Johnny Depp's talent is indisputable.
But, given the allegations lodged against him earlier this year, he also comes with baggage. So, when it was revealed that Depp briefly appears in Warner Bros.' Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them—as Gellert Grindelwald, no less—many Harry Potter fans voiced their disapproval.
E! News caught up with the one and only J.K. Rowling at the movie's red carpet premiere in New York Thursday, where she explained why only Depp could play Albus Dumbledore's rival (described in the Harry Potter novels as one of the "most dangerous dark wizards of all time").
"I didn't approach him—although he was approached with my full blessing, because I thought he'd be amazing in the part. I can't say much, because there are surprises in the movie, but I'm really happy with his performance," the screenwriter teased. "And I think the fans will be, too."
Speaking of Dumbledore, Rowling revealed she has an actor in mind for the sequel.
"I have, of course, thought about this. I do have a name. I do have someone in mind, but I can't say it. Because if that person doesn't get cast, then the person who does get cast will blame me forever for having said it, won't they?" Rowling told E! News. "So, I'm going to just keep quiet."
"If it is that person," she added, "then you will know about it."
In the meantime, fans should keep an eye out for Depp in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, in theaters Nov. 18. The film's director, David Yates, defended the actor's involvement in an interview with Screen Rant published Wednesday. "The whole principal of casting the movie was, 'Go for the best actor. Go for the most inspired, interesting, right fit for that character.' As we started to approach Grindelwald, we thought, 'Who's going to take this in an interesting direction?'" the filmmaker explained. "In this business—it's a weird old business—you're a star one week, people are saying odd things the next, but no one takes away your pure talent."
"Johnny Depp is a real artist and he's created several characters who have really resonated in our popular culture,'" Yates added. "He's a really brilliant, brilliant actor, and we were excited about seeing what he would do with this kind of character. He's fearless. He's imaginative. He's ambitious. We thought he'd do something fun and special. So, we went for him purely on that selfish basis. We don't care if he's famous or not famous—we just know he's interesting."
Producer David Heyman was in total agreement, telling Screen Rant, "Grindelwald is an iconic character, so I think it was important to have someone who [has] that weight and there's a reason why he has that weight. It's because he's a fine actor who makes unexpected choices."
"We have an amazing cast, and they have amazing chemistry together," Rowling told E! News. "Potter sets were always very happy places, and this is another. It's just a very nice place to be."