As every respectable magizoologist knows, one of the most influential texts in the field is Newt Scamander's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The book has saved many a witch and wizard from the embarrassment of confusing bowtruckles and billywigs, and soon the Ministry of Magical Motion Pictures will be adapting Scamander's work into a live-action film.
Well, actually it's Warner Bros. Pictures that's adapting Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, not the Ministry of Magical Motion Pictures (which we just made up). The book is set in the same world as the Harry Potter series, and is on the reading list for first years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Eddie Redmayne (Jupiter Ascending) was recently confirmed to be playing Newt Scamander in the film, and now Fantastic Beasts has found it female lead as well.
Katherine Waterston, who recently starred in Paul Thomas Anderson's crime drama Inherent Vice, has been cast as Tina (short for Porpentina), a witch who works her magic in the USA and who meets Newt when he visits New York City in his search for magical creatures. Maybe those sewer alligators were actually dugbogs all along.
Inherent Vice marked Waterston's most prominent role to date, but she also appeared in several episodes of Boardwalk Empire and is set to play Chrisann Brennan in Danny Boyle's upcoming biopic Steve Jobs. Other actresses who were reportedly up for the role of Tina included Saoirse Ronan, Dakota Fanning and Lili Simmons. Interestingly, that same report claimed that Waterston was being considered for the role of Tina's older sister, Queenie, in competition with Kate Upton and Elizabeth Debicki. This might have just been an assumption based on the fact that, at 35 years old, Waterston was the oldest actress in the running, or perhaps she auditioned for one role and ended up being cast in another.
The screenplay for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was written by J.K. Rowling herself, and marks the author's first time penning a feature film script. David Yates, who directed the final four Harry Potter movies, will also direct this next foray into the wizarding world, and two sequels have already been green-lit.
Though it was originally introduced in the main book series as a fictional text that Harry reads as part of his studies, Rowling wrote a real version of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them that was published in 2001, with proceeds going to the charity Comic Relief. The book isn't narrative, but instead features a series of encyclopedic entries about the various strange, wonderful and occasionally dangerous magical creatures that exist in the Harry Potter canon. While some parts of Newt Scamander's life story have been established in the books, the movie will largely be a new and original story for Harry Potter fans to enjoy.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will arrive in theaters on November 18th, 2016
Source: Warner Bros.