The Harry Potter cinematic universe has always thrived on big name casting, but it found itself in hot water with its most recent addition. Casting Johnny Depp as evil wizard Gellert Grindlewald in last year's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them seemed like a good move, but it became incredibly controversial when allegations of Depp physically assaulting his then-wife Amber Heard surfaced while the actor was in the process of filming his lone scene in the movie.
The decision to keep Depp's scene intact in the first film was controversial, so when it was revealed that the upcoming sequel places a direct focus on his character, to the point that it includes him in the title (The Crimes of Grindlewald), it's perhaps little surprise that rumblings of boycotting the movie began. Fans have since been asking Harry Potter author and Fantastic Beasts creator JK Rowling to make a statement. Today, she released one on her personal website.
"Fans had legitimate questions and concerns about our choice to continue with Johnny Depp in the role," Rowling's statement says, bringing up how director David Yates previously talked about recasting the role. "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." Rowling accepts that fans may not be happy with Depp's addition to the cast, but also says, "we all have to do what we believe to be the right thing," in both fictional and real worlds.
Rowling's website is unavailable as of this writing, so we're attaching a screenshot of her statement below.
Arriving Nov. 16, 2018, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald is directed by David Yates, with Rowling, David Heyman, Steve Kloves and Lionel Wigram producing. The film also stars Katherine Waterston as Tina, Alison Sudol as Queenie, Dan Fogler as Jacob, Ezra Miller as Credence, Zoë Kravitz as Leta Lestrange and Callum Turner as Theseus Scamander.