J.K. Rowling to pen screenplays for Harry Potter prequel trilogy
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by Ben Apatoff
J.K. Rowling, the little-known author of the Harry Potter series, is set to write the screenplay for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, her 2001 spinoff book about the magical creatures in the Potter universe. The book, credited to fictional author “Newt Scamander,” will be adapted into a trilogy for Warner Bros., scheduled for release in 2016, 2018 and 2020.
This marks the screenwriting debut for Rowling, who has overseen eight Harry Potter film adaptations. The author had been dropping hints on her Twitter page in the days leading up to the announcement, but an October 15 statement from Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara made the rumors official.
Announcing her continued creative partnership with the film company in a press release, Rowling noted, “Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for seventeen years, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world…The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York, seventy years before Harry’s gets underway.”
Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them is Harry’s book-within-a-book textbook from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, supposedly Scamander’s account of the magical creatures encountered in the series. The film will likely not feature Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, but David Yates, who helmed the last four Harry Potter films, is set to return as director.