JK Rowling defends Depp casting after fan backlash

British author J. K. Rowling, above, said that she and Fantastic Beasts director David Yates had considered finding another actor for the role after the backlash on social media, but had decided to respect the circumstances of Depp and Heard’s divorce. (AFP)
Updated 08 December 2017

JK Rowling defends Depp casting after fan backlash

LONDON: British author J. K. Rowling has said she is “genuinely happy” with Johnny Depp’s casting in the upcoming “Fantastic Beasts” film after fans called for his replacement over domestic abuse allegations.
The US actor, who plays villain Gellert Grindelwald in the Harry Potter spin-off, had been accused of physical abuse by his former wife Amber Heard during divorce proceedings.
But actress Heard withdrew the allegations last year when the pair reached an out-of-court settlement to end their marriage.
Angry fans had demanded Depp’s lead role be recast in the Warner Bros film “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” to be released in November 2018.
“Harry Potter fans had legitimate questions and concerns about our choice to continue with Johnny Depp in the role,” Rowling said late Thursday in a statement on her website.
The author said she and director David Yates had considered finding another actor for the role after the backlash on social media, but had decided to respect the circumstances of Depp and Heard’s divorce.
“The agreements that have been put in place to protect the privacy of two people, both of whom have expressed a desire to get on with their lives, must be respected,” she said.
“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.”
However, not all of Rowling’s fans accepted the decision, with many expressing their frustration on Twitter, where the writer has 13.6 million followers and often interacts with her fans.
One fan branded the decision “massively disappointing,” while another called it “unacceptable.”
The film is a sequel to “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” also directed by Yates, which was released last year.
Both are part of a five-part series set in the same world as the Harry Potter books and films, but decades earlier.


Donald Trump no fan of ‘Borat’ creator Sacha Baron Cohen

Updated 24 October 2020

Donald Trump no fan of ‘Borat’ creator Sacha Baron Cohen

  • Word of Baron Cohen’s latest outrageous ambushes on unsuspecting participants had spread like wildfire

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE: Donald Trump said Friday he has not been a fan of Sacha Baron Cohen – even before a clip from the British comedian’s new Borat movie forced the US president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani into an awkward explanation.
Asked about the clip – which shows Giuliani in a faked “interview” with an attractive and flirtatious young woman – while speaking to journalists aboard Air Force One, Trump said: “I don’t know what happened.”
“But years ago, you know, he tried to scam me. And I was the only one who said no way. That’s a phony guy. And I don’t find him funny.”
Trump said the incident happened about 15 years ago.
“To me, he was a creep,” Trump said.
The president did not provide further details about that encounter, but in a 2003 interview, Baron Cohen – playing the wannabe gangster Ali G – pitched a business venture to Trump: special gloves for eating ice cream.
Before the new Borat film’s release, word of Baron Cohen’s latest outrageous ambushes on unsuspecting participants had spread like wildfire.
On Wednesday, Giuliani issued an angry denial over the fake interview.
In the film, the encounter appears to leave the 76-year-old former New York mayor in a compromising situation, caught with his hands down his pants in the bedroom.
Giuliani said the scene was “a complete fabrication.”
“I was tucking in my shirt after taking off the recording equipment. At no time before, during, or after the interview was I ever inappropriate,” he tweeted.
“If Sacha Baron Cohen implies otherwise, he is a stone-cold liar.”
The comedian continued to poke fun at Giuliani.
In a video posted on social media, Borat himself leapt to his defense and accused the “fake news media” – a term often used by Trump and his supporters – of turning an “innocent” encounter into “something disgusting.”