[Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them]
Nearing the end of its first weekend, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is already lighting up the box office, but not to the extent that its predecessors in the Harry Potter series managed. This could be due to a number of factors – an adjusted focus to adult protagonists, a time shift to the 1920s, or simply a lack of obvious connective tissue to the original series’ narrative. That last disconnect may not be as big of a problem when the sequel rolls around, since Dumbledore’s legendary opponent, Gellert Grindelwald has been revealed as the likely big bad of the prequel series.
Warner Brothers didn’t go cheap on casting what is sure to be a recurring appearance by one of the most dangerous Dark Wizards of the Potterverse. The previously rumored, now confirmed, Johnny Depp appears in the role at the end of Fantastic Beasts, promising to be a continued menace moving forward.
Recently Collider talked to Fantastic Beasts producer David Heyman to discuss the casting choice. Heyman’s extensive response illustrated that there was no small amount of thought put into the process.
“It was the end of last year. We filmed it early this year because of availability. What we wanted was an iconic actor to play Grindelwald, because Grindelwald is an iconic character who has a significant place in this story. His ability to persuade the hearts and minds, to persuade people to follow him is essential to this story.
“He is dangerous in that way. We were looking for someone who was seductive and could be charming and could be original, who was iconic, who was a great actor; and that’s what Johnny Depp is. He can be irresistible. He’s powerful. He’s created some iconic characters, and not made the obvious choices when doing so. The unpredictability of the choices he makes is part of what makes him so extraordinary and that was very exciting for us. He was the perfect choice for Grindelwald.”
Johnny Depp was a controversial pick for Grindelwald among fans for a number of reasons, but one of them is due to the baggage of fame he brings to his roles in the wake of his extensive career. For some, it’s gotten harder to see Depp as anyone but “the guy who plays the odd roles in all the Tim Burton movies.” Heyman seems to feel that Depp’s fame will be more of an asset moving forward than a hindrance to Grindelwald’s film legacy. At this point, it’s hard to have an opinion, since Depp’s appearance in Fantastic Beasts is incredibly slim.
How do you feel about Depp playing Grindelwald? Let us know in the comments section, and stay tuned to Screen Rant for all your updates on the Potterverse as they hit.