Films

Eddie Redmayne on board for Harry Potter spin-off

It's already one of Britain's most well-loved exports, but Harry Potter is getting a further injection of English stardust.

Eddie Redmayne, fresh from winning an Oscar for his potrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory Of Everything, has been cast as the lead in JK Rowling's Potter spin-off movie Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.

Redmayne as Hawking on a train (although maybe it's the Hogwarts Express?)

He's been in talks for around a month but has now officially signed up, with Warner Bros saying,  "Redmayne will play JK Rowling's creation Newt Scamander, the Wizarding World's preeminent magizoologist, who in his travels has encountered and documented a myriad of magical creatures, ultimately leading to his penning the Hogwarts School textbook Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them."

Rowling herself is writing the script. When the concept was announced in 2013, the author described it as "neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world. 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."

The release date is set for 18 November 2016, so there's a wizarding while to wait yet; by that time Redmayne may well have magicked up a second statuette, with his forthcoming film The Danish Girl already being tipped for Oscar success.

(Image: AllStar/Rex)