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Johnny Depp speaks for the first time about involvement in ‘Harry Potter’ series, playing Grindelwald, casting controversy Johnny Depp speaks for the first time about involvement in ‘Harry Potter’ series, playing Grindelwald, casting controversy

Actor Johnny Depp has spoken publicly for the first time about his involvement in the Harry Potter series, playing dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in both Fantastic Beasts and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Chatting to Entertainment Weekly, Depp spoke of his love for the Harry Potter series, bringing the character of Grindelwald to life, and controversies surrounding his casting.

Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald

Were you a Harry Potter fan at all before all this?
I read the books when my kids were smaller and watched the films with them. The books were superb. What J.K. [Rowling] delivered is really a difficult thing to do as a writer — to create a whole new universe and a set of rules. And you pick it up in one fell swoop in the first book and first film. It’s a whole lot of information and I was amazed — you never felt like you were being slathered with exposition or being condescended to. It’s good literature and great writing in its own right.

You’re known for having a hand in creating your characters. We only got to see him briefly in the first film, did you have any say in his initial appearance?
I had an image in my head of the guy. The beauty of J.K. and of Yates is they put trust in me to a degree. J.K. and I had some really nice talks and I had some ideas and she just said, “I can’t wait to see what you do with him.” It was beautifully left as this open gift.

Another controversy surrounded your participation in the film. The director, studio, and Rowling issued statements of support. What was that like for you, and is there anything you’d say to fans on the fence about seeing the film?
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.

Read the full interview over at Entertainment Weekly.

Johnny Depp will reportedly play Gellert Grindelwald in the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ series of ‘Harry Potter’ films Johnny Depp will reportedly play Gellert Grindelwald in the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ series of ‘Harry Potter’ films

Johnny Depp will reportedly join the 'Harry Potter' cast as Gellert Grindelwald

Johnny Depp will reportedly join the ‘Harry Potter’ cast as Gellert Grindelwald

Deadline is reporting that Hollywood actor Johnny Depp will join the cast of the second Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film in a “co-starring role”. Depp reportedly has a “tiny” role in the first Fantastic Beasts film, released later this month, with rampant speculation that he will play dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald.

Depp is of course famous for his engrossing character roles in films such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd and Alice in Wonderland. 

J.K. Rowling announced last month that the Fantastic Beasts series would span a total of five films, and director David Yates confirmed that a plot involving a young Dumbledore and his friendship turned rivalry with dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald will feature heavily.

Grindelwald is of course famous to ‘Potter’ fans for his role in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, where we learned about his childhood relationship with Albus Dumbledore, their desire to find the Deathly Hallows, and their ultimate rivalry. This culminated in Dumbledore’s defeat of the dark wizard in 1945. Grindelwald was played by actor Jamie Campbell Bower in the Deathly Hallows films.

We don’t know yet how heavily a Dumbledore/Grindelwald plot will be woven into the first Fantastic Beasts film, but this poster released by Warner Bros. hints at a connection between Graves, Director of Magical Security at MACUSA (Colin Farrell) and the Deathly Hallows symbol (the wand, stone and cloak).

The report also notes that Yates will return to direct the second installment, and Eddie Redmayne will reprise his role as magizoologist Newt Scamander. The second film is due to hit cinemas in November 2018, and will begin shooting next year.