Dec. 7 (UPI) — J. K. Rowling penned a lengthy statement Thursday addressing the casting of Johnny Depp in upcoming wizarding world sequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
The film, which is set to feature Depp playing the devious Gellert Grindelwald, has come under fire from Harry Potter fans who are unhappy that the actor was accused of abuse by his ex-wife Amber Heard.
“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,” Rowling, creator of the Harry Potter series and screenwriter of the Fantastic Beasts films, said.
“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,” she continued.
“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,” she said.
“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.”
Yates, the director of The Crimes of Grindelwald, previously defended Depp being in the film and called the accusations from Heard a “dead issue.”
“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,” the filmmaker said while also brining up Depp’s ex-partners including Vanessa Paradis, Lori Anne Allison and Winona Ryder who have supported the film star.
Heard accused Depp of abuse while filing for divorce in May 2016. The pair reached a settlement in August of that year with Heard announcing that she will be donating the $7 million settlement to charity.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is set to arrive in theaters on Nov. 16, 2018.