Warner Bros. has zeroed in on Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne for the lead role for Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Harry Potter author JK Rowling is heavily involved in the project and is writing the script.
David Yates is on board to direct the feature project, which is set 70 years before the events of the Potter series and centers on a fictitious author named Newton Artemis Fido Scamander. In Potter lore, Scamander compiled a reference guide to magical beasts, and the movies will follow his adventures after he is commissioned to write the tome.
Redmayne, who would play Scamander, has no offer at this stage but is the studio’s top choice. One thing holding up the process is that the script is still being worked on. Sources say Redmayne won’t commit until he reads it.
Warners had no comment.
Other leads in the movie are two sisters, their parents and a character named Jacob, say sources.
Redmayne is already a studio favorite after chewing up the scenery in Jupiter Ascending (even if the movie didn’t do particularly well at the box office). But his fan base grew even more after he won an Oscar for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything.
He could be courting an Oscar again with The Danish Girl, the drama he is currently shooting in which he plays transgender artist Lili Elbe.