The Harry Potter world made its theatrical comeback yesterday when Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hit theaters nationwide. The much-anticipated film saw Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) hunt for several lost magical creatures and eventually find himself wedged into an international wizarding scandal. The clumsy hero went wand-to-wand against several baddies in the film, but one dark wizard stood above the rest. And, now, the producer of Fantastic Beasts is explaining why they chose to cast Johnny Depp for the villainous role.
So, obviously, spoilers ahead!
If you have seen Fantastic Beasts, then you know Johnny Depp doesn’t have much screentime but what he does get is important. Audiences watched as Percival Graves (Colin Farrell) was charmed by Newt Scamander to reveal his true form. The wizard’s visage was being used by Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) to infiltrate the American wizarding community, and he nearly caused a bloody war between magical folk and Muggles – or, rather, No-Majs.
However, the last-minute reveal did not sit well with all fans. Potterheads have been weary of Depp’s inclusion since news broke about his casting, and those fans felt the actor looked to cartoonish in Fantastic Beasts. His bleach-white hair, pale skin, and light eyes reminded moviegoers of his other franchise work with Alice In Wonderland. And, above all, some fans are still hesitant to embrace the actor following his domestic abuse scandal earlier this year.
In a recent interview, producer David Heyman took a moment to address those fans and their concerns when he talked about Depp’s casting. He told Collider, “What we wanted was an iconic actor to play Grindelwald, because Grindelwald is an iconic character who has a significant place in this story. His ability to persuade the hearts and minds, to persuade people to follow him is essential to this story.”
“We were looking for someone who was seductive and could be charming and could be original, who was iconic, who was a great actor; and that’s what Johnny Depp is. He can be irresistible. He’s powerful. He’s created some iconic characters, and not made the obvious choices when doing so. The unpredictability of the choices he makes is part of what makes him so extraordinary and that was very exciting for us. He was the perfect choice for Grindelwald.”
Earlier this week, director David Yates also took time to defend Depp’s casting and asked fans to trust the franchise’s creative team.
“You have to trust us and see what he does in this movie,” said Yates. “You won’t see very much in this movie because he appears in it very fleetingly. He appears much more in the second movie. What you have to remember about Johnny is that extraordinary talent and that talent never goes away. Hollywood is such a fickle place. People go up and go down. He’s a huge Potter fan. He loves the world. He was beyond excited about working on this material. In fact he didn’t even want to see a script, he just said ‘I’m in.’”
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is out in theatre!