Fans of the Harry Potter books and movies should be excited to learn that Eddie Redmayne, who recently won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, is now the frontrunner to star in author J.K. Rowling‘s Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Redmayne would play the character Newt Scamander in the movie, a magizoologist. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the name of a textbook authored by Scamander that teaches of the many magical creatures that exist in the world, with a foreword written by none other than Albus Dumbledore. The textbook was written 70 years before the events of the Harry Potter movies, and is mentioned as one of Harry’s school books in the first book in the series, Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone.
The movie is being planned as the first in at least a trilogy of movies—and it now sounds like that could grow to be even more than that when it’s all said and done, if all goes well. It’s set in New York, with four more main roles that have not yet been cast—four Americans, a pair of girls and a pair of boys.
Rowling, who is making her feature screenwriting debut on the movie, described it as:
“Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for seventeen years, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world.”
The spinoff was first announced in September of 2013, and an official release date of November 18, 2016 was locked in about a year ago now in May of 2014.
Last summer in August, it was announced that David Yates, who directed Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and both parts of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, would return to directFantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Yates is still considering some other actors for the roles as well, including X-Men: Days of Future Past and Mad Max: Fury Road star Nicholas Hoult, but it sounds like the role is all Redmayne’s if he wants it.
In addition to The Theory of Everything, Redmayne has also starred in Les Miserables, The Pillars of the Earth, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, My Week with Marilyn, and most recently, as the villain in Jupiter Ascending.