The casting of Johnny Depp in the upcoming Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald has attracted criticism thanks to the actor’s alleged history of domestic abuse against former wife Amber Heard. Various key figures involved in the film have made statements on the matter, including author and screenwriter J.K. Rowling, and now original Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe has chucked in his two cents.
The question of Depp’s casting and the resulting uproar came up in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, and Radcliffe seemed slightly perplexed at how to answer it. After noting that the producers of the Potter films gave him “a great start in life and an amazing job”, he launched into a fairly convoluted answer involving weed, the NFL and … yeah. Here’s what he had to say:
“I can see why people are frustrated with the response that they were given from that … 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. I suppose the thing I was struck by was, we did have a guy who was reprimanded for weed on the [original Potter] film, essentially, so obviously what Johnny has been accused of is much greater than that.”
Wild. Radcliffe was referring to Jamie Waylett, the young actor who played bully Vincent Crabbe in six Harry Potter films, but was dropped from the final, two-part Deathly Hallows after he was arrested for growing marijuana plants in his mother’s home.
Some fans of the series have argued that it was hypocritical of the producers to come down hard on a small-time actor like Waylett while seemingly giving Johnny Depp a free pass, so it seems Daniel Radcliffe was making reference to this as diplomatically as he could.
Addressing the controversy herself, J.K. Rowling said:
“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.”
Late last year, however, Amber Heard hit out at the producers of Fantastic Beasts for quoting her out of context in an attempt to justify the casting of her ex-husband. In an Instagram post, she said:
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald is due for release in November.