Matt Smith tipped (and wants) to play the lead in the new Harry Potter spinoff

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Mar 24, 2015, 6:33 PM EDT

Looks like former Doctor Who star Matt Smith is being tipped to play the lead in that upcoming Harry Potter spinoff movie. It also appears that the actor has expressed some interest in the part, as well.

According to a report over at The Sun, the British thespian formerly known as the Eleventh Doctor on the long-running BBC series has been "tipped for the role" of Newt Scamander, the magizooligist in J.K. Rowling's screen adaptation of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The Irish Examiner even reports that Smith is said to be the favorite for the role. The story takes place 70 years before The Boy Who Lived entered the magical wizarding world of Hogwarts.

It didn’t take long for Harry Potter fans to voice their opinion, as they've already set up a petition on to get him the role, which has apparently been passed over by Benedict Cumberbatch.

Back in 2013, J.K. Rowling said about Fantastic Beasts:

"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," Rowling said in a press release. "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."

Producer David Heyman said back in November that Rowling’s script was basically awesome, also adding: "It's funny, it's vivid, it's exciting. It's filled with all the hallmarks of [Rowling's] incredible imagination."

Fantastic Beasts is set to begin filming this Summer in London, with David Yates, who helmed the last four Harry Potter movies, back at the helm.

What do you think? Would Matt Smith make the perfect Newt Scamander?

(via IGN)