There has been much controversy surrounding Johnny Depp’s casting as Grindelwald in the “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them” franchise. However, J.K Rowling, author of “Harry Potter,” has finally broken her silence about this matter.
“When Johnny Depp was cast as Grindelwald, I thought he’d be wonderful in the role. However, around the time of filming his cameo in the first movie, stories had appeared in the press that deeply concerned me and everyone most closely involved in the franchise,” Rowling wrote in a statement on her website. Rowling is referring to the domestic violence allegations that were made against Depp by his ex-wife Amber Heard. “Harry Potter” fans had legitimate questions and concerns about our choice to continue with Johnny Depp in the role. As David Yates, long-time Potter director, has already said, “we naturally considered the possibility of recasting. I understand why some have been confused and angry about why that didn’t happen.”
Rowling added that while “the huge, mutually supportive community that has grown up around ‘Harry Potter’ is one of the greatest joys of my life,” she found it “difficult, frustrating and at times painful to remain silent on the Depp issue.” “However,” she added, “the agreements that have been put in place to protect the privacy of two people, both of whom have expressed a desire to get on with their lives, must be respected. Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the filmmakers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies.”
Rowling is the screenwriter of “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them” and the upcoming sequel, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.” Depp will be the main character, and that doesn’t seem to sit well with many fans. Rowling commented on this fact by stating, “I accept that there will be those who are not satisfied with our choice of actor in the title role. However, conscience isn’t governable by a committee. Within the fictional world and outside it, we all have to do what we believe to be the right thing.”
Amber Heard and Johnny Depp met on the set of “The Rum Diary” back in 2012. The two started a romantic relationship after Depp broke up with his longtime partner Vanessa Paradis. Fast forward to 2015; the couple tied the knot in the Bahamas. Since the two married, it has been scandal after scandal released about Depp being abusive towards Heard, such as horrific text messages and so forth. The pair separated in 2016 and have had trouble ever since with restraining orders, tabloids, video evidence of abuse, and more.
“Fantastic Beasts” director David Yates defended Depp’s casting in an interview with EW.
“Honestly, there’s an issue at the moment where there’s a lot of people being accused of things, they’re being accused by multiple victims, and it’s compelling and frightening,” Yates said. “With Johnny, it seems to me there was one person who took a pop at him and claimed something. I can only tell you about the man I see every day: He’s full of decency and kindness, and that’s all I see. Whatever accusation was out there doesn’t tally with the kind of human being I’ve been working with.”
He added, “By testament, some of the women in [Depp’s] life have said the same thing that’s not the human being we know. So it’s very different [than cases] where multiple accusers over many years need to be examined, and we need to reflect on our industry that allows that to roll on year in and year out—Johnny isn’t in that category in any shape or form. So to me, it doesn’t bear any more analysis. It’s a dead issue.”
Warner Brothers have also released statements regarding the casting on Thursday.
Yates first had a statement by saying, “None of us involved in Fantastic Beasts would ever let our appreciation of talent obscure other, far more important considerations. We recognized the magnitude of the issues raised and understood the strength of feeling expressed. We hoped and strived at all times to be sensitive to both parties. We stand by our decision to have Johnny in the films.”
Warner Bros. added, “We are, of course, aware of reports that surfaced around the end of Johnny Depp’s marriage and take seriously the complexity of the issues involved.” Both parties have jointly addressed this matter in a statement in which they said, “there was never any intent of physical or emotional harm. Based on the circumstances and the information available to us, we, along with the filmmakers, continue to support the decision to proceed with Johnny Depp in the role of Grindelwald in this and future films.”
With all of the controversy surrounding it, Warner Brothers and those involved seem to believe they have made the right decision by keeping Depp involved with the production. While those may not agree, in the end, buying a ticket or not is up to the audience, and we hope the sequel does well regardless.