Radcliffe said he understands why many fans of the Harry Potter franchise are upset with how their concerns surrounding Depp’s casting have been addressed.
Daniel Radcliffe, star of all eight Harry Potter films, has decided to weigh in on the casting fiasco surrounding Warner Brothers’ choice to continue with Johnny Depp in the Fantastic Beasts film series.
Calls for Depp to be removed from the series began before the first movie had even come out, when actress Amber Heard, Depp's now ex-wife, took out a restraining order against him in May 2016, saying he was “verbally and physically abusive.”
Heard dropped the case the following August, and the former couple released a statement saying their relationship was “intensely passionate and at times volatile, but was always bound by love.”
The statement did not confirm or deny whether physical abuse took place.
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As the controversy swelled, both Warner Brothers and J.K. Rowling stood by their decision to keep Depp in the new iteration of films based in the Potter universe.
“Harry Potter fans had legitimate questions and concerns about our choice to continue with Johnny Depp in the role,” Rowling said in a statement in response to the backlash in December. “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.”
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Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Radcliffe said that it was “a very hard thing” for him to talk about the controversy because the Potter films “gave me a great start in life and an amazing job.”
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“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 behavior 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 Potter] film,” Radcliffe said, alluding to the fact that Jamie Waylett, the actor who played Vincent Crabbe, was let go from the original films for possession of marijuana back in 2009. “So obviously what Johnny has been accused of is much greater than that.”
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In her statement last month, Rowling said she and the filmmakers were “not only comfortable sticking with our original casting, but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies.”
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is set for release in November.