You have my attention, J.K. Rowling.
When it was first announced that the world of Harry Potter (a book and film series very near-and-dear to my heart) would be continued in the form of spin-offs I was obviously worried. I grew up along with the books and films simultaneously, reading the first book when I was 8-years-old and waiting in line on opening day for the Deathly Hallows when I was 13, watching every single film on opening weekend in between (and after, Deathly Hallows Part 2 in theatres is still one of my favorite theatre experiences ever.) Normally I’m not one to dictate based on nostalgia – whatever that word even means to a now 21-year-old – but with the near-perfect experience I had with these films, the idea of expanding on them, and trying to affect future kids the same they did me, just really didn’t sit well with me for selfish reasons.
That being said, a spin-off that doesn’t hinge on the original – the bit of Better Call Saul I’ve seen is a good example of this – is perfectly fine with me. Something that just takes the larger world and digs into it in different ways could be interesting, so as far as I’m concerned, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (that’s a mouthful), with the right talent, could end up being fascinating. And it appears the right talent might just be on board. Hot off his Best Actor Oscar for The Theory Of Everything, Eddie Redmayne has been cast in the lead role of Newt Scamander, a Magiczoologist that – 70 years before the events of Harry Potter – documents all kinds of fantastic beasts and where he found them, I presume. The Warner Bros. press release reads:
“Eddie Redmayne has emerged as one of today’s most extraordinarily talented and acclaimed actors,” says Silverman. “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.’”
I like this a lot. Newt Scamander, though only ever referenced in Harry Potter through the Fantastic Beasts textbook the characters actually use at Hogwarts, is an interesting guy. He’s a Magiczoologist that wanders through the magical world in search of all the most extraordinary creatures he can find, which could easily make for a whimsical, visually dynamic journey and Redmayne has proven he can pull off the sincerity and determination needed for the role. I wasn’t big on The Theory Of Everything as a film, but Redmayne can do the guy in search of both wonder and knowledge, and with J.K. Rowling writing the script (apparently Redmayne was ecstatic about what he read) and David Yates returning to direct, it’s clear that maybe I shouldn’t have been as worried about it as I was.
What do you guys make of this?