Johnny Depp defends JK Rowling's casting of him in Fantastic Beasts sequel

Actor tells Entertainment Weekly, ‘I feel bad for JK having to field all these various feelings from people’

Johnny Depp has defended JK Rowling’s comments about his casting as the title character in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the second film in the successor franchise to the eight-film Harry Potter series.

Rowling had justified Depp’s inclusion in the film following allegations of physical abuse made by Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard. Rowling issued a statement in December 2017 saying: “The film-makers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting, but [are] genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies.”

In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly to promote the film, Depp said: “I’ll be honest … I felt bad for JK having to field all these various feelings from people out there … But ultimately, there is real controversy. The fact remains I was falsely accused … JK has seen the evidence and therefore knows I was falsely accused, and that’s why she has publicly supported me.”

He also repeated his intention to sue the Sun newspaper for defamation in a story about the film.

In a statement to Entertainment Weekly, Heard’s lawyer said: “As the parties agreed in their divorce to resolve future disputes in confidential arbitration, that is the appropriate forum to address Mr Depp’s public denials that he abused Ms Heard.”

Depp and Heard married in 2015, and Heard filed for divorce in 2016, obtaining a temporary restraining order alleging Depp had been “verbally and physically abusive” towards her. The divorce was finalised in January 2017, and the restraining order was lifted.

Terms of the divorce included that “neither actor would receive spousal support, and a confidentiality provision called for them to refrain from discussing their relationship in interviews or on social media”.

This is the second time in recent weeks that Depp has used promotional interviews to deny allegations of abuse. In a GQ article published on 2 October, Depp said there was “no truth to [the accusations] whatsoever”. Heard’s lawyers responded that: “his statements are entirely untrue. Mr Depp has blatantly disregarded the parties’ confidentiality agreement.”


Andrew Pulver

The GuardianTramp

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