Harry Potter fan’s response to Johnny Depp’s casting in “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” was less than magical.
Fans of J.K. Rowling and her wizarding world balked when they learned the 53-year-old actor nabbed the role of Gilbert Grindelwald in the five-movie prequel to the “Harry Potter” franchise.
The actor, once a hot commodity in Hollywood, has become a point of controversy in the wake of his contentious split from Amber Heard, but neither Rowling nor “Fantastic Beasts” director David Yates regret casting Depp in the film series.
Depp makes a brief appearance as Grindelwald — a dark revolutionary intent on bringing magical folk into the public arena — in the first film and is slated to have a larger role as the series progresses.
“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,” Yates told Screenrant. “Johnny Depp is a real artist and he’s created several characters who have really resonated in our popular culture. He’s a really, really brilliant actor … he’s fearless, he’s imaginative, he’s ambitious.
“We thought he’d do something fun and special. So we went for him on that selfish basis, we don’t care if he’s famous or not, we just know he’s interesting.”
The backlash surrounding the Oscar-nominated actor’s casting stems from his ex-wife’s claims that he had been abusive over the course of their relationship.
As their marriage crumbled, Heard petitioned for a restraining order against Deppand showed up for hearings with bruises and scratches on her face. A joint settlement was eventually reached, but neither Depp nor Heard have directly addressed the abuse claims since.
Heard received $7 million in the settlement, which she reportedly donated to ACLU and Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.