J.K. Rowling has responded to complaints about Johnny Depp's casting in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. When it first became known that Johnny Depp was in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, detractors of the actor were not pleased. That only increased when it was revealed Depp was playing the villainous Gellert Grindelwald and would play a huge role in the franchise moving forward. The anger went beyond merely distaste for the actor's performances, as many were bothered by the casting of Depp following accusations of abuse by his ex-wife Amber Heard.
This controversy reached a new peak when the first cast photo of Depp in The Crimes of Grindelwald was released, with many fans claiming they will boycott the film unless Depp is recast. The move seems possible, bringing to mind how Kevin Spacey was removed from All the Money in the World last month. Longtime Harry Potter director - as well as Fantastic Beasts series helmer - David Yates has defended Depp's casting and seemed to discredit Heard. In all of the turmoil, many have been waiting to hear something from Rowling, who is writing the Fantastic Beasts movies herself and is an outspoken voice when it comes to abuses of power on Twitter. Now, we finally have the author's thoughts on the matter.
J.K. Rowling has finally weighed in on the Johnny Depp casting controversy for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, posting on her blog about the whole event. She starts by recapping the incident and expressing her initial concern, before launching into a vague sort of reasoning for why she doesn't have an issue with the casting:
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.
The entire response is remarkably short, considering the breadth of the controversy and how vocal Rowling usually is (mostly on her Twitter feed) when it comes to social issues. For Rowling and the rest of the crew, it seems they feel as though their conscience is clean. Rowling's response is certainly more eloquent than Yates' tirade, but it's unlikely to appease detractors.
Mere moments after Rowling posted the response, her site went down due to traffic. The Twitter thread following her tweet about the post shows that most fans find her reasoning to be flawed and the response to be ineffectual. There are those who agree with Rowling, of course, and many others who seem unaware of what the controversy even is. Still, the majority of the replies seem to be from Rowling and Harry Potter die-hards who are firmly against seeing the film with Depp attached.
Rowling's reply also comes on the heels of yesterday's announcement that the #MeToo movement and those who have come forward about sexual harassment in Hollywood and beyond have been collectively named Time's Person of the Year. While Rowling undoubtedly hoped to put out the fire surrounding Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, her response will likely only fan the flames.
Source: J.K. Rowling
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald/Fantastic Beasts 2 (2018) release date: Nov 16, 2018