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Eddie Redmayne appears to have advanced from frontrunner to "in talks" for the lead in the Harry Potter spinoff film Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. While nothing official has been announced, word is the Oscar winner is on board to join the cast in the lead role of Newt Scamander.
About a month ago, we learned that Redmayne was in the running for the part. Of course, at that time there was also talk of Nicholas Hoult and Matt Smith possibly being eyed. But the latest news comes from Variety, which cites sources as stating that Redmayne is in talks, and reports that he wanted to read the script before signing on. Apparently, he liked what J.K. Rowling wrote, and it appears things are moving forward in the casting process. That's as good a sign as it is that someone as talented as Redmayne may be leading this film.
Directed by David Yates, based on a script penned by Harry Potter mastermind herself, J.K. Rowling, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them centers on Newt Scamander, a magiczoologist who's writing the titular textbook. We know the story picks up in New York some seven decades before Harry Potter attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It's also been reported that there are four American leads (two girls, two boys) who have yet to be cast.
Beyond that, details are vague, as the book on which this film is (presumably loosely) based is set up as a resource guide. Fantastic Beasts is a textbook used at Hogwarts, however an actual book was published as a bonus book and sold, with proceeds going to charity. Beyond the introduction, which lays out a general biography of Newt Scamander, most of the book is a catalog of magical beasts, some of which made appearances in the Harry Potter series. While it's likely fair to expect even more to appear in the Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them movie(s), the book doesn't give us a lot to go on as to the story or supporting characters.
We may not know much about the story, but Redmayne's anticipated casting certainly bodes well for the project. The actor's credits include Les Miserables, My Week with Marilyn, Jupiter Ascending and The Theory of Everything, the latter of which earned him an Academy Award. Coming up, he's set to star in Tom Hooper's The Danish Girl. Assuming talks turn to official casting, it'll be exciting to see what Redmayne brings to the role of Newt Scamander. And we'll have to wait and see who else joins the cast.
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is expected to arrive in theaters November 18, 2016.