After some speculation that he was the favorite, Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) has been officially cast to play Newt Scamander, the lead in the Harry Potter prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.
The script, written by series author J.K. Rowling, is based on a small book that was itself based on a textbook used at Hogwarts. Redmayne will play the author of said book, who explored the magical world in search of mythical beasts.
The role is a big get for Redmayne, whose previous role as the villain Balem Abrasax in the flop Jupiter Ascending didn’t give him the major blockbuster he was looking for. Warner Bros. has already committed to making the 63-page book into a trilogy. Sister studio New Line Cinema similarly expanded the J.R.R. Tolkien novel The Hobbit into three films.
Redmayne continues to build his resume with the upcoming historical biopic The Danish Girl, where he will play Elnar Wegener and Lili Elbe, one of the first accounts of a man transitioning into a woman. The first picture of Redmayne in the role was released earlier this year and the movie will hit theaters next fall.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is currently in pre-production and is slated for release on November 18, 2016.