Warner Bros.’ “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” held its Beijing premiere on Oct. 28 with a nod to Chinese mythology and art.
At a press conference, cast members Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Ezra Miller and Jude Law posed with a seven-part folding screen that featured beasts from the movie.
The giant display is a masterpiece of Zhang Chun, the same Chinese artist responsible for six gongbi-inspired posters that promoted the first film.
Needless to say, the star of the folding screen is the Zouwu, a “monstrously large feline beast” comparable to the size of an elephant, according to the movie’s accompanying handbook.
The Zouwu has a “striped body, scraggly mane, four fangs that curl up out of its mouth, and long sharp claws,” but its most distinctive characteristic is a “disproportionately long and ruffled multicolored tail.”
Native to China, Zouwus are known to be “incredibly powerful and fast, capable of traveling 1,000 miles in a day.”
In an interview earlier this year, “Harry Potter” author and “Fantastic Beasts” scriptwriter J.K. Rowling confirmed the Zouwu’s Chinese origins.
“The Zouwu is terrifying if you’re a normal human being and to Newt Scamander, like a big kitten,” Rowling told a Chinese film crew. “This is how it’s described in Chinese mythology: gigantic elephant sized cat, five-coloured. It really does take a Newt Scamander to contain and look after that beast.”
Rowling reportedly borrowed the creature from the “Classic of Mountains and Seas,” an ancient Chinese text containing mythology and mythic geography.
Zhang also took creatures from the same book for his work in the 2016 animated film “Big Fish and Begonia.”
Netizens praised Zhang’s work:
“New ultrawide monitor wallpaper.”
“US poster: all Grindelwald. Chinese poster: all beasts.”
“I want this for my wall right now! Damn, this is amazing.”
“I always loved Chinese art I would love a painting like this.”
“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” opens on Nov. 16.