Last week it was reported that Johnny Depp will play the lead role in the sequel to upcoming Harry Potter spinoff prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. His role has now been confirmed by the film’s director.
Speaking to Potter site The Leaky Cauldron, David Yates revealed that Depp will play Gellert Grindelwald, former friend to Hogwarts headmaster Dumbledore.
The director went on to explain the reasons that Depp had been cast. “The whole principal of casting the movie was go with the best actor,” he said. “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?'”
“Johnny Depp is a real artist,” Yates continued. “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.”
Grindelwald appeared briefly in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One, played by Jamie Campbell Bower in a flashback. Ironically, Bower’s first film role was in Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd, where he starred alongside Depp.
Earlier this week, Yates also confirmed that the young Dumbledore would feature in the film. “In the second movie Dumbledore comes back,” he said, via Screenrant. “He’s got a couple of good scenes with [lead character] Newt. We’re discussing who would play Dumbledore. Any suggestions would be good.”
Last month, Rowling confirmed that there would be no fewer than five movies in the fantastic Beasts series. It was recently reported that the second film will be set in Paris.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hits theaters on November 18 and stars Eddie Redmayne, in addition to Colin Farrell (In Bruges), Katherine Waterston (Steve Jobs), Zoe Kravitz (Mad Max: Fury Road), Ron Perlman (Hellboy), and Ezra Miller (Justice League). While it is set to make a lot at the box office in its debut weekend, it will still make less than any Harry Potter movie, according to projections.