Huh, that’s surprisingly accurate.

NEWT:
I promise to return to America soon. Four more times in fact. Warner Brothers is that desperate.

TINA:
Considering they released Jupiter Rising, Pan, The Man from UNCLE, The Heart of the Sea, Entourage, Vacation, and Point Break all in the same year, I’m not surprised.

NEWT:
So, should we kiss?

TINA:
Eh, let’s save something for the sequel.

NEWT:
My prom date said the same thing.

ROLL CREDITS

You may also like...

  • Naked Bunny with a Whip

    I enjoyed this so much.

  • K

    Haven’t seen the movie yet, though I remember my reaction when I saw the teaser trailer before TFA. When I first saw the male lead, I thought, “Holy cow, Matt Smith is in this movie, and he’s playing the Doctor!”

    • PhysUnknown

      Redmayne is so Matt Smith in this movie. Forutnately, I like both the eleventh Doctor and Eddie Redmayne, so I was okay with it. He’s goofy, charming, likeable, and loves all of the creatures, even the nastier ones. When he’s interacting with some of the beasts, it’s very reminiscent of Smith’s interactions with various creatures. Half expected him to say, “Oh, you beauty!”

      Doesn’t hurt that he has a suitcase that’s bigger on the inside, a wand, a human companion, and is at odds with the ruling body of his kind. J.K. Rowling basically wrote a fantastic Doctor Who movie.

  • sousaphone93

    I love everything about this.

  • maarvarq

    I have missed Agony Booth articles being entertainingly snarky like this-
    You couldn’t look any more like Johnny Depp if you had Tim Burton’s fist up your ass.
    – nasty, and by nasty I mean hilarious!

  • Olaf_the_Lofty

    I’m afraid my sulky determination not to get drawn into J K Rowling made me enjoy this particularly. I’m not a superhero fan either, but doesn’t the “magical types are under threat from normal types” trope come from the X-Men? Complete with Magneto in the Johnny Depp role? In other news, the screenshots of Kowalski made me think of Mr Creosote in “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life”, but there I am probably betraying my extreme age.

  • Pingback: Bad First Drafts: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) – the agony booth()

  • Pingback: Hogwarts Houses: A bad idea that got out of hand – the agony booth()

  • drdvdplayerhandbook

    “The hero’s bookish yet sexy best friend who serves as the source of all knowledge and constantly saves his ass.”

    I figured the joke you were going for the moment I read that part. You painfully stretched, twisted and outright changed the truth in order to make a joke and in the process you made it ridiculously obvious.

    The script is funny, but that was a terrible start.