Daniel Radcliffe has addressed the controversy surrounding Johnny Depp‘s casting in the Fantastic Beasts series.
Depp returns as the titular character in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald after a brief appearance in the first Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.
The actor’s casting, though defended by JK Rowling and director David Yates, has caused outrage from some Potter fans due to the allegations of physical abuse against Depp from his ex-wife Amber Heard.
Amber was granted a restraining order against Depp after she filed for divorce, with the actress accusing the actor of domestic violence. Images of Heard with bruises on her face were acquired by People magazine. Depp denied the allegations, and the ex-spouses later came to a settlement, with Amber donating the money she received to charity.
Daniel – who played Harry Potter in all eight films of the magical franchise – was asked about the controversy by Entertainment Weekly, with the actor saying ‘it’s a very hard thing for me’ as he wanted to support the producers who gave him the job.
The 28-year-old said: ‘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.’
Radcliffe was referring to Jamie Waylett, who played Vincent Crabbe in the franchise, but was replaced in the final two Deathly Hallows films after he was arrested for growing ten marijuana plants in his mum’s home in 2009.
Waylett pleaded guilty to the offense. In 2012, he was jailed for two years for participating in the London riots.
JK Rowling’s response to keeping Depp in the film angered many fans.
The author said: ‘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.’
Meanwhile, director Yates said: ‘‘With Johnny, it seems to me there was one person who took a pop at him and claimed something. I can only tell you about the man I see every day: He’s full of decency and kindness, and that’s all I see. Whatever accusation was out there doesn’t tally with the kind of human being I’ve been working with.’
In 2016, a joint statement from Depp and Heard read: ‘Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love. Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain. There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm. Amber wishes the best for Johnny in the future. Amber will be donating financial proceeds from the divorce to a charity.’
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – also starring Eddie Redmayne and Jude Law – will be released on 16 November.
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