"Harry Potter" spinoff "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" may be adding a familiar face to the director's chair.

Variety reports that David Yates, who helmed several "Potter" films, including the two-part "Deathly Hallows," is in serious negotiations to direct "Beasts." So far it seems he's just in contention for the first film in the planned trilogy, based on the titular fictional textbook used by Harry and his friends in the "Potter" books and movies.

According to Variety, there is no production schedule in place just yet for "Beasts," and Yates is currently tied up with filming another flick, "Tarzan," until November. But the trade notes that his existing relationship with studio Warner Bros. -- following his direction of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1," and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2" -- made him a prime target to direct "Beasts."

" ... [T]he studio had always wanted to approach a person who was familiar with the 'Harry Potter' landscape and Yates, director of the last four films in the franchise, was a no brainer for WB," Variety writes. "The move draws comparisons to other filmmakers like Peter Jackson returning for 'The Hobbit' and Sam Mendes on 'James Bond,' who, after insisting they were done with a certain franchise, ultimately came back to a piece of material they were comfortable tackling again."

"Beasts" follows textbook author Newt Scamander, a magizoologist who works with mythical creatures, as a young man living in New York City. The story is set about 70 years before the events of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," and author J.K. Rowling is making her screenwriting debut with the script.

"Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" is due in theaters on November 18, 2016.

[via: Variety]

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