JK Rowling defends Johnny Depp casting

Sam Ashurst

Johnny Depp‘s private life continues to cloud the Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them franchise, with a significant number of fans taking to social media to complain about the actor’s titular role in the sequel, The Crimes Of Grindlewald after the first official image was released.

Director David Yates stepped into defend the actor, but, until now, JK Rowling has stayed quiet on the matter – not responding to tweets asking for her thoughts.

That changed today, with the author taking to twitter to link to a statement on her website.

The statement runs as follows:

“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.

“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.

“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.”

Whether this will be enough to satisfy Depp’s critics, we’ll have to wait and see. Initial responses to Rowling’s statement are mixed.

The character, played by Colin Farrell in the first movie, is a shapeshifter, so anything’s possible in terms of the future of the franchise. Until then, Johnny Depp will continue to be a talking point.

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