The casting of Johnny Depp as Grindelwald in the next Fantastic Beasts movie has drawn an immense amount of backlash ever since it was announced. Fans have been very critical of the casting, considering that the actor was accused of domestic abuse by his ex-wife, Amber Heard. (He was not arrested and charges were dropped.) Despite the controversy, however, both Fantastic Beasts director David Yates and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling have come out in defense of the casting. Yates called it a “dead issue,” saying, “Whatever accusation was out there doesn’t tally with the kind of human being I’ve been working with.” Meanwhile, Rowling put out a lengthy statement acknowledging the “legitimate questions and concerns” brought up by fans and why people were “confused and angry.” Nevertheless, she concluded, “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 movie.”
On Friday, Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry Potter in the titular franchise, spoke out for the first time about the casting choice. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Radcliffe was much more critical of the decision, noting the discrepancy between the handling of Depp’s casting and that of the actor who played Vincent Crabbe, who was dropped from Deathly Hallows for growing marijuana.
“It’s a very hard thing for me,” the actor began in his interview with EW. He also told the publication that he wanted to be supportive for the film’s producers, who “gave me a great start in life and an amazing job.”
“I can see why people are frustrated with the response that they were given from that,” he added, referring to Depp’s casting. “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.”