JK Rowling is to make her screenwriting debut by penning a Harry Potter spin-off film for Warner Bros.
The film, titled Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, will be inspired by a Hogwarts textbook of the same used by the bespectacled wizard and his classmates in Rowling’s Harry Potter novels. Warner Bros said in a press statement today (September 12), which Rowling posted on her Facebook wall, that Fantastic Beasts… is “the first in a new film series which is part of their expanded creative partnership with JK Rowling”.
In the statement, Rowling reveals that Warner Bros approached her with an idea to turn Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them into a film, but found it “difficult” to picture another writer shaping the character of Newt Scamander, the textbook’s fictional author. Instead, she pitched her own film idea to Warner Bros and saw it accepted.
Explaining the film’s premise, Rowling says: “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 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, seventy years before Harry’s gets underway.”
Rowling’s Harry Potter novels were adapted into a series of eight films released between 2001 and 2011. They took a collective $7.7 billion (£4.9 billion) at the box office worldwide, making Harry Potter the highest-grossing film franchise ever.