J.K. Rowling on Johnny Depp Fantastic Beasts casting controversy
With promotion ramping up for next November’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, there still remains a bit of controversy over the casting of Johnny Depp as arch-villain Gellert Grindelwald. Many fans of the franchise were angry about Depp’s part in the series after allegations of spousal abuse by the actor’s ex-wife, actress Amber Heard. The charges were eventually dropped and the couple divorced agreeably, but author and screenwriter J.K. Rowling has released a new statement on her website acknowledging the controversy and ultimately signing off on Depp’s casting. Read Rowling’s full statement on the Johnny Depp Fantastic Beasts casting controversy below!
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.
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.
The huge, mutually supportive community that has grown up around Harry Potter is one of the greatest joys of my life. For me personally, the inability to speak openly to fans about this issue has been difficult, frustrating and at times painful. However, 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.
I’ve loved writing the first two screenplays and I can’t wait for fans to see ‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’. 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 committee. Within the fictional world and outside it, we all have to do what we believe to be the right thing.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is the second of five all new adventures in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World. The film stars Eddie Redmayne back as Newt Scamander, and also stars Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Claudia Kim, Zoe Kravitz, Callum Turner, with Jude Law and Johnny Depp.
At the end of the first film, the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Depp) was captured by MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America), with the help of Newt Scamander (Redmayne). But, making good on his threat, Grindelwald escaped custody and has set about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings.
In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore (Law) enlists his former student Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is being directed by David Yates, from a screenplay by J.K. Rowling, and produced by David Heyman, J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves and Lionel Wigram. The film will debut in theaters November 16, 2018.