Eddie Redmayne cast as lead in JK Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’ spin-off film

Oscar-winning actor signs up to star in 'Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them'

Eddie Redmayne has been cast as the lead in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter spin-off film Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.

The Oscar-winning Theory Of Everything actor was understood to be “in talks” for the role last month (May) and now he has officially signed up. A Warner Bros. press release yesterday (June 1) announced: “Redmayne will play JK Rowling’s creation Newt Scamander, the Wizarding World’s preeminent magizoologist, who in his travels has encountered and documented a myriad of magical creatures, ultimately leading to his penning the Hogwarts School textbook Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.”

Rowling has written the script for the spin-off film, which is set around 70 years before the Harry Potter saga begins. Warner Bros. has given the film a release date of November 18, 2016 and David Yates, who directed the final four Harry Potter films, in on board to direct.

“Eddie is a fearless actor, brimming with invention, wit and humanity,” Yates said of Redmayne’s casting. “I couldn’t be more excited about the prospect of working with him as we start this new adventure in JK Rowling’s wonderful world, and I know she feels the same way.”

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.