Actor Johnny Depp opens up about his casting controversy surrounding Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald as well as comparisons to Donald Trump.
Depp has faced numerous calls for him to be fired from the upcoming Fantastic Beasts sequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. These calls come in the wake of reports that indicated he physically and emotionally abused his then-wife Amber Heard. Depp has denied those claims and the Los Angeles police investigated the claims and found no evidence. In fact, Depp and Heard actually issued a joint statement stating, “There was never an intent of physical or emotional harm.”
For the record, this was our FULL joint statement.To pick&choose certain lines & quote them out of context, is not right.Women, stay strong. pic.twitter.com/W7Tt6A3ROj
— Amber Heard (@realamberheard) December 8, 2017
Depp has maintained his silence surrounding the ongoing controversy with his casting. However, he broke it in an in-depth interview with Entertainment Weekly, where he discusses his role as Grindelwald, the Harry Potter source material, as well as other issues related to the film. He also discusses potential comparisons of Grindelwald to Trump.
“I don’t see Donald Trump comparisons at all. To me, there’s something almost childlike in [Grindelwald]. His dream is for the wizard world to stand tall and above. It’s a fascistic element, and there’s nothing more dangerous than somebody who is a dreamer with a specific vision that’s very strong and very dangerous and he can make it happen. But no character wakes up and goes, ‘I’m going to do the worst things possible today and be evil as hell.’ I do believe Grindelwald is an oddly likable character.”
Depp also discussed the online controversy about Dumbledore’s sexuality:
“I think it should be left up to the audience to feel it first, and when the time comes … It makes the situation with Dumbledore all the more intense. I think there’s a jealousy with Scamander. He sees Scamander as Dumbledore’s protégé — his boy, in a way. That in itself is enough for Grindelwald to want to take Scamander down in a way that is ferocious and eternal.”
Johnny Depp also discussed the fan backlash and the calls for him to be removed from the film. He also touched on how author J.K. Rowling stood up for Depp as well as the studio.
“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.”
Both screenwriter J.K. Rowling and director David Yates issued statements in support for the actor. Rowling wrote on her official website:
“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.”
Depp made sure to reassure fans that he is committed to the story:
“A couple of things. I feel like the main thing as an actor is your loyalty. It’s my job to enforce the author’s vision and also be true to the director’s vision. And then there’s being true to my vision. It’s a major responsibility, being handed the keys to this car. My intense loyalty is to not just J.K. and David Yates but to the people who go and see the films as well, the people who have invested their lives into this magnificent, incredible world J.K. has created. I went full tilt and headfirst into the character knowing the responsibility that I had. It’s good to take the audience on a ride they’re not necessarily expecting, yet with great respect to the world they’ve come to understand and know. The Potter fans are like scholars of this stuff which I find incredibly impressive. They know that world inside and out. I hope to give them something they haven’t seen before.”
Director David Yates also commented on Johnny’s commitment and his ingenuity:
“An example being when Johnny conducts a barrage of spells in one of the film’s climactic scenes like a conductor guiding an orchestra, except instead of creating music he’s effectively creating fiery mayhem and death.”
What do you think? Should this controversy overshadow Fantastic Beasts? Or should Depp get his day in court?