‘Harry Potter’ Spinoff ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ Eyes Saoirse Ronan, Dakota Fanning and…Kate Upton?
The last time we heard from the Harry Potter sort-of-prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, newly minted Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne had been cast as “magic-zoologist” Newt Scamander. Now, the J.K. Rowling-written, David Yates-directed production is seeking out its female leads and a batch of surprising names have emerged as potential candidates.
The news comes to via The Wrap, who note that this list doesn’t necessarily include every actress the production is considering and that some of them haven’t even been officially approached. Still, like any casting short list, this gives us an idea of what type of actress they’re looking for.
For the role of Tina (and we only know that name, nothing else about the character), Warner Bros. and Yates are looking at Saoirse Ronan, Dakota Fanning, Lili Simmons, and Alison Sudol. For the role of Tina’s older sister Queenie, they are considering Kate Upton, Katherine Waterston, and Elizabeth Debicki.
If that list sounds a little strange for a Harry Potter spin-off you’re totally right. Of those seven names, only one of them is British and let’s be honest: you didn’t realize that Inherent Vice’s Katherine Waterston was British, either. (Ed. note: Saoirse Ronan is Irish.) But it makes sense! Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them takes place 70 years before the events of the Harry Potter series, but it also takes place an ocean away in New York City. After seven books and eight movies set in England, this will be our first proper glimpse at the North American wizarding world.
When it comes to the Tina role, Fanning and Ronan feel like the big names the production would want to get, but they’re probably going to more elusive and may not want to get tied into a franchise. The Queenie role is interesting because it can apparently be played by Waterston and Upton, two performers who couldn’t be more different. Considering the star power of the original Potter franchise, we wouldn’t be surprised if Yates and his producers aggressively pursue the bigger names. However, we also wouldn’t be surprised if they cast the lesser known actresses, a tactic that worked wonders when it came to casting the original three Potter leads.
We should be hearing something more official relatively soon. After all, the surely effects-heavy Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is scheduled to open on November 18, 2016.