Daniel Radcliffe is sharing his thoughts on Johnny Depp's Fantastic Beasts casting.
During 2016's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, viewers saw Depp make an appearance as Gellert Grindelwald. And later this year, Depp is set to reprise his role in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. However, the decision to keep Depp in the movie has sparked controversy after allegations surrounding his marriage to ex Amber Heard made headlines in 2016.
After receiving backlash over keeping Depp in the movie, the film's director David Yates and author and screenplay writer J.K. Rowling have both since defended the casting decision.
Now Harry Potter star Radcliffe is speaking out for the first time about the controversy. "It's a very hard thing for me," Radcliffe tells Entertainment Weekly, adding that he wants to support the movie's producers who "gave me a great start in life and an amazing job."
The 28-year-old actor went on to say, "I can see why people are frustrated with the response that they were given from that … 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 behavior that goes way beyond that and it's tolerated because they're very famous players. 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."
Back in Dec. 2017, Rowling sent a tweet to her followers that read, "I'm saying what I can about the Grindelwald casting issue here." Attached was a link to her website, which she discussed the casting decision.
"When Johnny Depp was cast as Grindelwald, I thought he'd be wonderful in the role. However, around the time of filming his cameo in the first movie, stories had appeared in the press that deeply concerned me and everyone most closely involved in the franchise," Rowling wrote. "Harry Potter fans had legitimate questions and concerns about our choice to continue with Johnny Depp in the role. As David Yates, long-time Potter director, has already said, we naturally considered the possibility of recasting. I understand why some have been confused and angry about why that didn't happen."
She continued, "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."
Rowling ended by saying, "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."
Warner Bros. also released a statement in December. "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,'" a spokesperson shared. "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."
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is set for release on Nov. 16, 2018.