Warner Bros. Pictures have issued a statement in regards to the casting of Johnny Depp in the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise, doubling down on their commitment to keeping the actor in the role.
Depp played villain Gellert Grindewald briefly in “Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them,” but has a much bigger role in the 2018 sequel “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindewald”.
Last year the 54-year-old Depp made headlines after his former wife Amber Heard alleged Depp physically assaulted her. Depp and Heard settled their divorce and her domestic abuse case against him last year.
At the time the duo said in a joint statement: “Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love.” Even so, “Harry Potter” fans have expressed anger on social media that Depp will star in the ‘Potter’ spin-off franchise. Today Warners said in a statement:
“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.’ Based on the circumstances and the information available to us, we, along with the filmmakers, continue to support the decision to proceed with Johnny Depp in the role of Grindelwald in this and future films.”
The film’s director, David Yates, and producer, David Heyman, added their own statement:
“None of us involved in Fantastic Beasts would ever let our appreciation of talent obscure other, far more important considerations. We recognised the magnitude of the issues raised and understood the strength of feeling expressed. We hoped and strived at all times to be sensitive to both parties. We stand by our decision to have Johnny in the films.”
Author J.K. Rowling says she and Yates considered recasting when the allegations first emerged, but decided not to:
“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.
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…
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.”
Depp has been filming his role in the sequel in recent months, with the movie due out late next year.