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Eddie Redmayne confirmed for JK Rowling's Fantastic Beasts

Eddie Redmayne in Birdsong

Story by Jack Foley

EDDIE Redmayne will star in Harry Potter spin-off, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Warner Bros has confirmed.

The Oscar winning actor will play a character named Newt Scamander, the pre-eminent Wizarding World magizoologist who writes the famous Hogwarts School textbook that gives the film its title.

The film will mark Potter author JK Rowling’s screenwriting debut on the film and will be directed by David Yates, who previously directed the final four Potter films. David Heyman – who worked on all eight of the Harry Potter blockbusters – will once again produce.

In a statement, Yates said: “Eddie is a fearless actor, brimming with invention, wit and humanity. I couldn’t be more excited about the prospect of working with him as we start this new adventure in JK Rowling’s wonderful world, and I know she feels the same way.”

Greg Silverman, from Warner Bros Pictures, said they were also “thrilled” to have Redmayne on board. The actor has been linked to the part for some time prior to this official confirmation, which further went on to describe Redmayne as “one of today’s most extraordinarily talented and acclaimed actors”.

Earlier this year, Redmayne became the toast of the film world when he won the best actor Oscar, a BAFTA, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild award for his performance as Stephen Hawking in biopic The Theory of Everything. He is already being tipped for awards recognition for his next role in The Danish Girl, out in January.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is expected to be released in 3D and IMAX worldwide on November 18, 2016.

The book is set 70 years before the events of Rowling’s best-selling Potter series and follows the adventures of magizoologist Scamander, a specialist in magical animals, who travels the Wizarding World to document the beasts he encounters.

He writes a book – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – which is then studied years later by Hogwarts students such as Harry, Ron and Hermione.

Writing on her Facebook page in 2013, JK Rowling said: “Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for 17 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, 70 years before Harry’s gets under way.”

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