Update (12pm, 8th December): Amber Heard has responded to J.K. Rowling after she defended the decision to cast her ex-husband Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts. In a statement on Twitter, Heard appeared to hit out at Rowling.
She shared the full joint statement issued after the couple's August 2016 divorce and said it's "not right" for anyone to take lines from the statement "out of context". "Women, stay strong," she added.
The couple's full joint statement from last year read: "Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love. Neither party has made false accusations for financial gains. There was never an 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."
Original story (7th December): Johnny Depp's casting in the Fantastic Beasts series has raised some eyebrows, but don't expect to see the actor replaced in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
Fantastic Beasts director David Yates recently defended Johnny Depp's casting in the movie franchise, and now J.K. Rowling is defending Depp's role as Grindelwald, too. In a statement shared on her personal website Thursday, Rowling explained why she's "genuinely happy" Depp is playing Grindelwald.
"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," Rowling wrote in the statement. "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."
Rowling went on to explain that "based on our understanding of the circumstances," she and Yates decided to move forward with Depp's role in the Fantastic Beasts series.
"The huge, mutually supportive community that has grown up around Harry Potter is one of the greatest joys of my life. For me personally, the inability to speak openly to fans about this issue has been difficult, frustrating and at times painful. However, 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," Rowling wrote. "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."
"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," Yates said to Entertainment Weekly. "With Johnny, it seems to me there was one person who took a pop at him and claimed something. 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. Whatever accusation was out there doesn't tally with the kind of human being I've been working with."
In a statement provided to media outlets, Yates and producer David Heyman addressed the controversy.
"None of us involved in Fantastic Beasts would ever let our appreciation of talent obscure other, far more important considerations," the statement reads. "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."
Warner Bros. also provided a statement about the casting.
"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,'" the Warner Bros. statement reads. "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."
Recently, fans had claimed that Rowling allegedly blocked them on Twitter after they tweeted to her about Depp. But it sounds like the decision to keep Depp in the Fantastic Beasts sequel is a done deal.
"I've loved writing the first two screenplays, and I can't wait for fans to see The Crimes of Grindelwald," Rowling wrote in her statement. "I accept that there will be those who are not satisfied with our choice of actor in the title role. However, conscience isn't governable by committee. Within the fictional world and outside it, we all have to do what we believe to be the right thing."