A month ago, we learned that Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) was Warner Bros.’ top choice to play adventuring hero Newt Scamander in Harry Potter prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but now it appears that the British thesp has entered into official talks for the lead role.
When Redmayne’s name first came up in association with the high-profile project, J.K. Rowling had not yet completed the first draft of her screenplay for the franchise-launching pic, which takes place in New York 70 years before the Harry Potter movies and centers on the travels of a magizoologist whose eventual textbook (the source of the title) would go on to become required reading for Hogwarts students.
Rowling originally wrote a slim version of Scamander’s textbook back in 2001 to benefit the charity Comic Relief. When Warner Bros. approached her about continuing Harry Potter in some capacity, she hatched the story.
It makes a lot of sense that Warner Bros. would be sweet on Redmayne. Not only does the actor fit the mold for a Rowling-esque hero, but he is expected to come up in close relation to the word Oscar again this winter when he plays transgender artist Lili Elbe in Tom Hooper’s hotly anticipated drama The Danish Girl. The actor, who rose to fame with roles in My Week with Marilyn and Les Miserables, has never led a franchise before, but he certainly has the clout necessary for such a task.
David Yates, who helmed the last four Harry Potter films, is back behind the camera for this prequel, and David Heyman is returning as a producer. Warner Bros. is expected to make Redmayne an offer he can’t refuse for the part, signing him on for three blockbuster films that are already set for November 18, 2016, November 16, 2018, and November 20, 2020 (we think).
Tell us, are you excited that Warner Bros. has settled on Redmayne for Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them? Or did you have another star in mind?