Last Thursday started off with some exciting news for fans of the world of ‘Harry Potter.’ The ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ sequel’s title was revealed and so was the first cast photo. The film will officially be called ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.’ Though fans were excited to learn this new information, some among them are bashing the casting of Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald.
For those who haven’t seen the first movie (watch it immediately), the ending revealed Depp as the villainous Grindelwald. As all Potterheads know, he is not only Dumbledore’s nemesis but the great wizard’s former friend whom he was in love with, according to J.K. Rowling. Scandal!
The reveal of Depp as the villain left many loyal fans appalled. However, executive producer David Heyman indicated in a recent interview that the casting was very much intentional. Heyman said:
“Why did we cast him? Because he’s iconic. He’s an iconic actor and we needed an iconic actor to play this part. Johnny’s created two or three iconic people, people who are unforgettable. He makes choices, and that was really, really important.”
Heyman also described Depp as “an absolute pleasure to work with.”
Director David Yates also commented on the choice, saying:
“What you have to remember about Johnny is that extraordinary talent and that talent never goes away. Hollywood is such a fickle place. People go up and go down. He’s a huge Potter fan. He loves the world. He was beyond excited about working on this material. In fact he didn’t even want to see a script, he just said, ‘I’m in’.”
Rowling has also praised Depp’s acting abilities, saying:
“Watching Johnny create a character is really quite remarkable, it’s fascinating. It’s great as a writer to work with people like that.”
Despite the praise from his friends in high places, there has been much controversy surrounding the casting choice stemming from Depp’s divorce from Amber Heard and her allegations of domestic violence against him. Depp denied Heard’s claims of abuse, and in August 2016, they settled their divorce, which also brought Heard’s withdrawal of her domestic violence restraining order petition she filed against Depp.
At the time of their divorce settlement, the former couple released the following statement to TMZ:
“Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love. Neither party has made false accusations for financial gains. There was never an intent of physical or emotional harm. Amber wishes the best for Johnny in the future. Amber will be donating financial proceeds from the divorce to a charity.”
Based on this controversy, many questioned why Depp was cast in the first place. Heyman addressed these questions, saying:
“We cast Johnny because he’s a great actor. The decision was made before any of this [the domestic violence allegations] came down. Here’s the thing: Misogyny, abuse, maltreatment of people is unacceptable — but none of us know what happened in that room. So I think it would be unfair for me to be judge and jury, or for any of us to be judge and jury.”
Whew. That was a lot. Let’s move on to fan reactions! Here’s how some Potterheads really feel about Depp playing Grindelwald. Buckle up.
@FantasticBeasts , as an avid #HarryPotter fan it upsets me that you haven’t recast #JohnnyDepp in light of the abuse accusations against him. It’s hard to support something I love so much with an abuser involved. #FixIt pic.twitter.com/ZHJE3fUm3M
— MYKLFSTR (@MYKLFSTR) November 16, 2017
I remember seeing the Grindelwald reveal in the cinema and wishing another actor was playing him anyway. People are being held accountable in Hollywood for sexual assault (rightly so), but Johnny Depp isn’t being held accountable for other abuse? ♀️ https://t.co/9FPcFNH9FI
— Taneika (@TaneikaReads) November 16, 2017
Like Kevin Spacey being replaced with Christopher Plummer, can we get Johnny Depp CGI’d out of the film?! #notmygrindelwald
— Gabie T (@gabietanj) November 16, 2017
everytime I remember Johnny Depp is part of the Harry Potter world now I feel betrayed #FantasticBeasts
— zabela saw justice league ♀️ (@ameliawpond) November 16, 2017
I’d be more psyched for the Fantastic Beasts sequel if Johnny Depp wasn’t a part of it. I’m still pissed about that and how betrayed I felt watching the first one.
— Danielle Hendrickson (@BluesyThoughts) November 15, 2017
Literally nobody asked for Johnny Depp to be in the new Fantastic Beasts movie please just use Colin Farrel nobody will be mad.
— Austin Greis (@Draco_Mouth_Toy) November 16, 2017
yeah uh I’m not about to pay to see an abuser playing an abuser@jk_rowling it’s incredible that you’ve been so vocal about supporting women and somehow find it acceptable to keep Johnny Depp in your movie. this lets us all down.
— Kirstyn Hippe (@KirstynHippe) November 16, 2017
The Crimes of Grindelwald
Crime #1: Being Johnny Depp pic.twitter.com/02RBE9zpdS
— kaDAMN GIRL (@kadeengriffiths) November 16, 2017
Yikes. Moral of this story? Don’t piss off a Potterhead.
Still, fans have much to be excited about when the sequel hits theaters November 16, 2018!