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Jared Harris is frontrunner to take on late father's role as Professor Dumbledore

Former Mad Men star Jared Harris has emerged as a frontrunner to play the young Professor Albus Dumbledore in the Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them sequel.

Director David Yates has revealed Harris is his favorite to take on the role of the beloved Harry Potter character, who was played on the big screen by his late father, acting icon Richard Harris.

The Irish star portrayed Dumbledore in 2001's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and 2002's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. He was replaced by Michael Gambon following his death in 2002.

Yates tells WENN, "In the second Fantastic Beasts movie Dumbledore comes back. He's got a couple of good scenes with Newt Scamander in the second movie.

"We're discussing who will play Dumbledore. We've been talking about Jared Harris, who is a fantastic actor. We need a younger Dumbledore."

The Fantastic Beasts films, starring Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne, are set decades before the birth of Harry Potter. Author J.K. Rowling, who created the boy wizard, has penned the screenplays for the new franchise, which will comprise of five movies.

Yates tells WENN she's still fine-tuning the story, adding, "Jo has a good sense of where it's going. She started writing the screenplay and at that point it was just going to be a trilogy. Then about half-way through writing the second film she got really excited and decided it was gonna be five films.

"She did pitch a very rough shape of where it will all go but she's still formulating it. It's all kind of bubbling away inside her head. She's fine-tuning the specifics."

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will hit theaters worldwide on 18 November (16). The second Fantastic Beasts film is already in pre-production, and due in cinemas in November, 2018.

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