Johnny Depp has been cast in a major role for Warner Bros.'s Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them franchise. The Pirates of the Caribbean star will play the dark wizard Gellert Grindelward, a one-time close friend of Albus Dumbledore.
“Grindelwald is an iconic character, so it was important to have someone who had that weight," producer David Heyman told The Leaky Cauldron. "There’s a reason why [Depp] has that weight. It’s because, you know, he’s a fine actor who makes unexpected choices.”
Depp will reportedly debut in the second Fantastic Beasts movie, scheduled for release November 16, 2018. The first film debuts November 18 of this year.
“[Depp]’s created several characters who have really resonated in our popular culture. He’s a really brilliant, brilliant actor," said director David Yates. "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.”
Yates said that Depp's Grindelward will actually overshadow the "Fantastic Beasts" of franchise's title in the second film.
"Currently the beasts feature slightly less in the second film, and Grindelwald takes more of a foreground. Currently," said Yates. "But we love the beasts so much. There’s an amazing beast in the second movie - a Chinese beast, actually - that is featured.”