Written by Shona Smith on Nov 14, 2018. Posted in On Location

Sets for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald built at Warner Brothers’ Studios Leavesden

Large sets were built at Warner Bros' Leavesden Studios, the long-serving home to the wizarding world for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

The Leavesden Studios large soundstages hosted production for the second instalment of the Fantastic Beasts franchise. Numerous sets were built including Newt Scamander’s animal sanctuary and hospital, the French Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts.rev-1-FBCOG-TRLR-105_High_Res_JPEG

An underground amphitheater was one of the largest sets built, which can be seen in the film's climax. Production designer Stuart Craig describes it as a “classical amphitheatre of indeterminate age, but in the style of ancient Rome”. The large physical set held over six hundred extras, but was made even larger with visual effects.rev-1-FBCOG-TSR-025_High_Res_JPEG

Director Tim Burke added “The amphitheatre Stuart designed was so enormous that we would never have been able to film it all in camera. They built about 25 percent, which held more than 600 extras. We then replicated and extended it and filled it with more than 4,000 rendered characters”.

Much of the action in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them took place in New York, but The Crimes of Grindelwald is largely set in Paris.rev-1-FBCOG-TSR-036_High_Res_JPEG

Rowling explained “In the first movie, we were in America, where the wizarding community felt quite locked down. For this film, I was looking to move to a place where there would be a more fluid relationship between the magic and the mundane. And in the 1920s, that had to be Paris. I have also lived in Paris and have ancestry from there, so I feel a connection to the city”.rev-1-FBCOG-TSR-027_High_Res_JPEG

Instead of travelling across the channel, the production built a set Paris on the studio backlot. Place Crechée, the French versions of Diagon Alley and the French Ministry of Magic were all conceptualized by award-winning production designer Stuart Craig.

The film also returns to Hogwarts, the British wizarding school which was a central part of the Harry Potter series. Despite being set in 1920, these sets did not have to be redesigned because the originals used in Harry already had a traditional, timelessness feel. Since many of the physical sets were no longer intact, many were rebuilt for the film including Dumbledore’s Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom.rev-1-FB2-FP-0078_High_Res_JPEG

Exteriors of the British wizarding school were shot at Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire. Originally built in 1229, the abbey was featured in several of the early Potter films.

Elsewhere in the UK, the exteriors of Newt Scamander’s London townhouse were captured at a London terrace house. Inside, the set for Scamander’s animal sanctuary and hospital which magically extends in his basement was built at Leavesden.


The UK Film Tax Relief offers a cash rebate of up to 25% of qualifying budget for national and co-production films which shoot at least 10% in the country.

Images: Courtesy of Warner Brothers


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