In Depth

J.K. Rowling ‘happy’ with Johnny Depp casting in Fantastic Beasts sequel

Harry Potter author faces backlash after defending casting of Depp, who was accused of domestic abuse last year

After much speculation, British author J.K. Rowling has released a statement confirming that US actor Johnny Depp will portray the character of Gellert Grindelwald in next year’s sequel to the Harry Potter spin-off film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

There had been “question marks over the casting after allegations of domestic abuse were filed against Depp”, the Daily Telegraph says.

Depp had already made a cameo as Grindelwald in the first Fantastic Beasts film, but questions over his continued role in the franchise were asked after he was accused of verbal and physical abuse by his wife Amber Heard, who has since filed for divorce and a restraining order.

The two later reached a settlement and released a joint statement, which stated “there was never any intent of physical or emotional harm” in their relationship.

In a statement on her website, Rowling defended the casting.

“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 wrote.

“Harry Potter fans had legitimate questions and concerns about our choice to continue with Johnny Depp in the role. 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.

“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.”

After the statement was released, many fans of the series took to Twitter to criticise the decision.

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