JK Rowling issues statement over decision to keep Johnny Depp in 'Fantastic Beasts'
Everybody's excited about about the next movie in the Harry Potter spin-off franchise, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald. However, over the past few months, Potterheads have been much more interested in The Crimes of Johnny Depp.
Last year, actress Amber Heard filed for divorce from Johnny Depp, citing irreconcilable differences. The two met on the set of the 2011 film The Rum Diary. In 2015, they got married, but it only lasted 15 months. Their relationship quickly turned tempestuous. Reports emerged that Depp was prone to violent outbursts, and was physically abusive.
After the divorce, Heard, 30, published a picture of her bruised face after an attack. She brought the photo to court, claiming Depp, 52, "smashed his iPhone on her face." Later, more damning photos surfaced, showing redness around her eyes and a busted lip. The judge granted her a domestic abuse restraining order against Depp. In the divorce settlement, Heard was awarded seven million dollars, and donated it to all to charity.
When Hollywood figures like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey were being held accountable for their past abuse, Depp made an appearance on The Graham Norton Show that caused outrage on social media. Fans noticed Depp's eccentric behavior (well, more eccentric than usual) and wondered if he was drunk. Also, they wondered why his history of domestic abuse wasn't hurting this career.
After all, Depp landed a lead role in the first Fantastic Beasts movie, playing the villainous wizard Gellert Grinderwald. This franchise was expected to last five movies. With other actors being dropped from projects due to their disgraceful behavior, why not Depp? Eventually, one fan posed the question to Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling on Twitter.
"So if I understand correctly the actor who played Crabbe, a minor character, was fired from Harry Potter for doing drugs. Yet Johnny Depp, who abused his wife, gets a major role in your movies? Correct me if I’m wrong, @jkrowling"
The following morning, the fan was surprised to find out that Rowling blocked her from Twitter, without even responding. Ouch. That's colder than a Dementor's Kiss.
Don't worry, Lindsay! You can always switch to reading Twilight!
Now J.K. Rowling has finally issued a statement on the issue. She defends casting Depp, and acknowledges the "legitimate questions and concerns." However, based on her "understanding of the circumstances," she's "not only comfortable" but "happy" to have Depp as a major character in the Fantastic Beasts series - and she accepts some fans won't be "satisfied" with that choice.
Here is the statement in full:
"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."
The WB and director David Yates issued similar statements, defending the casting of Depp. What do you think? Should Depp be kicked out of the franchise, or given more Polyjuice Potion to look like Jude Law? And when can we get back to talking about how hot young Dumbledore is?