Johnny Depp was cast to ‘Fantastic Beasts’ sequel before abuse claims, producer says
Despite fans wanting to have Johnny Depp removed from the new Harry Potter franchise, but the timing for casting him was nothing short of magical
Reports that Johnny Depp had been cast as a nefarious wizard in the “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” – making a cameo before a larger role in the sequel – took a dark turn with backlash allegations the actor abused his then-wife Amber Heard.
But the filmmakers are quick to point out that Depp had been cast as Gellert Grin
But the filmmakers are quick to point out that Depp had been cast as Gellert Grindelwald and filmed his blink-and-you’ll-miss-it turn in the movie opening Friday months before Heard went public with her claims in May.
“We cast Johnny because he’s a great actor,” producer David Heyman told the Daily News. “The decision was made before any of this came down.”
That didn’t stop the angry reaction on social media when the casting news broke – with many fans begging author J.K. Rowling to intervene.
“Thanks @jk_rowling for casting Johnny Depp + giving him the fame needed to help us forget the domestic abuse trial,” tweeted one detractor. “I’m sure he’s grateful.”
Depp, whose reps have denied all the abuse allegations, is in need of an image transfiguration. Fortunately for the scandal scarred actor, he also has a fifth installment of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise approaching harbor next year.
Warner Bros. can’t wave a magic wand and make the controversy go away, but the studio hopes the focus will be on the film’s hocus pocus.
“One of the things I love about Jo’s (J.K. Rowling’s) work is the theme of not judging people,” added Heyman. “And I’m not the judge.”