Following Amber Heard’s abuse allegations against her ex-husband Depp, some Potter fans were outraged over the decision to cast the actor in the film nevertheless. Others were supportive though, and the film’s writer J.K. Rowling, director David Yates, and studio Warner Bros. all issued statements defending Depp’s casting as wizard Gillert Grindelwald. Still, Radcliffe stayed away from the controversy until now.
“It’s a very hard thing for me,” Radcliffe told Entertainment Weekly, adding that he wanted to be supportive of the film’s producers who “gave me a great start in life and an amazing job.”
He continued, “I can see why people are frustrated with the response that they were given from that … I’m not saying anything that anybody hasn’t already said and this is a weird analogy to draw, [but] in the NFL, there are lots of players arrested for smoking weed and there is other people’s behavior that goes way beyond that and it’s tolerated because they’re very famous players.”
“I suppose the thing I was struck by was, we did have a guy who was reprimanded for weed on the [original Potter] film, essentially, so obviously what Johnny has been accused of is much greater than that,” he continued.
Actor Jamie Waylett, who played Vincent Crabbe in the franchise, was nixed from the two-part adaptation of Deathly Hallows after being arrested for growing 10 marijuana plants in 2009. He had appeared in six Harry Potter films before that. The decision to ax Waylett from the project was one of the reasons that fans were up in arms over Depp’s casting.
Once Heard and Depp’s divorce was finalized and their domestic abuse case was settled, Heard later said in a joint statement with him that “there was never any intent of physical or emotional harm” during their relationship.
The Crimes of Grindelwald will be released Nov. 16.