Daniel Radcliffe Responds to Backlash Over Johnny Depp’s ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Casting

Daniel Radcliffe is opening up for the first time about his thoughts on the controversy surrounding Johnny Depp’s role in “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.”

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the “Harry Potter” star addressed the criticism writer J.K. Rowling, director David Yates, and studio Warner Bros. have faced in keeping Depp as the titular villain in “Fantastic Beasts,” a “Potter” spinoff. Depp was accused of abuse by his ex-wife Amber Heard in their 2016 divorce papers.

“It’s a very hard thing for me,” Radcliffe said of the controversy, and added that the “Fantastic Beasts” producers are the ones who “gave me a great start in life and an amazing job.”

“I can see why people are frustrated with the response that they were given from that … I’m not saying anything that anybody hasn’t already said — and this is a weird analogy to draw — [but] in the NFL, there are lots of players arrested for smoking weed and there is other people’s behavior that goes way beyond that and it’s tolerated because they’re very famous players,” he added. “I suppose the thing I was struck by was, we did have a guy who was reprimanded for weed on the [original ‘Potter’] film, essentially, so obviously what Johnny has been accused of is much greater than that.”

Jamie Waylett, who played Hogwarts bully Vincent Crabbe, was dropped from the final “Harry Potter” film, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2,” after he was arrested for growing marijuana plants in 2009.

Warner Bros., Yates, and Rowling have defended Depp’s casting, with the author saying in a statement, “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.”

Heard accused Depp of emotional and physical abuse during their year-long marriage, alleging he was often under the influence, and was granted a temporary restraining order.

“The Crimes of Grindelwald” is set to be released Nov. 16.

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