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Johnny Depp addresses the controversy over his Fantastic Beasts role

Johnny Depp's role of Gellert Grindelwald in FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM was brief, but as the remaining films in the spin-off franchise would bring Grindelwald into the spotlight, there was an outcry from fans who wanted the role recast as Depp had been accused of physical and emotional abuse by his ex-wife Amber Heard. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling defended Johnny Depp's continued involvement in the franchise, saying that based on their 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."

While speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Depp spoke about the controversy over his casting for the first time.

I’ll be honest with you, I felt bad for J.K. having to field all these various feelings from people out there. I felt bad that she had to take that. But ultimately, there is real controversy. The fact remains I was falsely accused, which is why I’m suing the Sun newspaper for defamation for repeating false accusations. J.K. has seen the evidence and therefore knows I was falsely accused, and that’s why she has publicly supported me. She doesn’t take things lightly. She would not stand up if she didn’t know the truth. So that’s really it.

Johnny Depp added that he wants fans to know of his intense loyalty to the Wizarding World. "It’s a major responsibility, being handed the keys to this car. My intense loyalty is to not just J.K. and David Yates but to the people who go and see the films as well, the people who have invested their lives into this magnificent, incredible world J.K. has created," Depp said. "I went full tilt and headfirst into the character knowing the responsibility that I had. It’s good to take the audience on a ride they’re not necessarily expecting, yet with great respect to the world they’ve come to understand and know. The Potter fans are like scholars of this stuff which I find incredibly impressive. They know that world inside and out. I hope to give them something they haven’t seen before."

The actor also said that J.K. Rowling and director David Yates gave him a degree of freedom in regards to Grindelwald's physical appearance as well as stepping outside the script at times.

Sometimes things arrive and for me in the moment and its always important to pay attention to whatever that is, when you have a certain instinct about something. I always follow it. She and David were great in terms of allowing me to step outside of the screenplay and dialogue as written and travel a bit more and try things. Something happening by chance. To me, that’s always the most satisfying — mistakes or accidents.

FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD will hit theaters on November 16, 2018.

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