There have been plenty of rumors swirling around just who will play the mysterious lead in "Harry Potter" spinoff "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," and now, it looks like there's a frontrunner for the part.

Variety reports that Eddie Redmayne is at the top of director David Yates's wishlist for the role of Newt Scamander, the magizoologist and author of the titular textbook used by Hogwarts students in the "Potter" books and flicks. According to the trade, several other actors are also in the mix -- including "Mad Max: Fury Road" star Nicholas Hoult -- but the newly-minted Oscar winner is currently the number one choice.

No offer to Redmayne has been made yet.

"Fantastic Beasts" takes place 70 years before the events of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," and follows the adventures of Scamander in America. Variety reports that studio Warner Bros. is also looking to cast two American girls and two American boys in four leading roles.

"Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them," written by "Potter" author J.K. Rowling in her screenwriting debut, is set for release on November 18, 2016.

[via: Variety]

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