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.


Lucky baby anteater escapes birds, falls from tree into care of Australian zoo

Updated 21 October 2020

Lucky baby anteater escapes birds, falls from tree into care of Australian zoo

  • The echidna will remain at the Taronga Zoo Wildlife Hospital until it grows spines and can feed itself

SYDNEY: A lucky echidna puggle, or baby spiny anteater, that survived an attack by birds and fell from a tree is taking its first steps as zoo keepers in Australia hand-feed the young mammal.
Members of the public brought the young echidna to the Taronga Zoo in Sydney last month after it fell 4 meters from a tree onto their balcony, somehow escaping becoming supper for the winner of a clash between a raven and a magpie.
“He was lost from his mum and the story is that some people were just sitting on their balcony one nice afternoon and they heard this thud and they looked down and they saw this little guy on the balcony,” said Taronga Zoo Senior Keeper Sarah Male.
“And they’ve looked up into the tree and seen a raven and a magpie there.”
After recovering from scratches and peck marks, the puggle – grey, sharp-nosed and easily held in the palm of one hand – has put on weight and started to develop fur, Male said.
“While the puggle is improving every day, it is still very young and in the wild would still be dependent on mum, so will require ongoing care for the next few months,” she said in an emailed statement.
“I’ve hand-raised lots of animals throughout the years at Taronga but such a young echidna puggle is a new experience.”
The echidna will remain at the Taronga Zoo Wildlife Hospital until it grows spines and can feed itself. The zoo said it hasn’t made plans for the animal beyond that.
Echidnas and platypuses are the only two species belonging to the monotreme order of egg-laying mammals. Their young are known as puggles.