Eddie Redmayne has been offered the lead role of Newt Scamander in Warner Bros' Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Redmayne has always been the frontrunner for the role though wanted to look over a finished script before committing.

Eddie RedmayneEddie Redmayne [R] won the Oscar for best actor for The Theory of Everything

According to Variety, the Oscar-winning actor is happy with what he has read and is close to signing on for the project. J.K Rowling is making her screenwriting debut on the triology, with David Yates directing.

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Set in New York around 70 years before the Harry Potter saga, Fantastic Beasts is based on the Hogwarts textbook of the same name and follows the adventures of its author, Newt, described as a "magiczooligist or a person who studies magical creatures. There are four other main roles - two American girls and two American boys - who Warners are looking to cast shortly. 

"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 explained.

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Yates is ready to move forward with pre-production and Redmayne recently finished production on Tom Hooper's The Danish Girl, which bows in November.

Redmayne is in high demand in the U.S after his phenomenal Oscars success with The Theory of Everything. In the UK, he recently lent his voice to Thomas & Friends: Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure - a new take on the Thomas the Tank series.