Harry Potter director defends Johnny Depp’s expanded Fantastic Beasts role

David Yates said Depp is "full of decency" and claimed accusations levelled at the actor were a "dead issue"

Johnny Depp is Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts 2

Director David Yates has defended Johnny Depp’s expanded role in the Fantastic Beasts film series, saying that past accusations of domestic violence from ex-wife Amber Heard ‘do not tally’ with his experience working with the actor.

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Some fans questioned Depp’s casting in the Harry Potter spin-off franchise in light of accusations made by his ex-wife. During their 2016 divorce proceedings Heard made domestic violence claims against the Pirates of The Caribbean star, claims which Depp denied.

After agreeing a divorce settlement, Heard and Depp issued a joint statement saying, “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.”

Depp will take on an expanded role in the upcoming Fantastic Beasts sequel, playing dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

Director Yates defended Depp’s leading role, telling Entertainment Weekly, “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.

“With Johnny, it seems to me there was one person who took a pop at him and claimed something,” he added. “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.

“By testament, some of the women in [Depp’s] life have said the same thing — ‘that’s not the human being we know,’” Yates said.

(Warner Bros)
Fantastic Beasts 2 cast from left to right: Jude Law, Ezra Miller, Claudia Kim, Zoë Kravitz, Callum Turner, Katherine Waterston, Eddie Redmayne, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol and Johnny Depp (Warner Bros)

He also argued that Depp’s case was different to the various sexual harassment claims publicised in recent weeks because he only had one accuser.

“It’s very different [than cases] where there are multiple accusers over many years that need to be examined and we need to reflect on our industry that allows that to roll on year in and year out. Johnny isn’t in that category in any shape or form. So to me, it doesn’t bear any more analysis. It’s a dead issue.”

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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is due for release on 16th November 2018