'Fantastic Beasts' Female Lead Shortlist Includes Saoirse Ronan & Kate Upton

Harry Potter Spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

There's no question that the Harry Potter franchise was a massive success for Warner Bros. - one the studio's been trying to duplicate since the series wrapped with 2011's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2. In the hope that J.K. Rowling's magical world can again provide them with another popular and profitable wizarding franchise, WB is producing a film based on another of Rowling's Potter-related works - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

That book is actually a textbook Hogwarts students use during their studies written by "magizoologist" Newt Scamander. The film, however, will follow Scamander's adventures while researching the book, presumably featuring his run-ins with a variety of strange and fantastic beasts. Its script comes from Rowling herself, with frequent Harry Potter film director David Yates at the helm and in the role of Scamander, Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything). Fantastic Beasts is currently set for a November 2016 release.

Rowling's script has been kept tightly under wraps so the nature of Fantastic Beasts' other roles are still unknown, but The Wrap is reporting the project is currently looking for two female leads: Tina and her older sister, Queenie. They've also laid hands on a shortlist of actresses for the roles and it sheds a bit more light on the characters.

Saoirse Ronan Dakota Fanning Alison Sudol Lili Simmons Fantastic Beasts Actress Shortlist
Saoirse Ronan, Dakota Fanning, Alison Sudol, and Lili Simmons.

The current frontrunners for the role of Tina are Saoirse Ronan, Dakota Fanning, Alison Sudol, and Lili Simmons, while those potentially up for Queenie are Kate Upton, Katherine Waterston and Elizabeth Debicki. Of that first group of actresses, Ronan and Fanning are the youngest at 21 and Sudol the oldest at 30, but the potential candidates clearly indicate Tina is a young women, possibly even an older teenager.

For the role of Queenie, Upton is the youngest at 22 (though most would agree she's a mature-looking 22) and Waterston the oldest at 35. The slight difference in actresses ages aligns with Queenie being the older of the two, but it appears not by much, which could indicate they're a pair of tight-knit sisters. Or their relationship could be less civil due to their closeness in age, it's hard to tell with sisters.

Kate Upton Katherine Waterston Elizabeth Debicki Fantastic Beasts Shortlist
Kate Upton, Katherine Waterston and Elizabeth Debicki.

As for what part the two women will have in Fantastic Beasts, your guess is as good as ours; there are few details known about the film's plot. Being this is a Hollywood film with a male lead there's a strong likelihood either Tina or Queenie will be a love interest. Then again, Fantastic Beasts may take a more refreshing approach and not relegate either character to that of love interest. (Fingers crossed.)

What has been noticed by more than a few in reaction to this actress shortlist is how very, very white it is. Fantastic Beasts is reportedly set in New York City some seven decades before the events of the Harry Potter series, but nothing about that setting would imply that casting a non-white actress isn't an option. And while a shortlist of actresses only represents what a studio may be looking for at the moment, it is a little disheartening to see not a single minority in these line-ups.

What do you make of these actress shortlists for the two leading ladies of Fantastic Beasts? What kind of role would you expect them to have in the film? Let us know what you're thinking in the comments below!


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens in U.S. theaters on November 18, 2016. Warner Bros. has already staked out November 16, 2018 and November 20, 2020 as release dates for the potential sequels.

Source: The Wrap

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