UPDATE: NOVEMBER 10, 2020 – Johnny Depp may have been asked to resign from the cast of a new Fantastic Beasts film, but he won’t be leaving empty-handed.
IndieWire reports that, in spite of having filmed just one scene before separating from the production, Depp will likely still receive his entire salary. Depp was signed to something termed a “pay-or-play contract,” meaning he cashes in no matter what, even if the film is recast or production is stopped.
The film, for which no title has yet been released, was set to feature Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, and Depp in three roughly equal, co-starring roles. Depp was offered the largest fee for his services, though he will now be nearly, or perhaps entirely, absent from the final version.
NOVEMBER 6, 2020 – Less than a week after Johnny Depp lost his libel suit against a British tabloid that called him a “wife beater,” Warner Bros. has asked the actor to vacate his role as the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the third installment of the Fantastic Beasts franchise, and Depp has acquiesced.
Depp announced in an Instagram post Friday, “I wish to let you know that I have been asked to resign by Warner Bros. from my role as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and I have respected and agreed to that request.”
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Depp sued over a 2018 article in The Sun that accused him of assaulting ex-wife Amber heard at least a dozen times during their marriage under a headline reading, “How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife-beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?” On Monday, a judge dismissed the case, ruling that the paper’s reporting had been “substantially true.”
Warner Bros. said in a statement, “Johnny Depp will depart the Fantastic Beasts franchise. We thank Johnny for his work on the films to date. Fantastic Beasts 3 is currently in production, and the role of Gellert Grindelwald will be recast. The film will debut in theaters worldwide in the summer of 2022.”
Depp played the magic-wielding bad guy in 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and 2018’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
In announcing his Beasts departure, Depp maintained that the accusations against him are untrue, writing, “The surreal judgment of the court in the U.K. will not change my fight to tell the truth and I confirm that I plan to appeal. My resolve remains strong and I intend to prove that the allegations against me are false. My life and my career will not be defined by this moment in time.”
Recent rumors do not support that sentiment. According to one report, Disney execs had been mulling over the idea of bringing Depp back as Captain Jack Sparrow in a sixth Pirates of the Caribbean swashbuckler, but this week’s news soured them on that notion. However, almost nothing is known about that project, which so far could be anything from a prequel starring Zac Ephron as a young Sparrow, or a female-led reboot with Emma Watson or Karen Gillan at the helm.
Meanwhile, Depp is still forging ahead with his $50 million lawsuit against Heard in Virginia over allegations she made in a 2018 opinion piece for the Washington Post.
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