The creative team behind ‘Fantastic Beasts’ is finally breaking their silence about the decision to keep Johnny Depp on board for the film’s sequel. The casting has created controversy and has many fans of the franchise questioning the decision.
Since the announcement was made earlier this month that Depp would star in the upcoming sequel, there has been backlash against the film on social media. This is due to Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard making domestic violence accusations against the actor two years ago. Depp’s villainous wizard character Gellert Grindelwald was seen very briefly in 2016’s ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,’ but will take a much more crucial role in the next film as its titular character.
‘Harry Potter’ franchise director David Yates is shooting the sequel in London and spoke about Depp’s participation in the film. Yates said:
“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. 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 added that several of Depp’s exes have come forward to publicly defend him, including Vanessa Paradis, Lori Anne Allison, and Winona Ryder, who said Depp was “never abusive at all … I only know him as a really good, loving, caring guy” during their four-year relationship. Yates continued:
“By testament, some of the women in [Depp’s] life have said the same thing — ‘that’s not the human being we know. It’s very different [than cases] where there are multiple accusers over many years that need to be examined and we need to reflect on our industry that allows that to roll on year in and year out. Johnny isn’t in that category in any shape or form. So to me, it doesn’t bear any more analysis. It’s a dead issue.”
‘Harry Potter’ author J.K. Rowling, who is known for aggressively championing progressive social causes, said she’s “delighted” in Depp’s casting but hasn’t directly addressed the controversy.
Heard can currently be seen in another Warner Bros. franchise, playing the Atlantean Lady Mera in ‘Justice League’ and in next year’s ‘Aquaman.’ She accused Depp of being emotionally and physically abusive and exhibiting inebriated behavior during their one-year marriage. She released a video of Depp acting aggressively and a photo of herself with a black eye. Depp called the reports “salacious false stories, gossip, misinformation, and lies.”
Depp is currently appearing in Kenneth Branagh’s remake of ‘Murder on the Orient Express.’ In ‘The Crimes of Grindelwald,’ famed Hogwarts professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) teams with Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to chase Depp’s despicable wizard as he gathers supporters in Paris.
The film opens November 16, 2018.