Last week it was announced that Johnny Depp has been cast in the sequel to the upcoming Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and may potentially make a brief appearance in the first movie, which opens next week.
Although Depp’s role was being kept under wraps, speculation pointed towards the character of Gellert Grindelwald, a former friend of Dumbledore (who will also be appearing in the sequel), who goes on to become one of the most dangerous Dark Wizards of all time. And now we have confirmation direct from director David Yates that Depp is indeed portraying Grindelwald:
“The whole principal of casting the movie was go with the best actor,” said Yates (via The Leaky Cauldron) “Go for the most inspired, interesting, right fit for that character. And as we approached Grindelwald we thought, ‘Who’s going to take this in an interesting direction?’ In this business, it’s a weird old business. You’re brilliant one week, people are saying odd things the next, you go up and down. But no one takes away your pure talent. Johnny Depp is a real artist. He’s created several characters who have really resonated in our popular culture. He’s a really brilliant, brilliant actor. We were excited about seeing what he would do with this guy, the character. He’s fearless; he’s imaginative; he’s ambitious. We thought he would do something fun and special. So we went for him, purely on that selfish basis. We don’t care if he’s famous or not famous. We just know he’s interesting.”
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens in 1926 as Newt Scamander has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident…were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt’s fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds.
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” stars Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”), Katherine Waterston (“Steve Jobs,” “Inherent Vice”) as Tina; Tony Award winner Dan Fogler (“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”) as Jacob; Alison Sudol (“Dig,” “Transparent”) as Tina’s sister, Queenie; Ezra Miller (“Trainwreck”) as Credence; two-time Oscar nominee Samantha Morton (“In America,” “Sweet and Lowdown”) as Mary Lou; Oscar winner Jon Voight (“Coming Home,” TV’s “Ray Donovan”) as Henry Shaw, Sr.; Ron Perlman (the “Hellboy” films) as Gnarlack; Carmen Ejogo (“Selma”) as Seraphina; Jenn Murray (“Brooklyn”) as Chastity; young newcomer Faith Wood-Blagrove as Modesty; and Colin Farrell (“True Detective”) as Percival Graves.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is set for release on November 18th.