J.K. Rowling may have two post-Potter novels under her belt, but she isn’t yet done with her most famous creation.
Rowling will make her screenwriting debut by adapting Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the 2001 book that was one of Harry Potter’s textbooks, for the big screen. Authored by “Newt Scamander,” a “magizoologist,” Fantastic Beasts will be turned into a trilogy of “megamovies,” a la Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit.
Rowling spoke about the her commitment to the project in a NY Times profile of new Warner Brother chief Kevin Tsujihara.
When I say he made Fantastic Beasts happen, it isn’t P.R.-speak but the literal truth. We had one dinner, a follow-up telephone call, and then I got out the rough draft that I’d thought was going to be an interesting bit of memorabilia for my kids and started rewriting!
Rowling also clarified where Fantastic Beasts fits into Potter World.
Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for 17 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, 70 years before Harry’s gets underway.
Warner Brothers made a fortune on the Harry Potter films and all the ancillary products and coming up with a way to extend the brand is something that will surely make shareholders, and fans, really happy.