JK Rowling has opened up about casting Johnny Depp in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise for the first time. The decision to keep the Pirates of the Caribbean actor in the series following the allegations of domestic abuse from his ex-wife, Amber Heard, was met with a mixed reaction from fans of the Harry Potter spin-off series. Following director David Yates' comments about keeping Johnny in the film, Jo posted her own statement on her website, which appeared to crash due to the high volume of traffic to the page.
It 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."
She continued: "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."
Her fans had a mixed reaction to her comments, with one replying: "I am confident she has given great thought to this and done what she believes is right," while another added: "Honestly never thought I'd be disappointed in my childhood idol but here we are."