Fantastic Beasts Director Explains Why He Isn’t Firing Johnny Depp

When Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hit theaters, the introduction of Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald came shortly after allegations of domestic abuse against the actor by his now-ex-wife Amber Heard. With the focus on the next movie in the Harry Potter series centering on Grindelwald, some fans thought Warner Bros. might recast the role, rather than moving forward with Depp.

However, when key art for the Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald was released, Depp featured prominently. Now the movie’s director is speaking out and defending the decision to keep Depp in the role. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, David Yates says, “Honestly there’s an issue at the moment where there’s a lot of people being accused of things, they’re being accused by multiple victims, and it’s compelling and frightening. With Johnny, it seems to me there was one person who took a pop at him and claimed something. I can only tell you about the man I see every day: He’s full of decency and kindness, and that’s all I see. Whatever accusation was out there doesn’t tally with the kind of human being I’ve been working with.”

The claims Yates speaks of included verbal and physical abuse Heard alleges the actor put her through. As their divorce proceedings went on, images of injuries Heard claimed she received from Depp were published in People. The two eventually settled their divorce, releasing a joint statement in which they declared “neither party had made false accusations for financial gain.”

Yates considers the matter a “dead issue,” continuing, “By testament, some of the women in [Depp’s] life have said the same thing–that’s not the human being we know. It’s very different [than cases] where there are multiple accusers over many years that need to be examined and we need to reflect on our industry that allows that to roll on year in and year out. Johnny isn’t in that category in any shape or form. So to me, it doesn’t bear any more analysis.”

While replacing Depp in the movie might have been troublesome, it certainly wouldn’t be impossible. After all, following allegations of sexual misconduct against Kevin Spacey, director Ridley Scott announced he was removing him completely from the film All the Money in the World. Spacey has been replaced by Christopher Plummer, with Scott still hoping to make the movie’s December release.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald will arrive in theaters on November 16, 2018.

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