Eddie Redmayne ‘in talks’ to star in JK Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’ spin-off

Titled 'Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them', the spin-off film is set for release in 2016

Eddie Redmayne is now “in talks” to star in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter spin-off, Variety has learned.

Rowling has written the script for the spin-off film, which is set around 70 years before the Harry Potter saga begins. Titled Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, it focuses on Newt Scamander, the author of one of Harry’s Hogwarts text books. David Yates, who directed the final four Harry Potter films, in on board to direct.

Last month (April) it was reported that Redmayne was frontrunner to star in the Warner Bros. film, the first in a planned trilogy to be released in 2016, 2018 and 2020. At the time, the actor was said to be waiting to read Rowling’s finished script before committing to the project, but he is now understood to have been formally offered the role after receiving Rowling’s screenplay and being impressed by what he has seen.

Explaining the film’s premise when it was announced in 2013, Rowling said: “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. The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York, 70 years before Harry’s gets underway.”

Redmayne, 33, won the Best Actor prize at this year’s Academy Awards for his performance as the young Stephen Hawking in The Theory Of Everything. He is already being tipped for another Oscar nomination for his performance in next year’s The Danish Girl, in which he plays Danish artist Lili Elbe, one of the first known recipients of sexual reassignment surgery.