JK Rowling released a statement a few days ago regarding the casting of Johnny Depp in the movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
‘Harry Potter fans had legitimate questions and concerns about our choice to continue with Johnny Depp in the role,’ she acknowledges.
The issue fans had with Depps’ casting stems from his relationship with his ex-wife, Amber Heard, whom he was alleged to have physically abused.
Rowling also reveals that the team at Warner Bros. considered recasting Depp. However, based on the ‘agreements that have been put in place to protect the privacy of two people’ and an ‘understanding of the circumstances’, the team decided they were ‘comfortable’ and ‘genuinely happy’ to keep Depp on board.
‘Conscience isn’t governable by committee,’ she concludes. ‘Within the fictional world and outside it, we all have to do what we believe to be the right thing.’
Many Harry Potter fans have expressed their outrage over this statement. Some are particularly unhappy Depp is playing a queer character (Grindelwald had an unspecified relationship with Dumbledore, which may be explored in the movies), especially after the domestic abuse allegations against Heard, who is openly bisexual.
This level of outrage could have a major impact on the remainder of the Fantastic Beasts films.
The sequel comes out on 16 November 2018 in the US.