Photo: Getty

In November, Warner Bros. re-confirmed its controversial decision to cast Johnny Depp as Grindelwald in the forthcoming film Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, despite his ex-wife Amber Heard accusing the actor of domestic violence in 2016. On Thursday, Harry Potter author and Fantastic Beasts screenwriter J.K. Rowling responded to outrage over the Depp casting in a statement posted to her personal website.

The statement is basically this: that after careful consideration of a complex matter, she and the other filmmakers are joyous to be working with Depp. And this is the long sell:

“When Johnny Depp was cast as Grindelwald, I thought he’d be wonderful in the role. 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.

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.

The huge, mutually supportive community that has grown up around Harry Potter is one of the greatest joys of my life. For me personally, the inability to speak openly to fans about this issue has been difficult, frustrating and at times painful. 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. 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.

I’ve loved writing the first two screenplays and I can’t wait for fans to see ‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’. I accept that there will be those who are not satisfied with our choice of actor in the title role. However, 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.”

Rowling’s response is at least far more polished and decent than what Fantastic Beasts director David Yates had to say about the blowback last week:

“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.”

I feel it’s often the case that when someone begins an argument with the word “honestly,” some major self-deception is in store.

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[EW]


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I hear the brain hasn’t developed all the capacity necessary to stop learning and start regretting stuff until the age of 25.


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