In the wake of claims of abuse by Johnny Depp and other high-profile figures, the top people behind the upcoming Fantastic Beasts sequel The Crimes of Grindelwald have come under fire over the past several weeks for their decision to cast the actor in the film, and now J.K. Rowling has finally spoken out on the issue.
The Harry Potter author and the film’s screenwriter posted a lengthy statement on her website addressing the issue in which she explains that when Depp was first cast as dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in movie No. 1, there was no reason not to include him. After filming his very small part in the first film, his now-ex-wife Amber Heard claimed that the actor was physically and emotionally violent with her.
Now, with his character playing a much larger role in the sequel, many fans of the series have voiced their concern and disappointment that he has been brought back for the next installment.
“I understand why some have been confused and angry about why that didn’t happen,” Rowling conceded, not trying to hide the fact that his inclusion has been controversial at best. The author and the film’s screenwriter eventually states that the decision to keep Depp on board was made after much discussion, and in order to move on and maintain the privacy of two unnamed people. “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 incredibly smart, and she knows that her explanation won’t be enough for everyone, but in the end, she clearly hopes people will try and understand their decision and enjoy the film anyway. “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.”
Need more Harry Potter? Check out Fuse's Back of the Class podcast talk about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child below: