5:54pm PT by Graeme McMillan
Eddie Redmayne Officially Cast in 'Harry Potter' Prequel 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them'
Eddie Redmayne is about to find out where J.K. Rowling's Fantastic Beasts come from: The actor has signed on to star in the forthcoming prequel to the successful Harry Potter series of books.
Redmayne will play Newt Scamander, the foremost magizoologist of the wizarding world introduced in Rowling's series of best-selling novels and subsequent films. Scamander will be at the center of the new movie, searching the world for magical creatures to discover and catalog in his Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which will become a textbook used by Harry and friends in Hogwarts school in years to come. (The Hollywood Reporter noted that Redmayne was a frontrunner for the role in April.)
In a statement accompanying the announcement, Warner Bros. president of creative development Greg Silverman said that Redmayne had "emerged as one of today’s most extraordinarily talented and acclaimed actors," adding that the studio was "thrilled to welcome him into J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World, where we know he will deliver a remarkable performance."
Rowling moved into screenwriting for Fantastic Beasts, which will be directed by David Yates, who also directed the final four entries in the Harry Potter series. Producers on the project include Rowling, David Heyman, Lionel Wigram and Steve Kloves, who worked on the scripts for all but one of the Potter movies.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is scheduled for a Nov. 18, 2016, release in 3D and Imax.