JK Rowling is defending the choice to cast Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts.


Depp was accused of domestic violence by his ex-wife Amber Heard during their divorce proceedings, but Heard withdrew the charges last year after the pair settled out of court. Depp played villain Gellert Grinedlwald in Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The actor was cast again in the 2018 sequel, and fans of the series were unhappy with the choice to bring Depp back.

Rowling, however, stands by the decision to continue with Depp. She explained that she and director David Yates considered recasting, but stuck with Depp in the end. “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,” Rowling said in a statement on her website. “Harry Potter fans had legitimate questions and concerns about our choice to continue with Johnny Depp in the role. 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 is an outspoken liberal and proponent of equality and feminism, so many fans were disappointed in her decision to stick with an accused domestic aggressor. Many took to Twitter, where Rowling has been very interactive with her fans, to air their grievances.


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Heard also got involved in the mix with a tweet of her own. “For the record, this was our FULL joint statement. To pick&choose certain lines & quote them out of context, is not right. Women, stay strong,” she said with the attached statement: “Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love. Neither party has made false accusations for financial gains. There was never an intent of physical or emotional harm. Amber wishes the best for Johnny in the future. Amber will be donating financial proceeds from the divorce to a charity.”

It appears Heard is on the side of those who oppose Depp’s casting, or at least oppose those who dismiss her claims of domestic abuse, simply because she settled out of court.

Yates added in a statement released by Warner Bros., “None of us involved in Fantastic Beasts would ever let our appreciation of talent obscure other, far more important considerations. We recognized 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.”

And lastly, Warner Bros. released their own 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,'” they explained. “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.”

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is set to be released in Nov. 2018, and is part 2 in a five-part series.

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