Last week, the team behind the upcoming film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them announced Johnny Depp will play the role of Gellert Grindelwald, the early 20th century dark wizard. He would be starring in the second film in the series. Originally a novel, the Fantastic Beasts films are a collective prequel to the wizarding world J.K. Rowling created for her Harry Potter series.
Recently, Rowling fans took to social media to express their outrage over the casting choice. They were displeased that Depp was even considered for the part, due to Depp’s alleged domestic abuse of ex-wife Amber Heard. Fans so desperately wanted Rowling to weigh in on the Depp casting choice.
And her opinion was not one the fans were expecting from the author. “I’m delighted,” Rowling says regarding Depp’s casting. “He’s done incredible things with that character.” Watch her full statement in the video below:
The Leaky Cauldron Harry Potter fansite, published an explanation from Fantastic Beasts director, David Yates, about why the team chose Depp to play Gindelwald. Yates said:
“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.”
Yates applauded Depp’s abilities to create unique characters that stick in pop culture. He said, “He’s fearless; he’s imaginative; he’s ambitious. We thought he would do something fun and special.”
Regarding Depp’s character choices, Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts producer, David Heyman, agrees with Yates. Heyman spoke to People Magazine about Depp at the Thursday night premiere. “Why did we cast him? Because he’s iconic. He’s an iconic actor and we needed an iconic actor to play this part,” Heyman said.
And Rowling feels the same way. She told People, “Watching Johnny create a character is really quite remarkable, it’s fascinating. It’s great as a writer to work with people like that.”
So it looks like Johnny is here to stay, and if fans wish to fully enjoy and immerse themselves the series of five Fantastic Beasts films, they might have to look past Depp’s recent history. When asked about Depp’s abuse allegations, Heyman said, “Here’s the thing: Misogyny, abuse, maltreatment of people is unacceptable — but none of us know what happened in that room. So I think it would be unfair for me to be judge and jury, or for any of us to be judge and jury.”
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them arrives in theaters on November 18th.
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