Harry Potter Spinoff Casts Oscar-Winning Actor for Lead Role

Eddie Redmayne will play the "magizoologist" Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which arrives in 2016.

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Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne has joined Warner Bros. Pictures' upcoming Harry Potter spinoff, the film production company announced this week.

Redmayne, who won the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, will play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

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Scamander, a character created by J.K. Rowling, is a "magizoologist." He traveled the world and documented his findings in the Hogwarts textbook Fantastic Beats and Where to Find Them. His adventure will be the basis for the upcoming movie, set 70 years before the events of Harry Potter.

“Eddie Redmayne has emerged as one of today's most extraordinarily talented and acclaimed actors," Warner Bros. creative development president Greg Silverman said in a statement. "We are thrilled to welcome him into J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World, where we know he will deliver a remarkable performance as Newt Scamander, the central character in 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.'"

Rowling is writing the script for the movie, marking her screenwriting debut.

Directing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is David Yates. He directed the most recent Harry Potter movies, and says of Redmayne, “Eddie is a fearless actor, brimming with invention, wit, and humanity."

Fantastic Beats and Where to Find Them will open in theaters on November 18, 2016. When the movie was originally announced in September 2013, Warner Bros. also said game adaptations were in the works. However, no games based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them have been announced so far.

Video games based on the popular Harry Potter films were developed and published by Electronic Arts. It is unclear if Warner Bros. will develop the new Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them games internally through its Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment label or license them out.

The most recent Harry Potter game was 2012's Kinect-required Harry Potter for Kinect.

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