Eddie Redmayne the Frontrunner to Star in ‘Harry Potter’ Spinoff (EXCLUSIVE)

Eddie Redmayne Variety Oscar Race
Robert Maxwell for Variety

Eddie Redmayne, who just won the Oscar for playing Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything,” may have a few more magic tricks up his sleeve. Sources tell Variety that Redmayne is the favorite to play Newt Scamander in Warner Bros.’ hotly anticipated “Harry Potter” spinoff “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

J.K. Rowling is making her screenwriting debut on the trilogy.

Redmayne recently wrapped Tom Hooper’s “The Danish Girl” and has yet to receive an official offer. Director David Yates is said to be considering a few other actors for the part but Redmayne, according to sources, is the frontrunner.

WB declined to comment on this story.

Set in New York roughly seven decades before Harry Potter’s saga starts, “Fantastic Beasts” is based on the Hogwarts textbook of the same name and follows the adventures of its author, Newt Scamander. Scamander is described as a “magiczoologist,” which in the “Harry Potter” realm is a person who studies magical creatures. Besides Scamander, there are four other main roles — two American girls and two American boys — that the studio is currently looking to cast.

“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,” Rowling explained of the trilogy.

Sources tell Variety that the studio has also considered Nicholas Hoult for the part after working with him on the upcoming “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

The first “Fantastic Beasts” movie is scheduled to arrive Nov. 18, 2016.

WB’s “Harry Potter” series — which began in 2001 and concluded in 2011 — grossed more than $7 billion worldwide, making it the highest-grossing film franchise of all time.

The studio has already said “Fantastic Beasts” would be developed across the studio’s digital, consumer-products and gaming units, including links to Pottermore.com, Rowling’s digital online experience built around the Potter books.

Warner Bros. and Redmayne recently worked together on “Jupiter Ascending,” in which he played the villain opposite Channing Tatum. Though that film failed to meet expectations at the box office, the British thesp is still in high demand following his Oscar win and Warners is more than happy to stay in business with him.

Redmayne is repped by CAA and United Agents.

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  1. Raphael says:

    Benedict Cumberbatch would be a good choice for the role as well. He fits the quirkiness Newt probably has.

  2. Ines says:

    Eddies as New Scamander? Meh. Come on Hollywood! You can do better. I like Eddie but not for this part.

  3. R Wilson says:

    Keep it British! Please!

    • R Wilson says:

      Reply to self….. This is a British creation and it would be lights out for the magic of it if American actors were cast. I hope they don’t destroy the Old World theme of the Harry Potter experience by introducing American accents! (who may be fine actors but it just wouldn’t work)
      Please stay with the theme and let the magic continue!
      By the way, I am an American and I love American actors, but in this case they would fall flat!

  4. Jessica Johnston says:

    What about Darren Criss too? He’d be great!

  5. calatkinson says:

    Either Redmayne or Hoult, both would be great!

  6. bethanyjay says:

    Reblogged this on I Can Eat All The Pies! and commented:
    Eddie Redmayne and the Harry Potter world all in one.. I hope happens!

  7. maria says:

    Sorry but Eddie Redmayne is not quirky enough for Newt Scamander. He’s better off doing serious roles. I prefer Matt Smith who might do a better job. Thanks.

  8. This is stupid. Scamander is 23 years old American. So why are they looking for 30something Brits? Yes, Redmayne looks like he’s 12 which is also wrong for 23 years old. Also, Hoult is not going to happen despite Hollywood push. Matt Smith…lol, don’t get me started here. Only Whovians would approve of such messed up casting.

    WB, get yourself together and look for an American actor in his 20s. There are so many of them and they are great! You won’t have to worry about botched accent, getting too old, etc. Marvel is smartening up about Spiderman so they are looking for a teenager. So just cast early 20something American.

    • Robe says:

      Fishnets are you Trolling?
      Scamander went to Hogwarts was sorted into Hufflepuff House and then worked for the Ministry of Magic, so likely to be British or Irish. Newt visits America along other countries then retires to Dorset England.

      • Raphael says:

        sorry, my comment was meant for @fishnets

      • Raphael says:

        I hope you are joking -.-

        Newt attended Hogwarts, which makes him either Irish or Brisithsh. But either way, both actors are good for the role

  9. hpfan says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  10. Sam Smith says:

    I dont like this actor and I hated Theory of Everything

  11. meiray says:

    Matt Smith is such a better choice.

  12. Mike says:

    This guy might have 2 Oscars in 10 months, and then he’ll be complaining about a franchise holding him back from better work like J-Law.

    RUN AWAY! You’re WAY TOO GOOD FOR THIS!!!

  13. Rocky The Red Ranger says:

    Super! I can’t wait.

  14. Devon says:

    No, please no. I like Redmayne. But there was a rumor that Matt Smith of “Doctor Who” fame was the front runner and I’d much prefer him.
    Watch any of his amazing speechifying on that show and I think you’ll agree.

  15. Mantle Head says:

    Why would an Oscar winner even consider this trash? I know JK is a great writer, but I f**king hate Potter. Enough. Do I really want to drink a cola out of a ‘Magic Beasts’ cup… lowbrow trash that does no one any good.

  16. not says:

    please Nicholas hoult. Eddie is so ugly

  17. discus says:

    I hope Nicholas doesn’t get the role. I much prefer Eddie and I think he would be perfect for the role!

  18. Cerulean says:

    I think Eddie Redmayne is perfect for the role. I was actually hopping for this casting even before the news was out.

  19. Rebecca Tee says:

    Eddie is an exceptional actor and will be perfect for this role,I’m so excited to see this movie!

  20. Christina says:

    ah. I was hoping they would cast someone of color.

    • Betsy Murgatroyd says:

      Agreed. There aren’t enough PoC in the Potterverse.

      • Robe says:

        Neat was born about a hundred years ago in the UK most of the population was white, even today most are white but the cities are multiracial.

      • Betsy Murgatroyd says:

        There were a lot more PoC in Europe and the UK in the late 1800s (Newt was purportedly born in 1897) than most people think. He is shown in paintings as having a white appearance, but that doesn’t mean Jo can’t change it.

    • Jem says:

      Eddie Redmayne would be so intelligent for this part. He is a very talented actor. Plus his British accent adds a great flair.

  21. JK says:

    Overrated too much….????

  22. Being in a Wachowski broth… er, sibling film is kinda of a career killer. *cringe* ; /

    Someone should tell him.

  23. Everyone put your hands on your cheeks..

    Now pull them back towards your ears…

    Congratulations, you now look just like Eddie Redmayne.

  24. Sharon says:

    A great choice!

  25. John says:

    Great actor and choice. It’s about time he got himself a franchise.

  26. diyana says:

    Eddie Redmayne is amazing!! this is so exciting :)

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