(LONDON) — Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has issued a statement defending the casting of Johnny Depp in the upcoming film Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, a sequel to the 2016 film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Depp will play the titular villain Gellert Grindelwald in the upcoming film — he made a cameo as the character in the first Fantastic Beasts movie. His casting has been a source of controversy due to the allegations of domestic violence against the actor from his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard.
“When Johnny Depp was cast as Grindelwald, I thought he’d be wonderful in the role,” Rowling’s statement reads. “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.”
As such, Rowling says she and director David Yates, “considered the possibility of recasting,” but ultimately decided to keep Depp on the film.
“For me personally, the inability to speak openly to fans about this issue has been difficult, frustrating and at times painful,” Rowling writes. “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,” she continues.
While Rowling adds that she knows that some people “are not satisfied” with the casting, she concludes, “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.”
The Crimes of Grindelwald hits theaters November 16, 2018.