J.K. Rowling is addressing concerns from fans over Johnny Depp’s casting as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, saying that she’s “genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies.”
In a blog post earlier today, Rowling said that while she understands the concerns of fans, the team behind The Crimes of Grindelwald feels confident in its decision to move forward with Depp.
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.
Rowling’s statement refers to reports from two years ago that Depp abused his then-wife, Amber Heard, and has acted abrasively and inappropriately with co-workers on the sets of other films. The author’s remarks echo what director David Yates said last month in an interview with Entertainment Weekly:
With Johnny, it seems to me there was one person who took a pop at him and claimed something. I can only tell you about the man I see every day: He’s full of decency and kindness, and that’s all I see. Whatever accusation was out there doesn’t tally with the kind of human being I’ve been working with.
Rowling added that she understands that not everyone will agree with the team at Warner Bros. Pictures over the decision, but said that “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,” Rowling wrote.
Some people have said on Twitter that it’s only fitting Depp will play the unconscionable Grindelwald, who is considered to be one of the darkest and most vile wizards in the history of the Harry Potter universe.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It will be released in November 2018.