The recently revealed title of the second edition of the Fantastic Beasts franchise — Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald — has fans rejoicing. The film is scheduled to release on 16 November, 2018 however; the first look of the cast has created a furore over Johnny Depp’s casting as the menacing wizard Gellert Grindelwald. Depp has been receiving severe backlash from fans of the franchise over accusations of verbal and physical abuse by his ex-wife Amber Heard, as reported by the Independent.
The film also features Jude Law as Dumbledore, however the continued inclusion of Johnny Depp has left people disappointed and enraged. There was even a petition that was drawn up which asked for Depp’s removal from the upcoming film. Amidst the entire controversy, the director of the film — David Yates — has come out in support of the actor in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
“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. It’s very different [than cases] where there are multiple accusers over many years that need to be examined and we need to reflect on our industry that allows that to roll on year in and year out. Johnny isn’t in that category in any shape or form. So to me, it doesn’t bear any more analysis. It’s a dead issue. ,” said Yates in his interview as he defended his choice of casting Depp in the sequel.
The Pirates of the Caribbean actor had a brief appearance in Fantastic Beasts, however in the sequel, his character, Grindelwald, plays a much more pivotal role.
Heard and Depp’s divorce was finalised in January and the actors issued a joint statement saying their relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile and there was never any intention of physical or emotional harm.
Since the accusation by Heard, several former partners of Depp have come out in his defense. Winona Ryder who had once been engaged to Depp said, “[He was] never abusive at all. I only know him as a really good, loving, caring guy,” according to a report by the Telegraph.
JK Rowling, the creator and author of the Harry Potter Universe, has also spoken out in favour of Depp’s casting as Grindelwald by calling it delightful. “He’s done incredible things with that character,” said Rowling, according to a report by the Independent.