Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe breaks his silence on Johnny Depp casting controversy
Johnny Depp is facing domestic violence accusations from his former wife
Daniel Radcliffe has spoken out over the casting of Johnny Depp in the Fantastic Beasts sequel.
The issue of Depp's role in the Harry Potter spin-off has sparked controversy because of accusations of domestic violence by the star's ex-wife, Amber Heard, during the couple's acrimonious 2016 divorce.
EW.com asked Radcliffe, who grew up onscreen in as Rowlings' wizard Harry Potter, about the uproar over Depp playing wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the upcoming Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
Radcliffe expressed reluctance wading into the debate.
“It’s a very hard thing for me,” Radcliffe said, noting he wants to be supportive of the film’s producers who “gave me a great start in life and an amazing job.”
But, he added, “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 — 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.”
In Radcliffe's mind, this support was especially troubling in light of the treatment toward Jamie Waylett, who played Hogwarts bully, Vincent Crabbe. After appearing in six Harry Potter films, Waylett was dropped from the film franchise after being arrested for growing 10 marijuana plants in 2009.
This doesn't seem consistent or fair to Radcliffe compared with Depp's treatment.
JK Rowling, who penned the film, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald, director David Yates, and studio Warner Bros have all issued statements defending the casting.
Fantastic Beasts director David Yates and producer David Heyman (who produced the Harry Potter films) put out a statement in November addressing Depp's casting in light of Heard's allegations.
"None of us involved in Fantastic Beasts would ever let our appreciation of talent obscure other, far more important considerations," their statement said. "We recognized the magnitude of the issues raised and understood the strength of feeling expressed. We hoped and strived at all times to be sensitive to both parties.
"We stand by our decision to have Johnny in the films," the statement added.
Rowling penned a statement saying that she was "not only comfortable sticking with our original casting but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies".
Studio Warner Bros. also released a statement, noting, “We are of course aware of reports that surfaced around the end of Johnny Depp’s marriage and take seriously the complexity of the issues involved. This matter has been jointly addressed by both parties, in a statement in which they said ‘there was never any intent of physical or emotional harm.’ Based on the circumstances and the information available to us, we, along with the filmmakers, continue to support the decision to proceed with Johnny Depp in the role of Grindelwald in this and future films.”
Depp’s titular casting in The Crimes of Grindelwald has been a divisive flashpoint issue for the sequel due to his ex-wife Amber Heard’s claim he emotionally and physically abused her during their whirlwind marriage. The couple released a joint statement after their divorce was finalized in 2016.
“Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love. 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,” they said.
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