J.K. Rowling stands by Johnny Depp’s ‘Fantastic Beasts’ casting
“When Johnny Depp was cast as Grindelwald, I thought he’d be wonderful in the role,” Rowling, 52, wrote Thursday on her website. “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.”
Depp, 54, was accused of domestic violence by ex-wife Amber Heard, 31. Though their divorce has since been finalized, fans have expressed outrage over the decision not to recast the Oscar-nominee in the role of the villainous wizard Grindelwald.
“Harry Potter fans had 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 wrote.
“The huge, mutually supportive community that has grown up around Harry Potter is one of the greatest joys of my life,” she continued. “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 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,” the writer concluded. “Within the fictional world and outside it, we all have to do what we believe to be the right thing.”
Late last month, Yates explained why he chose to stick with Depp in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
“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 said.
“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” is slated to hit theaters next fall.