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J.K. Rowling Stands By Johnny Depp’s Casting In Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Franchise mastermind J.K. Rowling has now released a statement concerning Johnny Depp's involvement in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

J.K. Rowling is the latest to defend Johnny Depp’s involvement in Potter prequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

The screenwriter and all-around franchise mastermind made the headlines late last week after one fan pleaded with her to recast the role of Gellert Grindelwald, dark wizard and chief antagonist of The Crimes of Grindelwald, in light of the abuse allegations leveled against Depp amid his messy divorce from actress Amber Heard (Aquaman). That Twitter spat allegedly resulted in J.K. Rowling blocking the user, which, if nothing else, calls the timing of this statement into question.

Either way, Rowling has officially broken her silence on the controversy, stating:

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.

It’s a statement that Rowling has wanted to make for some time, too, after the scribe noted that it has been “difficult, frustrating and at times painful” to remain silent on such a pressing matter. And though Depp’s multi-picture role in the Fantastic Beasts saga continues to attract controversy, J.K. Rowling sincerely believes that the private matter has been settled.

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.

Rowling concluded:

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.

Warner Bros. also echoed that sentiment, writing:

We are of course aware of reports that surfaced around the end of Johnny Depp’s marriage, and take seriously the complexity of the issues involved. This matter has been jointly addressed by both parties, in a statement in which they said ‘there was never any intent of physical or emotional harm.’

Fantastic Beasts director David Yates previously leapt to the defense of Johnny Depp, too, stating that the accusations “don’t tally with the kind of human being I’ve been working with.”

We’ll be keeping you right up-to-date on The Crimes of Grindelwald as Yates’ Potter prequel inches closer to its late 2018 release date, so be sure to stay tuned.

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Michael Briers