11/11/2016 09:14 GMT

J.K. Rowling Praises Johnny Depp's 'Fantastic Beasts' Role, Amid Casting Backlash

She is 'delighted' to have him playing Gellert Grindelwald.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has praised Johnny Depp’s role in the upcoming ‘Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them’ film, amid a backlash over his casting

The news he is set to play Gellert Grindelwald in the first instalment of the Potter spin-off series was met with a mixed reception from fans, especially when it was revealed he will play a greater role in the sequel. 

ANGELA WEISS via Getty Images
J.K. Rowling at the 'Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them' world premiere

However, J.K. has claimed Johnny has “done incredible things” with his portrayal of the wizarding great.

Speaking at the film’s world premiere in New York (via The Telegraph), she said: ”I’m delighted.

“He’s done incredible things with that character.”

Richard Shotwell/AP
Johnny Depp is playing Gellert Grindelwald

Director David Yates also urged fans to “trust” their decision to cast Johnny, adding: “What you have to remember about Johnny is that extraordinary talent and that talent never goes away.

“Hollywood is such a fickle place. People go up and go down.

“He’s a huge Potter fan. He loves the world. He was beyond excited about working on this material. In fact he didn’t even want to see a script, he just said ‘I’m in’.”

Taylor Hill via Getty Images
The cast of 'Fantastic Beasts'

The ‘Mortdecai’ actor was once hot property in Hollywood, but he’s hit headlines for a number of negative reasons this year, namely his acrimonious divorce from Amber Heard, which played out in the public eye. 

When they first split, Amber successfully petitioned for a restraining order against her husband, accusing Johnny of domestic abuse.

A joint settlement was later reached, but neither party have ever publicly discussed the accusations.

Joel Ryan/AP
Johnny with ex-wife Amber Heard

A joint statement read at the time: “Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love.

“Neither party has lied nor made false accusations for financial gain. There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm. Amber wishes the best for Johnny in the future.”

Eddie Redmayne takes on the lead role of Newt Scamander in the first ‘Fantastic Beasts’ film, scheduled for release on Friday 18 November, with the second instalment slated to hit cinemas in November 2020.

Photo gallery 'Harry Potter': Where Are They Now? See Gallery