Eddie Redmayne is the frontrunner to play a magizoologist in Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, according to Variety. The Harry Potter spinoff will be a trilogy depicting the adventures of Newt Scamander, who authors Fantastic Beasts 70 years before Harry Potter finds out he’s a wizard and buys the book in Diagon Alley. In a baffling change of pace from the U.K.-set original series, the movie spinoff will take place in 1930s New York.
In the Harry Potter universe, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is a textbook written by Scamander; here in the Muggle world, J.K. Rowling wrote a version of it in 2011 for the charity Comic Relief. The sparse book details 75 magical animals with a forward by Albus Dumbledore and an “about the author” section. It’s there readers learn that after attending Hogwarts (in the Hufflepuff House), Scamander worked in the Ministry Of Magic before accepting an offer to write a guide to magical animals. He traveled around the world to write his book, fending off the ones that attacked him with a teakettle. Rowling must have put a lot of thought into Scamander well before the movies came into being; she said she liked the magizoologist so much she married his “swarthy” grandson, Rolf, to Luna Lovegood.
Rowling is writing the screenplays for Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, her first foray into adapting the Wizarding World for the screen.