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JK Rowling to script new Potter spin-off movie

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JK Rowling has been keeping herself busy since finishing the last Harry Potter novel (well, the last until her mighty vaults full of gold need topping up). She wrote a clunky and derivative novel for adults under her own name and a genre thriller under an assumed name (until it slipped out that it was her, with happy consequences for sales). Now she is turning her hand to screenwriting.

The project is a return to Potter world, although the speccy hero does not feature. It follows a minor character from the Hogwarts universe, Newt Scamander, in an adventure called Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. The implication is that there is still plenty of cash to be mined from the Potter phenomenon. A series of Scamander films is planned.

Rowling allowed other writers to script the Potter films (with a marked improvement, some might say), but was more possessive about Scamander. "Warner Bros came to me with the suggestion of turning Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them into a film," Rowling wrote on Facebook. "I thought it was a fun idea, but the idea of seeing Newt Scamander, the supposed author of Fantastic Beasts, realised by another writer was difficult. Having lived for so long in my fictional universe, I feel very protective of it and I already knew a lot about Newt. As I considered Warners' proposal, an idea took shape that I couldn't dislodge. That is how I ended up pitching my own idea for a film to Warner Bros."

That must have been a tricky pitch. The world's most successful author wants to write a screenplay connected to one of the world's most successful fantasy movie series. Warners probably took about half a second to agree.

Yeah, sure, but wouldn't it be great if this time the story wasn't quite so goddamn British, some minor philistine executive might have murmured. Not a problem. "Newt's story will start in New York, 70 years before Harry's gets under way," Rowling confirmed.

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