CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Fantastic Beasts in Highgate Cemetery? Film crews descend on historic burial ground

'No one there is allowed to say what is being shot, and none of the guards even know which film it is'

26 October, 2017 — By Dan Carrier

Eddie Redmayne in Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them

THE glorious Gothic splendour of Highgate cemetery has earned it a starring role in a blockbuster movie, the New Journal can reveal.

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them – a Harry Potter spin-off by author JK Rowling – is currently having its second instalment shot and reports suggest film crews took over parts of the historic west cemetery earlier this month.

Starring Eddie Redmayne, the first film was a huge hit, and now the wizard has returned for a second instalment in which he is joined by Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelward, a villain of the tale, and Highgate-based Jude Law as Hogwarts school headmaster Albus Dumbledore.

Neighbours were told by film production company Triton Films and Warner Brothers that the cemetery would be used as a location for an unidentified film and apologised in advance for trucks, lights and generators being brought into the Victorian burial ground.

Pictures taken by curious passers-by earlier this month showed a “green room” for stars to relax in has been set up in the grounds of the cemetery, and props including a sign saying “Le Prevost de Basserode” added to a listed catacomb.

Highgate Cemetery

Tours of the cemetery were cancelled last week as film crews took over the site, and the New Journal has learned that volunteer guides have been kept in the dark as to what the film is. Others working at the cemetery have signed agreements not to discuss the film – leaving people nearby to guess.

Highgate Newtown resident Emma Causer, who went on a tour of the cemetery over the weekend, said: “There are security guards everywhere, and filming equipment, too. No one there is allowed to say what is being shot, and none of the guards even know which film it is. “They have really ­taken the place over – there are lights up everywhere and they have dressed the cemetery. It must be a big film – it looks like it is costing a fortune to make.”

She added that her son Jacob had helped her solve the mystery of which film it is.

Ms Causer said: “Our clues were Warner Bros and Triton Films, and the addition of a black column by the Egyptian Avenue and the sign, ‘Le Prevost de Basserode’, added above one of the vaults in the Circle of Lebanon. “My son thinks it must be Fantastic Beasts. The new one is set partly in France, so it makes sense.”

The film is due to be released in cinemas next year. Triton Films did not respond to the New Journal’s requests for a comment.

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