The movie “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” opens this weekend. It’s the latest installment in the cinematic world of Harry Potter-creator J.K. Rowling.
It’s based on a book written by Rowling, one of the world’s most successful and richest authors. Not bad for someone who was once unemployed and financially insolvent.
Thanks to the success of the Harry Potter novels and the subsequent films based on them, Rowling’s worth was estimated to be between $800 million and a billion dollars as of August 2016.
More than 400 million Harry Potter books have been sold around the world.
Harry Potter has become a powerful brand as well thanks to theme parks, merchandise, and stage productions. It’s worth $15 billion.
But Rowling isn’t sitting on that money. She’s become a philanthropist as well, giving away more than a $100 million of her wealth to certain charities.
Rowling was onstage at Carnegie Hall in New York to introduce an advance screening of the film.
The screening was a fundraiser for Lumos, a nonprofit foundation Rowling started a decade ago to help institutionalized children worldwide be reunited with their families.
Her voice hoarse from days of promoting “Fantastic Beasts,” Rowling joked that she was “full of honey” as she joined the film’s star, Eddie Redmayne, for a conversation about her charitable work and her “Fantastic Beasts” script.
Rowling also spoke of “Fantastic Beasts” and the writing process. The film was directed by David Yates and also features Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Katherine Waterston and Ezra Miller, all of whom briefly came onstage after Rowling and Redmayne.
Countless novelists have struggled to write for films, calling the two art forms almost entirely different. Rowling managed in part by treating the script like a book, including not just dialogue but long descriptive passages about the setting and characters.
“It’s like learning a completely new language,” she said of her script. “I learned to write a screenplay while writing a screenplay.”
Information contributed from The Associated Press.