Accio, Eddie! J.K. Rowling found her next big star in none other than Eddie Redmayne for the upcoming Harry Potter movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Rumors swirled for months that Redmayne, 33, was being courted for the starring role in the big-screen adaptation of Rowling's 2001 book. Warner Bros. finally confirmed on Monday, June 1, that the British star has signed on for the flick.
"Eddie Redmayne has emerged as one of today’s most extraordinarily talented and acclaimed actors," Warner Bros. exec 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."
The Oscar winner will take on the role of magizoologist and author Newt, whose work later makes its way to the halls of Hogwarts. The flick will take place decades before Harry Potter's famed story, but is not serving as a direct prequel to the seven books and eight movies.
"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 said of the initial film announcement. "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 underway."
Daniel Radcliffe, who famously played Harry for 10 years, is not expected to appear in Fantastic Beasts, nor are his main Harry Potter costars Emma Watson and Rupert Grint.
There will be one major return from the series, however, as director David Yates has been booked to helm the upcoming movie. The celebrated filmmaker previously led Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Parts 1 and 2.