‘Fantastic Beasts 2’ director defends Johnny Depp casting

Depp was previously accused of assaulting ex-wife Amber Heard

Fantastic Beasts 2 director David Yates has defended the casting of Johnny Depp in the eagerly-anticipated sequel.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the second instalment in the Harry Potter spin-off series, is set for release on November 16, 2018. The first film, titled Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, hit cinemas in November 2016 and was a critical and commercial success.

Depp’s villainous character of Gellert Grindelwald was introduced at the end of the first movie and will play a bigger role in the second film. Following the announcement of the sequel, fans expressed their anger at Depp being cast, with some threatening to boycott the movie.

The actor was accused of assaulting ex-wife Amber Heard last year. As the pair battled for divorce in court, Heard alleged that Depp had been physically abusive during their relationship. Depp denied all claims of domestic violence and the pair later settled their divorce and the domestic abuse case.

Now, director Yates has responded to the controversy over Depp’s casting, telling Entertainment Weekly: “Honestly, there’s an issue at the moment where there’s a lot of people being accused of things, they’re being accused by multiple victims, and it’s compelling and frightening. With Johnny, it seems to me there was one person who took a pop at him and claimed something.”

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp

“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,” Yates added. “Whatever accusation was out there doesn’t tally with the kind of human being I’ve been working with.”

Yates continued: “By testament, some of the women in [Depp’s] life have said the same thing — ‘that’s not the human being we know’. It’s very different [than cases] where there are multiple accusers over many years that need to be examined and we need to reflect on our industry that allows that to roll on year in and year out. Johnny isn’t in that category in any shape or form. So to me, it doesn’t bear any more analysis. It’s a dead issue.”

Along with Depp, Crimes of Grindelwald also introduces Jude Law as a young Dumbledore and sees the return of Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, and Ezra Miller.

Zoë Kravitz will also play a bigger role in the second film after starring as Leta Lestrange in the first movie.