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Johnny Depp breaks silence on ‘Fantastic Beasts’ sequel …

It’s been two years since Johnny Depp surprised audiences by appearing near the end of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The actor’s casting was the Harry Potter prequel’s best-kept secret, a climatic surprise when Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) magically revealed that the fugitive dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald had been hiding in plain sight the whole movie, disguised as Percival Graves (Colin Farrell).

Yet the casting of the three-time Oscar nominee drew mixed reactions from fans. A few months before the film’s premiere, Depp was accused of physical and emotional abuse by his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard. Depp denied the allegations. After production was announced on the film’s sequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwaldwith Depp’s character right in the title — studio Warner Bros., screenwriter J.K. Rowling, and director David Yates were compelled to issue statements supporting Depp’s participation. “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,” Rowling wrote.

Depp has never given an interview about the role until now. For this week’s cover story on The Crimes of Grindelwald, EW spoke to the film’s cast, several of whom spoke highly of the actor’s work. “I was very curious how this guy was gonna be on set,” one costar said. “It was right in the middle of, you know … I only observed him just being totally sweet and professional.” Depp also helped design Grindelwald’s unique look (a pasty-faced, platinum-haired vision of fascistic extremism), and added his own improvisational touches while filming. “An example being when Johnny conducts a barrage of spells in one of the film’s climactic scenes like a conductor guiding an orchestra, except

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