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the crimes of grindelwald

JK Rowling has defended Johnny Depp's casting in the Fantastic Beast films

Fans are unhappy with Depp’s involvement due to the assault allegations made against him by his ex-wife Amber Heard.

JK ROWLING HAS responded to fan criticism of the casting of Johnny Depp in the Fantastic Beasts films.

crimes Depp (far right) as Grindelwald Warner Bros Warner Bros

The franchise is a prequel to the original Harry Potter series, and stars Eddie Redmayne as the ‘magizoologist’ Newt Scamander.

At the end of the first film, it was revealed that Colin Farrell’s villain was in fact the dark wizard Grindelwald in disguise – and his real identity is played by Depp.

The twist was met with some amount of backlash, considering only months beforehand the actor was accused of verbal and physical abuse by his then-wife, Amber Heard.

The Danish Girl Premiere - Los Angeles Dave Longendyke / PA Wire Dave Longendyke / PA Wire / PA Wire

He denied all accusations and the couple settled their divorce proceedings, releasing a joint statement saying there was “never an intent of physical or emotional harm”.

Depp’s part was presumably filmed before this was made public, but some fans called for Grindelwald to be recast in the light of Heard’s claims.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Fantastic Beasts director David Yates said it was a “dead issue” and that Heard was just “one person who took a pop” at Depp.

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.

Yates’ statement was labelled a ‘truly gross’ dismissal of the alleged abuse against Heard, and more people began calling for Rowling to break her silence on the matter.

The Cuckoo's Calling Ian West / PA Wire Ian West / PA Wire / PA Wire

In a message posted to her website today, the author echoed Yates’ words. She said she was at first “deeply concerned” by the reports about Depp, but is now “genuinely happy” to have him on board.

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 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 reaction to Rowling’s statement have been one of disappointment, with many fans declaring that they will not be supporting future Fantastic Beasts films featuring Depp.

The next film in the series, The Crimes of Grindelwald, is due for release in November of 2018.

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