Johnny Depp's casting in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has been a subject of major controversy, despite the filmmakers defending the decision to keep him in the upcoming sequel. Daniel Radcliffe, star of the Harry Potter franchise, has finally weighed in on how he feels about the fact that Depp is in the movie. Radcliffe started out by saying, "It's a very hard thing for me," while acknowledging that the producers of the franchise "gave me a great start in life and an amazing job."
The subject of Johnny Depp playing Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts 2, officially titled Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, has been an issue, given his alleged abuse of his former wife, Amber Heard. Daniel Radcliffe says he understands the frustration many have with Johnny Depp being involved in the franchise and notes that, while filming the Harry Potter movies, actor Jamie Waylett was fired from the Deathly Hallows adaptations for growing weed plants. Here's what he had to say about it.
"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."
As one would imagine, the Harry Potter franchise is important to Daniel Radcliffe and this is a touchy subject, even though he isn't directly involved in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movies. J.K. Rowling, who wrote the Harry Potter novels and has written both of the Fantastic Beasts movies, recently addressed Johnny Depp's casting, saying that she's not only comfortable with the casting, but that they're happy to have him on board.
"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."
It's unclear if keeping Johnny Depp on board will ultimately hurt the box office potential for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. The movie is set to be released on November 16. A November release worked out quite well for the first Fantastic Beasts, so we'll have to wait and see how this all shakes out. Entertainment Weekly notes that Warner Bros. has also addressed the issue saying they "take seriously the complexity of the issues involved," but still support Depp in this and future Fantastic Beasts movies.