Speaking on the subject for the first time publicly, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has responded to concerns some have about the casting of Johnny Depp as Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series. Depp made headlines over the past year over domestic violence allegations from his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard. In a statement on her website, Rowling said she and other Fantastic Beasts stakeholders were “deeply concerned” by these allegations. They considered re-casting the role, but decided against it, which angered some Harry Potter fans.
“Harry Potter fans had legitimate questions and concerns about our choice to continue with Johnny Depp in the role,” Rowling said. “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.”
Her statement went on to say that the “huge, mutually supportive community that has grown up around Harry Potter is one of the greatest joys of my life.” Rowling added that it was “difficult, frustrating, and at times painful” not to be able to speak openly with fans on this subject, but due to arrangements already in place, she could not. All in all, Rowling said she is happy to see Depp continue as Grindelwald in the franchise going forward, though she acknowledged that some fans will continue to be upset.
“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,” Rowling explained. “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.”
“I’ve loved writing the first two screenplays and I can’t wait for fans to see The Crimes of Grindelwald,” she said. “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.”
The Crimes of Grindelwald opens in theatres in November 2018. After a cameo in the first Fantastic Beats movie, Depp will get more screen time as the evil wizard Grindelwald in the sequel. Jude Law will make his debut as young Albus Dumbledore, while Eddie Redmayne returns in his starring role as the magizoologist Newt Scamander.