November 9, 2016


'Fantastic Beasts 2' Director Explains Controversial Johnny Depp Casting

Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

What a week it's been to be a fan of the idea of Johnny Depp being in a Harry Potter-verse movie! First it was announced that he'd been signed for the guaranteed Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them sequel (one of four). Now, it's come out that he's playing Grindelwald, the childhood wizard friend of Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore; we only saw glimpses of their relationship, and only in Deathly Hallows. (Did you already hear there's gonna be some Yung Dumbledore, too?)

O.G. fan site The Leaky Cauldron got some time with Potter-vetted director David Yates and producer David Heyman. They dug into the reasons Depp was cast—a smart topic to explore, given the widespread adverse reaction, largely founded upon recent abuse allegations by his now-ex-wife. 

Yates described why Depp was their choice:

"The whole principal of casting the movie was go with the best actor. Go for the most inspired, interesting, right fit for that character. And as we approached Grindelwald we thought, ‘who’s going to take this in an interesting direction?’ In this business, it’s a weird old business. You’re brilliant one week, people are saying odd things the next, you go up and down. But no one takes away your pure talent. 

Johnny Depp is a real artist. He’s created several characters who have really resonated in our popular culture. He’s a really brilliant, brilliant actor. We were excited about seeing what he would do with this guy, the character. He’s fearless; he’s imaginative; he’s ambitious. We thought he would do something fun and special. So we went for him, purely on that selfish basis. We don’t care if he’s famous or not famous. We just know he’s interesting.”

Heyman adds that Grindelwald is an "iconic character, so it was important to have someone who had that weight." Yates admitted that “currently the beasts feature slightly less in the second film, and Grindelwald takes more of a foreground. Currently."

Read The Leaky Cauldron's in-depth interview right here, and journey to NY Comic Con 2016 with Fuse: