Eddie Redmayne set to star in Harry Potter spin-off 'Fantastic Beasts'

Eddie Redmayne will play 'magizoologist' New Scamander in Harry Potter spin-off 'Fantastic Beasts'

It's time for Eddie Redmayne to choose a wand -- or for a wand to choose him.

The Oscar-winning British actor is set to play the lead role in the "Harry Potter" spin-off "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," Warner Bros. announced.

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Redmayne will portray "magizoologist" Newt Scamander, who travels the wizarding world encountering and documenting mystical creatures. In the "Harry Potter" mythos, Scamander is the author of the Hogwarts textbook from which "Fantastic Beasts" takes its title.

In the real world, "Fantastic Beasts" is a 42-page book published by "Potter" author J.K. Rowling in 2001. Rowling will make her screenwriting debut adapting and expanding the book into three "Fantastic Beasts" films.

The first installment is scheduled for release Nov. 18, 2016. Scamander's adventures will begin in New York 70 years before the events of the first "Harry Potter" novel.

David Yates, who directed the last four "Harry Potter" movies, is reprising his duties. As part of the announcement, he said, "Eddie is a fearless actor, brimming with invention, wit and humanity. I couldn't be more excited about the prospect of working with him as we start this new adventure."

Redmayne will next be seen on the big screen this fall in the transgender drama "The Danish Girl," which reunites him with "Les Miserables" director Tom Hooper.

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