JK Rowling defends casting of Johnny Depp in 'Fantastic Beasts' sequel

Rowling and the director "considered the possibility of recasting" Depp.

ByABC News
December 7, 2017, 2:54 PM

— -- "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling has issued a statement defending the casting of Johnny Depp in the upcoming film "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald," a sequel to the 2016 film starring Eddie Redmayne.

Depp will play the titular villain Gellert Grindelwald in the upcoming film; he made a cameo as the character in the first "Fantastic Beasts" movie. His casting has been a source of controversy due to the allegations of domestic violence against the actor from his ex-wife, Amber Heard.

Johnny Depp, as Gellert Grindewald, in a scene from "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them."

"When Johnny Depp was cast as Grindelwald, I thought he'd be wonderful in the role," Rowling's statement reads. "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."

As such, Rowling says she and director David Yates "considered the possibility of recasting," but ultimately decided to keep Depp on the film.

"For me personally, the inability to speak openly to fans about this issue has been difficult, frustrating and at times painful," Rowling writes. "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."

J.K. Rowling attends the 70th EE British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) at Royal Albert Hall, Feb. 12, 2017 in London.
Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

"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 continues.

While Rowling adds that she knows that some people "are not satisfied" with the casting, she concludes, "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."

In addition to the "Harry Potter" creator, Warner Bros. added its support to keep Depp.

"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 studio said, according to the Associated Press.

The Crimes of Grindelwald hits theaters November 16, 2018.

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