Two years ago, there was some Harry Potter-adjacent casting news that made people almost flip their shit as hard as they did when they cast a black Hermione in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Except this uproar was just a bit more justified. It involved Johnny Depp, the Fantastic Beasts series, and the ongoing abuse allegations. Johnny is finally talking about that time.
In 2016, Johnny appeared at the end of the Harry Potter spin-off film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them as the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald. A few months earlier, Johnny was accused of getting violent with his then-wife Amber Heard. Fantastic Beasts was scheduled to have a sequel titled Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Naturally, some people (including Amber) had a problem with Johnny’s casting. Both the film’s director David Yates and J.K. Rowling (who wrote the screenplay) came to Johnny’s defense regarding the casting of Grindelwald.
Entertainment Weekly spoke to Johnny about the movie, which comes out next month, and asked him about the controversy surrounding his appearance in the film. Not surprisingly, Johnny is very thankful that J.K. Rowling came out publicly as a fan of Team Johnny.
When J.K. Rowling jumped to Johnny’s defense, she said he’d already been cast before any of the stories came out, and that she and David Yates were “deeply concerned” about moving forward with Johnny in the sequel. But based on their understanding of the “circumstances,” they were more than happy to continue with Johnny in the role and wouldn’t be recasting.
EW asked Johnny what it was like to receive so much support from J.K. and David Yates, and what he might say to any fans that are still on the fence about his appearance in the film. Johnny feels bad that J.K. got dragged into it, and once again defended himself against the violence allegations.
“I’ll be honest with you, I felt bad for J.K. having to field all these various feelings from people out there. I felt bad that she had to take that. But ultimately, there is real controversy. The fact remains I was falsely accused, which is why I’m suing The Sun newspaper for defamation for repeating false accusations. J.K. has seen the evidence and therefore knows I was falsely accused, and that’s why she has publicly supported me. She doesn’t take things lightly. She would not stand up if she didn’t know the truth. So that’s really it.”
As for the fans, Johnny says he threw himself into the role, and took the lore of Harry Potter very seriously, and that he had an intense loyalty and responsibility to J.K. and David Yates to do it right. Okay, but just how committed to the role was he? I won’t believe it until it’s revealed that Johnny traded in his trusty earpiece for an enchanted snail from the wizarding world that sat on his shoulder fed him his lines.