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I had no idea that casting Johnny Depp in the 'Fantastic Beasts' film franchise was such a "hot button" issue.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them director David Yates stands by the decision to cast Johnny Depp in the film series.

The 54-year-old British filmmaker said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that he considers Amber Heard's accusations of abuse against Depp, who plays Gellert Grindelwald in the movies, to be "a dead issue."

"Honestly, there's an issue at the moment where there's a lot of people being accused of things, they're being accused by multiple victims, and it's compelling and frightening," Yates said. "With Johnny, it seems to me there was one person who took a pop at him and claimed something."

"I can only tell you about the man I see every day: He's full of decency and kindness, and that's all I see. Whatever accusation was out there doesn't tally with the kind of human being I've been working with," he added.

Yates brought up Depp's ex-partners Vanessa Paradis, Lori Anne Allison and Winona Ryder, who have also supported the actor. Ryder told Time in June 2016 that Depp was "never abusive at all" toward her.

"By testament, some of the women in [Depp's] life have said the same thing -- 'that's not the human being we know,'" Yates said. "It's very different [than] cases where there are multiple accusers over many years that need to be examined and we need to reflect on our industry that allows that to roll on year in and year out."

"Johnny isn't in that category in any shape or form," he asserted. "So to me, it doesn't bear any more analysis. It's a dead issue."

Fans slammed Yates on Twitter following his comments about Depp, with many declaring the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them sequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, to be "canceled."

"Annnnd just like that fantastic beats is CANCELLED:)," one person tweeted Tuesday.

"David Yates' justification for having Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts 2 is every bit as weak as Ron Weasley's magic skills," another added Wednesday.

Heard had accused Depp of abuse while filing for divorce from the actor in May 2016. The pair reached a settlement in August 2016, with Heard announcing the same month that she will donate her $7 million settlement to charity.

I think the bigger issue with the first 'Fantastic Beasts' movie was that it was terrible. Work on the screenplay and write some interesting characters for audiences to invest in. What a missed opportunity. Hopefully, the next one will be better. Nowhere to go but up, in my opinion.

Be Well,

Comments? Questions? Nooz? Email Steve


Matt Lauer fired from NBC due to sexual misconduct allegations
Today host Matt Lauer has been fired by NBC after the network received a complaint alleging that he took part in "inappropriate sexual behavior."

Lauer's Today cohost Savannah Guthrie made the announcement on the morning show Wednesday alongside Hoda Kotb. She read a statement from chairman of NBC News Andrew Lack.

"On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer. It represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company's standards. As a result, we've decided to terminate his employment," Lack said in the statement.

"While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over twenty years he's been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident," it continued. "Our highest priority is to create a workplace environment where everyone feels safe and protected, and to ensure that any actions that run counter to our core values are met with consequences, no matter who the offender."

"We are deeply saddened by this turn of events. But we will face it together as a news organization and do it in as transparent a manner as we can. To that end, Noah and I will be meeting with as many of you as possible throughout the day today to answer your questions," Lack concluded.

Avengers meet Thanos in first 'Infinity War' trailer
The Avengers must defend earth from the invading Thanos and his armies in the first trailer for Infinity War.

The clip, released Wednesday, gives fans their first taste of the upcoming superhero epic which will bring together all of the heroes from throughout the Marvel cinematic universe.

Thanos, with his Infinity Gauntlet in hand, is seen arriving to face the Avengers as he throws down Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and delivers a punch to Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.).

Another key moment involves Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) preparing his home of Wakanda for an attack when he is joined by Captain America (Chris Evans).

"Evacuate the city, engage our defenses and get this man a shield," Black Panther says towards Captain America, who is now sporting a beard.

The pair along with the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), are later seen charging into battle together.

Other Marvel characters that appear throughout the trailer include Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), his partner Wong (Benedict Wong), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Vision (Paul Bettany), Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth), who appears at the end as he meets with the Guardians of the Galaxy consisting of Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Groot (Vin Diesel), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff).

Avengers: Infinity War is set to arrive in theaters on May 4.

"I thought, 'That is my hero, that is the kind of woman I want to be.'"
--Reese Witherspoon, on watching Nicole Kidman in one of her very first films, Dead Calm, at the Gotham Awards

??? Guess Who ???

Which stars are set to host 'Saturday Night Live' in December?

Nicollette Sheridan to play Alexis Carrington on 'Dynasty' re-boot
Desperate Housewives and Knots Landing icon Nicollette Sheridan is set to play the role of Alexis Carrington in The CW's re-boot of Dynasty.

Starring Elizabeth Gillies, Nathalie Kelley, James Mackay, Sam Adegoke, Robert Christopher Riley, Rafael de la Fuente, Alan Dale and Grant Show, the new version of the nighttime soap has been airing on Wednesdays since October.

"Alexis Carrington is the first wife of Blake Carrington and mother to Fallon and Steven," a press release said. "She will return unexpectedly to their world, challenging Blake's marriage to Cristal, seeking to reunite with her children, and fighting to claim what is hers."

Joan Collins played Alexis on the original Dynasty, which ran 1981-89.

Johnny Galecki to appear in 'Roseanne' reboot episode
Johnny Galecki will appear in an episode of the forthcoming Roseanne reboot.

Series star Roseanne Barr confirmed in a since-deleted tweet Tuesday that the 42-year-old actor will return for the ABC revival.

"We have got our Johnny Galecki back on 'Roseanne' this episode - what a joy to work with such a deeply empathetic actor," she wrote, according to Entertainment Tonight. "Very moving 4 all of us. #JOY."

Barr followed up by calling the new season "a dream come true." She also praised the young actors who will play her grandchildren on the show.

"this 10th season of 'Roseanne' is just a dream come true for an old lady comic who fought so hard 2 honor working class ppl in America," the star tweeted.

"the kids playing my grandchildren on the 'roseanne' show are fantastic actors and I am in love with all three of them. They r all movie stars!" she added.

Sources told ET Galecki is on set rehearsing this week and will film his episode Friday. The actor portrayed David Healy in Seasons 4 through 9 of Roseanne's original nine-season run.

ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey had confirmed in August that Galecki, who now stars on CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, was in talks to return. The Wrap reported Nov. 13 that the actor had yet to finalize a deal.

??? Guess Who ???

Which stars are set to host 'Saturday Night Live' in December?

The Disaster Artist actor-director James Franco is to guest host Saturday Night Live Dec. 9, NBC announced Monday.

SZA will provide the musical entertainment for the episode, as well.

On Dec. 16, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle star Kevin Hart will guest host SNL, while Foo Fighters will take the stage and sing.

Lady Bird lead Saoirse Ronan and U2 were previously announced as this weekend's guest host and performer.

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