UPDATED, 7:07 AM with Heard statement: In response to JK Rowling and Warner Bros backing Johnny Depp, Amber Heard took to Instagram to reiterate her and Depp’s joint statement submitted during their divorce, saying, “For the record, this was our FULL joint statement. To pick and choose certain lines and quote them out of context, is just not right. Women, continue to stand up and stay strong. Love, Amber.”
Here’s that statement again:
strong>PREVIOUS, Thursday AM: In an unusual wrinkle in this ongoing harassment mess that has engulfed Hollywood, Harry Potter creator JK Rowling, and Warner Bros and Fantastic Beasts director David Yates and producer David Heyman have issued statements in support of Johnny Depp, whose character Gellert Grindelwald was introduced in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and takes center stage in the sequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. He is booked for the next several films.
Usually, these statements follow investigative articles baring assault allegations or other misdeeds, and the statements are generally about cutting ties. This one seemed preemptive, and was provoked, apparently, by Rowling feeling she needed to back the star after a fan appealed to her on Twitter to recast the role because of the allegations leveled in Depp’s messy divorce from actress Amber Heard. Rowling reportedly blocked the fan from her Twitter feed.
Rowling seems to be saying in her statement that, much like the characters in her work, the movie business is populated with imperfect people, who don’t necessarily deserve banishment when allegations are raised, even though that would be the PC route. Depp, who has also been in a lawsuit with his former business managers who’ve bared his decadent lifestyle, denied those abuse allegations, by the way. But the whole thing with Heard — who joined the Warner Bros roster of stars and co-stars in the upcoming Aquaman, seemed to die down once they officially split. These voluntary statements of support when no one was really asking for them could kick up a whole recycling of a matter that had been considered done and dusted.
Rowling wrote: “When Johnny Depp was cast as Grindelwald, I thought he’d be wonderful in the role. However, around the time of filming his cameo in the first movie, stories had appeared in the press that deeply concerned me and everyone most closely involved in the franchise.
“Harry Potter fans had legitimate questions and concerns about our choice to continue with Johnny Depp in the role. 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.
“The huge, mutually supportive community that has grown up around Harry Potter is one of the greatest joys of my life. For me personally, the inability to speak openly to fans about this issue has been difficult, frustrating and at times painful. However, the agreements that have been put in place to protect the privacy of two people, both of whom have expressed a desire to get on with their lives, must be respected. Based on our 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.
“I’ve loved writing the first two screenplays and I can’t wait for fans to see ‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’. I accept that there will be those who are not satisfied with our choice of actor in the title role. However, conscience isn’t governable by committee. Within the fictional world and outside it, we all have to do what we believe to be the right thing.”
Warner Bros, on behalf of Yates and Heyman, echoed Rowling’s sentiment, in this statement:
“We are of course aware of reports that surfaced around the end of Johnny Depp’s marriage, and take seriously the complexity of the issues involved.
“This matter has been jointly addressed by both parties, in a statement in which they said “there was never any intent of physical or emotional harm.
Based on the circumstances and the information available to us, we, along with the filmmakers, continue to support the decision to proceed with Johnny Depp in the role of Grindelwald in this and future films.”
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