Following backlash from fans, Fantastic Beasts has defended their choice to cast Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald. Depp has denied allegations of domestic abuse by ex-wife Amber Heard and the two finalised their divorce in January of last year, but questions resurfaced after it was confirmed that Depp would be reprising his role in the sequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Entertainment Weekly decided to ask the boy wizard himself, Daniel Radcliffe, about the casting choice.
"It’s a very hard thing for me," he prefaced, due to the fact that the same people who cast Depp also cast him as Harry Potter, giving him "a great start in life and an amazing job." However, he can "see why people are frustrated."
"I’m not saying anything that anybody hasn’t already said — and this is a weird analogy to draw — [but] in the NFL, there are lots of players arrested for smoking weed and there is other people’s behaviour that goes way beyond that and it’s tolerated because they’re very famous players," he continued. "I suppose the thing I was struck by was, we did have a guy who was reprimanded for weed on the [original Potter] film, essentially, so obviously what Johnny has been accused of is much greater than that."
Radcliffe is referring to Jamie Waylett, who played Vincent Crabbe in the early movies before he was fired after he admitted to growing weed in his family home.
"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."
Director David Yates also defended the choice to Entertainment Weekly, and Warner Bros. previously provided a statement about the casting.
"We are of course aware of reports that surfaced around the end of Johnny Depp's marriage, and take seriously the complexity of the issues involved. This matter has been jointly addressed by both parties, in a statement in which they said 'there was never any intent of physical or emotional harm," it reads statement reads. "Based on the circumstances and the information available to us, we, along with the filmmakers, continue to support the decision to proceed with Johnny Depp in the role of Grindelwald in this and future films."