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Johnny Depp Speaks Out About ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Casting Controversy: J.K. Rowling ‘Knows I Was Falsely Accused’

Johnny Depp and J.K. RowlingRich Fury/Getty Images; Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

Innocent among wizards? Johnny Depp broke his silence about the controversy surrounding his casting in the Fantastic Beasts franchise.

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“I’ll be honest with you, I felt bad for J.K. [Rowling] having to field all these various feelings from people out there. I felt bad that she had to take that,” the 55-year-old actor told Entertainment Weekly in an interview published on Thursday, October 11. “But ultimately, there is real controversy. The fact remains I was falsely accused, which is why I’m suing The Sun newspaper for defamation for repeating false accusations.”

Depp went on to claim that Rowling took his side after he was accused of abuse by ex-wife Amber Heard. “J.K. has seen the evidence and therefore knows I was falsely accused, and that’s why she has publicly supported me,” he said. “She doesn’t take things lightly. She would not stand up if she didn’t know the truth. So that’s really it.”

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Backlash ensued when the Pirates of the Caribbean star made his first appearance as Gellert Grindelwald in 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. In the Harry Potter spinoff’s sequel, titled Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Depp takes on an even greater role.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

An unnamed costar — cast members include Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Zoë Kravitz and Ezra Miller — filled the magazine in on Depp’s behavior during filming. “I was very curious how this guy was gonna be on set,” one of the actors explained. “It was right in the middle of, you know … I only observed him just being totally sweet and professional.”

For her part, Rowling, 53, threw her support behind Depp in a statement released in December 2017: “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.”

The Edward Scissorhands actor further denied Heard’s verbal and physical abuse allegations — which include the Oscar nominee allegedly throwing an iPhone at his then-wife’s face — in a GQ profile published earlier this month. “Ultimately, the truth will come out in all of this and I will be standing on the right side of the roaring rapids,” Depp told the magazine. “I hope other people will be too.”

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The 32-year-old Aquaman star’s attorney later slammed the article in a statement to Us, which accused Depp of “shamefully continuing his psychological abuse of Ms. Heard, who has attempted to put a very painful part of her life firmly in her past.”

Heard filed for divorce in May 2016 after one year of marriage. The pair’s divorce was finalized in January 2017, at which time Depp agreed to pay the Justice League actress $7 million as a settlement. She vowed to donate the money to charity.

However, the two are still embroiled in a legal battle, with the Alice in Wonderland star claiming that Heard punched him in the face twice in April 2016. The Magic Mike XXL actress’ lawyer has deemed the accusations “totally false.”

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