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Johnny Depp: JK Rowling defends a man’s right to earn a living

by | 13th, December 2017

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Do we look at actors pretending to be other people and beings from fact and fiction, and think they should have had their morals checked before getting the part? Moral thinking can change, so if we are going to check people’s minds, we need to review the past in a modern light, too, in case someone impressionable and vulnerable looks at them and copies their lives. You know how it works: you watch Clark Gable and Carole Lombard in No Man of Her Own, realise he’s cheating on his wife with her, pull on a vest, grow a moustache and shag a colleague.

Blessedly, Kevin Spacey, now the subject of sexual abuse allegations, has been removed from the next series of House of Cards, the TV show in which he plays the main characterVariety reports that “producers plan on scrapping most, if not all, of the footage shot during the roughly two weeks of season-six production that had taken place in October”.

You can still catch Spacey on reruns, but perhaps they too will be binned, just as the BBC purged its archives of Jimmy Savile, both real and imagined. Spacey’s accusers have not had their claims tested in court, their allegations not yet made to vault all those hurdles to justice. He says he’s innocent. But lest we be upset by the look and sight of Spacey playing a murderous figure on the telly, he’s been dismissed.

So when Johnny Deppp was cast in JK Rowling’s Fantastic BeastsThe Crimes of Grindelwald, there were howls of outrage. This is Depp whose then wife Amber Heard accused him of subjecting her to domestic abuse. Depp denied any wrongdoing. The couple divorced. And that was that.

Until that is Deep went to get a job. Rowling, an intelligent woman, told everyone: “Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the filmmakers and I are genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies.”

But some people were dismayed. In what she terms “a post-Weinstein world”, one writer says casting Depp in the show “breaks my heart”. She adds:

The practice of giving men in power the benefit of the doubt simply because other powerful people vouch for them is sometimes known by another name: rape culture.

Well, that escalated quickly. Rape? Depp is presumed innocent, right? And we don’t own him. He’s a private individual. Rowling says just that in her statement:

When Johnny Depp was cast as Grindelwald, I thought he’d be wonderful in the role. However, around the time of filming his cameo in the first movie, stories had appeared in the press that deeply concerned me and everyone most closely involved in the franchise.

Harry Potter fans had legitimate questions and concerns about our choice to continue with Johnny Depp in the role. As David Yates, long-time Potter director, has already said, we naturally considered the possibility of recasting. I understand why some have been confused and angry about why that didn’t happen.

The huge, mutually supportive community that has grown up around Harry Potter is one of the greatest joys of my life. For me personally, the inability to speak openly to fans about this issue has been difficult, frustrating and at times painful. However, 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. 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.

I’ve loved writing the first two screenplays and I can’t wait for fans to see ‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’. I accept that there will be those who are not satisfied with our choice of actor in the title role. However, conscience isn’t governable by committee. Within the fictional world and outside it, we all have to do what we believe to be the right thing.

How great is that. She gets it. “JK Rowling endorsed Johnny Depp and betrayed millions of women,” laments the Independent, which thinks women are best served by subjecting private lives and relationships between the sexes to forensic scrutiny; equating accusation with guilt; and believing that no-one of whom we have an unfavourable opinion and who is innocent before the eyes of the law should get the job.

How’s that for progress?



Posted: 13th, December 2017 | In: Celebrities, Film, News Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink