Eddie Redmayne arrives at the 87th Academy Awards nominees luncheon in Beverly Hills, California, Feb. 2, 2015. Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

The lead role of Newt Scamander in “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” may be played by Eddie Redmayne. The actor has long been rumored to be the favorite for the part, and Variety now reports that he has formally been offered the role in the highly anticipated “Harry Potter” spinoff movie.

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” written by "Potter" creator J.K. Rowling, is the story of a "magizoologist" who travels to New York City.

Redmayne won the best actor Oscar this year for playing Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything.” He was more recently seen as Balem Abrasax in the sci-fi movie “Jupiter Ascending.” Fans may now get to see him play Newt Scamander in the first of three movies.

The actor was apparently in talks with Warner Bros. for some time but waited until the script was complete before committing to the role. According to the report, sources confirmed the actor is “very happy” with the screenplay. The contract between Redmayne and the studio may not have been signed yet, as Warner officials have not commented.

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is based on the novel by Rowling, who will don the hat of a screenwriter for the first time. The story is set in the same world as the “Harry Potter” tales, but will take place about 70 years before Harry, Ron and Hermione attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The film is expected to begin production soon; the scheduled U.S. release date is Nov. 18, 2016. It will be directed by David Yates, who helmed the last four “Harry Potter” movies.

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