After an extensive search, the Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has found its female lead. Warner Bros. announced today that actress Katherine Waterston, who had a breakout role in last year’s Inherent Vice, will star alongside Eddie Redmayne as a witch named Porpentina.
Porpentina, or Tina for short, will be the the first witch we’ve seen in the Wizarding World who hails from the United States. She meets magizoologist Newt Scamander (Redmayne) when he visits New York City while searching for and documenting magical creatures.
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Waterston nabbed the role from an actress shortlist that included Elizabeth Debicki and Kate Upton. Another of Fantastic Beasts‘ female roles, for Tina’s younger sister Queenie, is still on the table and may go to previously-reported actresses Saoirse Ronan, Dakota Fanning, Lili Simmons or Alison Sudol.
Warner Bros.’ Greg Silverman released the following statement regarding Waterston’s casting:
“Katherine Waterston is a rising star, who was a revelation in our film Inherent Vice, earning the praise of both critics and audiences. We are thrilled to have her back in the Warner Bros. family, especially in one of our most anticipated titles for 2016, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”
Written by J.K. Rowling herself and directed by four-film Harry Potter alum David Yates, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will arrive on November 18th, 2016.