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David Yates on why Johnny Depp was selected to play Grindelwald

11.08.2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Johnny Depp Grindelwald

When it was announced that Johnny Depp would be joining the cast of FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM, it wasn't terribly difficult to figure out who he would be playing. Gellert Grindelwald, Dumbledore's former friend who stole the Elder Wand and wreaked havoc across the globe, has been name-dropped several times in trailers and clips from the upcoming FANTASTIC BEASTS and was confirmed to have a larger part to play in future installments of the five-part saga. The role of a conflicted dark wizard seemed to be a natural fit for Depp and director David Yates and producer David Heyman have finally confirmed it in an interview with The Leaky Cauldron, as well as elaborating on why they chose him.

The whole principal of casting the movie was go with the best actor. Go for the most inspired, interesting, right fit for that character. And as we approached Grindelwald we thought, ‘who’s going to take this in an interesting direction?’ In this business, it’s a weird old business. You’re brilliant one week, people are saying odd things the next, you go up and down. But no one takes away your pure talent.

Johnny Depp is a real artist. He’s created several characters who have really resonated in our popular culture. He’s a really brilliant, brilliant actor. We were excited about seeing what he would do with this guy, the character. He’s fearless; he’s imaginative; he’s ambitious. We thought he would do something fun and special. So we went for him, purely on that selfish basis. We don’t care if he’s famous or not famous. We just know he’s interesting.

Heyman added that "Grindelwald is an iconic character, so it was important to have someone who had that weight. There’s a reason why he has that weight. It’s because, you know, he’s a fine actor who makes unexpected choices." Grindelwald will make a very brief appearance in FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM but will feature more heavily in the upcoming sequel, which David Yates confirms will take place primarily in Paris. "We do go back to the U.K. in the second film," said Yates. "It’s U.K. and Paris. I’m not sure where Jo is setting the rest of the movies, but they’ll be European-centric. I think it will be difficult to ignore America, but the next one is predominately Europe." As Grindelwald's character is very closely tied to Dumbledore, it's only natural that the future Hogwarts headmaster will put in an appearance as well. Casting is currently underway to find an actor suitable to play a younger Dumbledore and although Yates wouldn't give any hints as to who they've looking at, he did say that Michael Gambon won't be reprising the role via CGI de-aging.

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM is set to hit theaters on November 18th.

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