Last week, it was announced that Johnny Depp will play the role of Gellert Grindelwald in the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise, a spin-off of J.K. Rowling's world-famous Harry Potter series.
Fans of the series immediately took to social media to protest the casting, citing Amber Heard's allegations that Depp domestically abused her as the reason for their anger.
Many turned to Potter author and Fantastic Beasts screenwriter J.K. Rowling – who has in the past been vocal about her support of marginalised groups – for an explanation, but she has remained noticeably silent on the matter.
Until now. Speaking to Metro at the Fantastic Beasts premiere in New York City on Thursday, Rowling expressed her delight regarding Depp's casting.
Rowling discussed the fact that Fantastic Beasts is set during the 1920s, which Harry Potter fans will recognise as an important time in wizarding history.
And when she was asked about the controversy surrounding Depp's casting, Rowling said that she was "delighted" by the news.
Director David Yates previously spoke to Harry Potter fansite the Leaky Cauldron, and echoed Rowling's suggestion that Depp is right for the role.
The whole principal of casting the movie was go with the best actor. Go for the most inspired, interesting, right fit for that character. And as we approached Grindelwald we thought, "Who’s going to take this in an interesting direction?" In this business, it’s a weird old business. You’re brilliant one week, people are saying odd things the next, you go up and down. But no one takes away your pure talent.
Johnny Depp is a real artist. He’s created several characters who have really resonated in our popular culture. He’s a really brilliant, brilliant actor. We were excited about seeing what he would do with this guy, the character. He’s fearless; he’s imaginative; he’s ambitious. We thought he would do something fun and special. So we went for him, purely on that selfish basis. We don’t care if he’s famous or not famous. We just know he’s interesting.