Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has released a featurette highlighting the dark wizard (Johnny Depp) who returns to menace Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and friends in the Harry Potter prequel.
“The crimes of Grindelwald have been crimes of violence and terror. But we also see his immense seductive power,” says Harry Potter author and Fantastic Beasts screenwriter J.K. Rowling.
“What I consciously wanted was to have this gallery of people whose backstories we understand. We get to know their own personal struggles, biases, traumas... and in the middle of it, we have Grindelwald. Now which of these characters will hear his siren call? Which of them will say ‘yes, you have the answer to what ails me,’ and which of them will say, ‘no, I see what you’re doing, and I don’t like what you’re doing.’ And for some of these characters, he is the answer.”
Depp characterizes his charming and ruthless Grindelwald as a “very, very powerful manipulative menace to the world,” who is “convinced that the only way forward is total domination over the people.”
Much like his eventual successor Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), Grindelwald prizes the ascension of wizards and witches over muggles — those not born of magic — and now “seeks to rally all power into his camp,” says Credence Barebone actor Ezra Miller.
“Grindelwald believes that wizards should no longer live in hiding and that muggles should be ruled over by wizards and witches. He justifies everything to himself and makes it appear rational,” explains Redmayne. “In fact, at moments, appealing, and that’s how he’s clawing people to his cause.”
A younger Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) then “has to maneuver to try and stop Grindelwald’s rise,” Law teases, prefacing their complex, decades-long relationship.
Casting the Pirates of the Caribbean star proved controversial for studio Warner Bros. in the light of domestic abuse accusations made by Depp’s ex-wife, Aquaman star Amber Heard, who alleged Depp physically and emotionally abused her.
Rowling and director David Yates subsequently defended Depp, saying the filmmakers were “comfortable” and “genuinely happy” having Depp on board in a major role, a position that in turn saw Rowling criticized and disowned by disappointed Harry Potter fans.
“I’ll be honest with you, I felt bad for J.K. having to field all these various feelings from people out there. I felt bad that she had to take that,” Depp told EW. “But ultimately, there is real controversy. The fact remains I was falsely accused, which is why I’m suing the Sun newspaper for defamation for repeating false accusations.”
“J.K. has seen the evidence and therefore knows I was falsely accused, and that’s why she has publicly supported me,” Depp added. “She doesn’t take things lightly. She would not stand up if she didn’t know the truth. So that’s really it.”0comments
Depp has since confirmed he’ll return in the third Fantastic Beasts, already dated for November 20, 2020, again penned by Rowling and directed by Yates.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald opens November 16.