“His role, literally, is that he’s the magical head of security of MACUSA, which is the Magical Congress of the United States of America, which is a social and political body at the center of the wizarding experience in North America and his job is to uphold the safety of the wizarding community. There’s been a certain degree of persecution that the wizarding community has been inflicted with by the world of No-Maj’s, and there’s been a segregation between the world of No-Maj’s and the world of wizards. So my job is to uphold the segregation even though I have a disdain for it, because it’s meant that the world of wizards have had to live in the shadows and they’ve been oppressed. He’s a character with a very particular philosophy, and a very particular ideology and a very particular purpose and it was fun navigating that with David [Yates], and exploring that.
I didn’t see him as a villain. I mean, I know he’s a little bit arch and all that kinda stuff and maybe ‘villainous’ but I didn’t see him as a villain. I didn’t see him as a bad guy. As I said, somebody who had lived under the weight and the shame of having to protect people from the treachery of people he saw as ‘less-than’. If there should be one pocket of existence that’s living in the shadows, as far as Graves is concerned, it should just be mere mortals. It shouldn’t be wizards – they have had to hide and suppress this beautiful gift that they have and he thinks there’s a great sadness and sense of loss in that.”