Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne has been confirmed to star in the Harry Potter spin-off film Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.
The Theory Of Everything star had been one of the frontrunners, alongside fellow Brit Benedict Cumberbatch, to play magizoologist and textbook author Newt Scamander in Warner Bros' big-screen adaptation of JK Rowling's book.
Greg Silverman, president of creative development and worldwide production, confirmed the casting, saying: "Eddie Redmayne has emerged as one of today's most extraordinarily talented and acclaimed actors.
"We are thrilled to welcome him into JK Rowling's Wizarding World, where we know he will deliver a remarkable performance as Newt Scamander, the central character in Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them."
Redmayne - who won an Oscar for his performance as Professor Stephen Hawking in the 2014 biopic The Theory Of Everything - will take the leading role in the new wizarding adventure, which sees his character encountering and documenting a myriad of magical creatures for the Hogwarts School 42-page textbook.
David Yates, who directed the last four Harry Potter films, will take the reins on Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, which is set decades before Harry Potter's story.
He said: "Eddie is a fearless actor, brimming with invention, wit and humanity. I couldn't be more excited about the prospect of working with him as we start this new adventure in JK Rowling's wonderful world, and I know she feels the same way."
Rowling will make her screenwriting debut on the film, which will be co-produced by her fellow Harry Potter collaborator David Heyman.
Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is scheduled for release on November 18 2016 - two days before the 15th anniversary of Rowling's first book, Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone.
Redmayne, who has also starred in Les Miserables, will next play transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl, which reunites him with director Tom Hooper.