Johnny Depp was technically on-screen for much of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but he didn’t appear until the final 10 minutes.
That’s because his character, dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, was posing as Colin Farrell’s Percival Graves. The Murder on the Orient Express star will have a much bigger role in next year’s Fantastic Beasts sequel, The Crimes of Grindelwald, in case you couldn’t tell by the title. A decade ago, this would have been a cause for a celebration — “Edward Scissorhands in a Harry Potter movie?!” — but things have changed since his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard, accused Depp of being “verbally and physically abusive to me.”
Many Harry Potter fans have wondered why Depp was cast in Fantastic Beasts, considering his alleged history of domestic violence, but author/activist/Donald Trump troll J.K. Rowling stands by the decision. “Harry Potter fans had legitimate questions and concerns about our choice to continue with Johnny Depp in the role,” she wrote on her website. “As [director] David Yates 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.”
The huge, mutually supportive community that has grown up around Harry Potter is one of the greatest joys of my life. For me personally, the inability to speak openly to fans about this issue has been difficult, frustrating and at times painful. 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.
I’ve loved writing the first two screenplays and I can’t wait for fans to see The Crimes of Grindelwald. 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. (Via)
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald opens on November 16, 2018.