ENTERTAINMENT

J.K. Rowling Defends Johnny Depp's Role In 'Fantastic Beasts'

The actor is slated to reprise his role as Gellert Grindelwald in the franchise's second film.

12/07/2017 15:01 EST | Updated 12/07/2017 15:39 EST
Neil Hall / Reuters

J.K. Rowling is standing by the decision to keep Johnny Depp on board for the next “Fantastic Beasts” film.

The author has been criticized for allowing Depp to continue in the role as dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald despite his history of alleged abuse, especially as many powerful men in Hollywood and the media have lost their jobs over reports of sexual misconduct. 

Actress Amber Heard, Depp’s ex-wife, last year accused the actor of physically and verbally abusing her throughout their marriage. Heard initially filed for a restraining order, which she later dismissed. The couple reached a settlement in the domestic violence case in August 2016 and finalized their divorce in January.

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. J.K. Rowling

Rowling and others involved with the creation of the “Fantastic Beasts” series were “deeply concerned” by reports of Depp’s alleged abuse and considered recasting the role, Rowling said Thursday a blog post shared on her website. Then she shed some light on why they ultimately decided not to. 

“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,” Rowling wrote. “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,” she added. “Within the fictional world and outside it, we all have to do what we believe to be the right thing.”

David Yates, who is directing “The Crimes of Grindelwald,” has also said that he believes Depp’s case is not the same as those of other alleged abusers.

“Honestly, there’s an issue at the moment where there’s a lot of people being accused of things, they’re being accused by multiple victims, and it’s compelling and frightening,” Yates told Entertainment Weekend in November. “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.”

Read Rowling’s full post on her website

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