Johnny Depp has broken his silence on controversy surrounding his casting in “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” and its upcoming sequel, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.”
First appearing as a surprise addition in the end of the first “Fantastic Beasts” movie, fans have expressed concern over his role in the films as the villain Grindelwald after he was accused of physical and emotional abuse by ex-wife Amber Heard.
“I’ll be honest with you, I felt bad for J.K. [Rowling] having to field all these various feelings from people out there. I felt bad that she had to take that. But ultimately, there is real controversy,” Depp said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “The fact remains I was falsely accused, which is why I’m suing the Sun newspaper for defamation for repeating false accusations. J.K. has seen the evidence and therefore knows I was falsely accused, and that’s why she has publicly supported me. She doesn’t take things lightly. She would not stand up if she didn’t know the truth. So that’s really it.”
This is the first time Depp has addressed the impact of the accusations on his role in the Rowling films. While Heard’s camp has vehemently insisted that Depp is lying, saying his denials are “shamefully continuing his psychological abuse” toward Heard, Rowling has spoken out on Depp’s behalf.
“’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,” Rowling wrote in a statement on her website.
“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.”
Depp sued the Sun for libel in June, and court proceedings will take place next month.