The casting of Johnny Depp in the Fantastic Beasts series has been plagued by controversy after the actor had abuse allegations made against him by ex-wife Amber Heard during their divorce.
Now, Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe has expressed his disappointment in the casting, revealing he understands where the fans are coming from.
“It's a very hard thing for me. The 'Fantastic Beasts' producers are the ones who gave me a great start in life and an amazing job,” he told Entertainment Weekly.
“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.
“This is a weird analogy to draw - in the NFL, there are lots of players arrested for smoking weed and there is other people's behaviour that goes way beyond that and it's tolerated because they're very famous players.”
He then drew comparison to actor Jamie Waylett who played Vincent Crabbe in the first six Potter films. Jamie was booted from the franchise after he was found growing cannabis in his mum’s home and charged for the possession of drugs.
“I suppose the thing I was struck by was, we did have a guy who was reprimanded for weed on the [original 'Harry Potter'] film, essentially, so obviously what Johnny has been accused of is much greater than that.”
J.K. Rowling and the film’s director David Yates have released statements regarding the decision not to recast, both standing by the fact Heard dropped the allegations in a joint statement with Depp.
“Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love,” the statement read.
“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. There will be no further public statements about this matter.”
Rowling's statement regarding the controvery read:
“When Johnny Depp was cast as Grindelwald, I thought he’d be wonderful in the role. However, around the time of filming his cameo in the first movie, stories had appeared in the press that deeply concerned me and everyone most closely involved in the franchise. Harry Potter fans had legitimate questions and concerns about our choice to continue with Johnny Depp in the role. As David Yates, long-time Potter director, has already said, we naturally considered the possibility of recasting. I understand why some have been confused and angry about why that didn’t happen.
“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.
“I’ve loved writing the first two screenplays and I can’t wait for fans to see The Crimes of Grindelwald.
“I accept that there will be those who are not satisfied with our choice of actor in the title role. However, conscience isn’t governable by committee. Within the fictional world and outside it, we all have to do what we believe to be the right thing.”
Johnny Depp is set to appear as a central character in the second installment of the Fantastic Beasts series, The Crimes of Grindelwald, which will be released in Novemeber.