Popular actor Eddie Redmayne has emerged as the leading contender for the much anticipated Harry Potter spinoff, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, based on J.K. Rowling’s book by the same name. Set 70 years prior to Harry Potter, the film centers on the fictional Newton Artemis Fido Scamander, known to Potter fans as the author and “magiczoologist” who compiled a reference guide to magical beasts. The upcoming film series will depict his adventures in New York.
Fresh off his Oscar-winning portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, Redmayne is up for the role of Scamander. According to reports, he wants to read the script before he commits to the project.
Rowling herself is currently at work on the screenplay, which will mark her feature film screenwriting debut. Variety quoted the famed author describing the new feature as follows: “Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for 17 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.”
Set to direct Fantastic Beasts is Harry Potter franchise director David Yates, who has recently been working on the star-studded Tarzan reboot, out next year.
In addition to Scamander, the other leading characters in the movie include two sisters, their parents and a character named Jacob. No word yet on who will be cast in these parts.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will hit theaters nationwide on Nov. 18, 2016.