Some fans of the “Harry Potter” followup film franchise based on J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them remain unhappy that Johnny Depp has been cast as the films’ Big Bad Gellert Grindelwald, given that Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard has continually alleged she was physically and emotionally abused by him during their brief marriage — allegations Depp has denied.
Late last year, Rowling issued a joint statement declaring that she, Warner Bros. and director David Yates are all standing behind their star. “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 wrote.
Now Depp is finally speaking out about the controversy — insisting in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that the real controversy is that he’s the victim of false accusations.
“I’ll be honest with you, I felt bad for J.K. having to field all these various feelings from people out there. I felt bad that she had to take that,” said Depp, 55. “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.”
In fact, Depp says that he has evidence that disputes Heard’s accusations. “J.K. has seen the evidence and therefore knows I was falsely accused, and that’s why she has publicly supported me,” he adds. “She doesn’t take things lightly. She would not stand up if she didn’t know the truth. So that’s really it.”
Earlier this month, Depp explained to British GQ why he stayed silent about Heard’s allegations for so long.
“So initially, I just kept my mouth shut. I know it was going to stick on me and it would get weirder,” he said. “Keep going, you know? Go nuts. I ain’t going to get into a pissing contest with someone about it. Spit out what you need to spit out, my attorneys will take care of the rest. I never went and spoke about the s**t.”
He added: “I could feel people look at me differently because of the accusations towards you. And then people start putting things in magazines: ‘He’s insane. He needs a sanity test…’ You know, ludicrous stuff. But the only thing that I could do was know what I still know. Ultimately, the truth will come out in all of this and I will be standing on the right side of the roaring rapids. I hope other people will be too.”