Though it must have seemed like a win-win move for Warner Bros. when they cast box office magnet Johnny Depp as the villainous Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts films, the actor’s role in the Harry Potter spinoffs has been forever mired in controversy as many Potterheads believe that the franchise shouldn’t be supporting him due to the allegations of domestic abuse leveled at Depp by his ex-wife Amber Heard.
Now, after months of silence on the topic, the actor has finally opened up about the uproar surrounding his casting in Fantastic Beasts while speaking to EW. Depp explained that he “felt bad” for creator J.K. Rowling for bearing the brunt of the controversy, as many have not taken kindly to her support of him.
“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.”
In a statement released on Twitter last December, Rowling admitted that she once had “legitimate questions and concerns” about Depp’s involvement but that she and director David Yates ultimately decided to continue on with him in the role. Rowling never went into detail about what had convinced her to support Depp, but the actor himself spilled the beans to EW, claiming that he’d shown Rowling evidence proving that he was falsely accused by Heard.
“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.”
Depp’s evidence hasn’t been made public yet, but it’s expected to be next month when the actor’s lawsuit against The Sun reaches court. Heard’s legal team, meanwhile, is refuting the claims.
After cameoing at the end of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Johnny Depp will make his full debut as Grindelwald in the movie that bears the character’s name, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, in cinemas from November 16th.