The moment Johnny Depp was cast in 2018 sequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2, speculation was rife that the actor had clinched the role of Gellert Grindelwald, a dark, enigmatic wizard who holds a history with one Albus Dumbledore.
Fuelling that fire was confirmation that Dumbledore will indeed have a part to play in Fantastic Beasts 2, after the would-be Hogwarts headmaster falls deeply in love with Grindelwald before he turns out to be evil. If those pieces fall into place, the saga between Dumbledore and Grindelwald could anchor many of the Fantastic Beasts movies going forward – Warner has confirmed a total of five, remember.
Recently, The Leaky Cauldron caught up with director David Yates regarding the casting decision, and the filmmaker outlined his reasoning behind Depp’s addition to the fold:
“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.”
Yates, who directed the final four Potter movies before switching gears to Fantastic Beasts, has been instrumental in bringing the fantastical offshoot to life. Alongside franchise mastermind J.K. Rowling – who makes her screenwriting debut – both will hold a crucial role in the series from here on out, and it’ll be fascinating to learn of what secrets lie in store.
Before getting caught up in all things Fantastic Beasts 2, David Yates will introduce Potterheads to a new era of witchcraft and wizardry when Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens on November 18.