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JK Rowling defends Johnny Depp’s casting in new ‘Fantastic Beasts’ film

Fans had criticised the decision because the actor had been accused of domestic abuse by his former wife in 2016.

Celebrated writer JK Rowling has finally addressed the hotly debated decision to cast Johnny Depp as the titular Grindelwald in upcoming Harry Potter spinoff The Crimes of Grindelwald, amid the actor’s domestic abuse allegations.

“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,” the writer said in a blog post on her website.

The Fantastic Beasts franchise came under fire for Depp’s casting when an announcement regarding the upcoming film was made on Twitter along with a cast photo, in November. Depp was accused of domestic abuse by his former wife Amber Heard in 2016, ultimately leading to the couple getting divorced. However in August 2016, they reached a private settlement and issued a statement saying that there was “never any intent of physical or emotional harm” in their relationship.

Addressing these concerns, the Harry Potter author said that she and the franchise filmmaker David Yates had considered the possibility of revising the cast. Adding that the privacy of Depp and Heard must be respected, she explained that the couple had reached a settlement in private and had “expressed a desire to get on with their lives”.

Rowling wrote: “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.”

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them had a noted cameo by Depp, where he played the notorious dark wizard Grindelwald. The actor will be joining franchise regulars Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol and Ezra Miller for The Crimes of Grindelwald, which is scheduled to be released on November 16, 2018.

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016).
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