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J.K. Rowling Weighs in on Fantastic Beasts Casting, Stands by Johnny Depp

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J.K. Rowling Weighs in on <i>Fantastic Beasts</i> Casting, Stands by Johnny Depp

Amid all the ongoing harassment allegations coming to light in Hollywood, countless men have been plucked from their positions of power and relegated to the ever-growing list of human scum whose reputations are tarnished for life. Johnny Depp, however, is not among those men, although he’s been accused of emotional and physical abuse by his former wife Amber Heard. He still maintains a major role as Gellert Grindelwald in the forthcoming film Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

Director David Yates previously defended the casting of Depp for the movie, saying that allegations from a single accuser was not reason enough to remove the actor, as Yates has witnessed “kind” behavior from Depp on set when filming. “Whatever accusation was out there doesn’t tally with the kind of human being I’ve been working with,” Yates told EW on the matter.

J.K. Rowling  seems to agree. She finally broke her silence on the controversy, sharing a statement on her official website explaining that although she and Yates considered recasting Depp’s role, they are choosing to respect the privacy of those involved in the alleged abuse, saying, “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 also notes that she understands that not everyone will be happy with the decision: “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.”

Warner Bros. also weighed in: “We are of course aware of reports that surfaced around the end of Johnny Depp’s marriage, and take seriously the complexity of the issues involved. This matter has been jointly addressed by both parties, in a statement in which they said ‘there was never any intent of physical or emotional harm.’ Based on the circumstances and the information available to us, we, along with the filmmakers, continue to support the decision to proceed with Johnny Depp in the role of Grindelwald in this and future films.”

The Crimes of Grindelwald comes out Nov. 16, 2018. Read Rowling’s full statement below.

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.

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