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Harry Potter spinoff gains momentum, conjures up a shortlist of actors

hollywood Updated: May 28, 2015 18:10 IST
Rohan Naahar
Rohan Naahar
Hindustan Times
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A promising shortlist of actors has been announced for the highly anticipated Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Only a few weeks after Eddie Redmayne was cast as lead Newt Scamander in the JK Rowling scripted film, the race for the female lead has taken off.

The Wrap reports that the studio is considering Saoirse Ronan (Hanna, Atonement, The Grand Budapest Hotel), Dakota Fanning (War of the Worlds, Coraline), Lili Simmons (Banshee) and Alison Sudol (Transparent) for the role of Tina.

Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby), Katherine Waterston (Inherent Vice), and for some reason Kate Upton (her swimsuit modeling career) are being considered for the role of Tina’s sister Queenie. Steve Zissis(Togetherness), Zack Pearlman (Mulaney) and Dan Fogler(Fanboys) are up for the role of Newt’s rival Jacob, as per Justin Kroll of Variety.

This is great news for fans of the Harry Potter series. Fantastic Beasts will be the closest they will come to enjoying original stories, written by Rowling, set in that fabled universe. Considering JK Rowling has so far been playing extremely coy with regards to new books in the series, the fast-track development of a new trilogy of movies is our greatest shot at experiencing the magic once again.

Going by the actors shortlisted, we can make a fair assumption of the kind of characters they will play. Ronan, Fanning, Debicki and Waterston have all delivered excellent performances in the past. It can also be safely assumed that Jacob will be comic relief: a bumbling, nefarious type will grand schemes. The sore thumb of the list is obviously Kate Upton, whose presence we sincerely hope amounts to more than just stunt-casting.

The original crew is back for another go-around, led by veteran Potter director David Yates, and producer David Heyman. Offering a pleasantly fresh take on the series, the new trilogy will be set in New York 70 years prior to the events of Harry Potter.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is scheduled for a November 18, 2016 release.