Daniel Radcliffe comments on Johnny Depp casting controversy in Fantastic Beasts sequel

The Harry Potter star has broken his silence

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 11:  Daniel Radcliffe from TBS's 'Miracle Workers' poses for a portrait during the 2018 Winter TCA Tour at Langham Hotel on January 11, 2018 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Maarten de Boer/Getty Images)

Daniel Radcliffe has spoken out for the first time about the outcry surrounding the casting of Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, saying he sympathises with the fan frustration.

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The announcement that Depp would play the lead character in the sequel to the Harry Potter spin-off came under criticism in light of assault allegations made against the actor by his ex-wife Amber Heard.

While Radcliffe was reluctant to criticise the film’s producers who “gave me a great start in life and an amazing job”, he told Entertainment Weekly: “I can see why people are frustrated with the response that they were given from that,” referring, it seems, to the reaction from JK Rowling, who penned the script for the film, and director David Yates to the outcry. Both came out in defence of the decision to cast Depp.

“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 behaviour that goes way beyond that and it’s tolerated because they’re very famous players,” he said.

“I suppose the thing I was struck by was, we did have a guy who was reprimanded for weed on the [original Harry Potter franchise], essentially, so obviously what Johnny has been accused of is much greater than that.”

He is referring to actor Jamie Waylett, who played Vincent Crabbe in six of the eight Harry Potter films. Waylett was dismissed from the final two parts of the series after he was arrested for marijuana possession in 2009. He was later imprisoned for his role in the 2011 London riots.

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In December, JK Rowling said of the issue: “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.”