LONDON: JK Rowling has said she was “delighted” Johnny Depp had been cast in the Harry Potters series prequel ‘Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them’.
The author said Depp had done “incredible things” with his portrayal of dark wizard Grindelwald, and denied accusation of abuse with former wife Amber Heard earlier this year.
Depp appears briefly in Fantastic Beasts but is set for a more prominent role in the planned sequel.
Director David Yates said Depp was an “extraordinary talent” as well as “a huge Potter fan”. He said that Depp filmed his sequence in Fantastic Beasts in January and urged Harry Potter fans to trust the filmmakers about his casting.
“You have to trust us and see what he does in this movie,” Yates said. “You won’t see very much in this movie because he appears in it very fleetingly. He appears much more in the second movie.
“What you have to remember about Johnny is that extraordinary talent and that talent never goes away.
“He’s a huge Potter fan. He loves the world. He was beyond excited about working on this material. In fact he didn’t even want to see a script, he just said ‘I’m in’.”
— Pottermore (@pottermore) November 11, 2016
Fantastic Beasts is itself a prequel to Harry Potter series, and is set 70 years before the event depicted in the first Potter book.
Grindelwald was a good friend of Albus Dumbledore, future headmaster at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but their close relationship breaks down.
Rowling said future Fantastic Beasts films would show Dumbledore “as a younger man… at what I think was the formative period of his life.”
“If you have read the Potter books, you’ll know this period of history threatened to become very dystopian. You were looking at the rise of a very dark force,” said Rowling
“I conceived of this story a few years ago. It was partly informed by what I see as a rise of populism around the world,” she said.
The author admitted she had been “in a kind of a bleak mood” as she prepared to travel to the US in the wake of this week’s presidential election results.
She said that working on the second film’s screenplay during her flight had made her feel “a whole lot better”.
Academy Award Winner Eddie Redmayne plays Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts, a “magizoologist” who travels to New York to continue his studies of magical creatures.
Rowling, who is currently working on a new novel, also revealed she hoped to bring the ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ play to Broadway.
Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is released in cinemas in the UK and USA on November 18.