Johnny Depp out of Fantastic Beasts films after libel case loss

The actor recently lost a libel case against the UK’s Sun tabloid for calling him a ‘wife beater’.

Depp wrote on Instagram he had agreed to Warner Bros' request that he leave his role as villain Gellert Grindelwald in the JK Rowling franchise [File: Peter Nicholls/Reuters]
Depp wrote on Instagram he had agreed to Warner Bros' request that he leave his role as villain Gellert Grindelwald in the JK Rowling franchise [File: Peter Nicholls/Reuters]

Actor Johnny Depp on Friday was forced out of the Fantastic Beasts movie franchise days after losing a libel case in the UK against a tabloid that called him a “wife beater.”

Depp, writing on Instagram, said that AT&T Inc’s Warner Bros movie studio had asked him to leave his role as villain Gellert Grindelwald. “I have respected and agreed to that request,” he said.

Warner Bros said in a statement that Depp “will depart the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ franchise,” and that the role of Grindelwald would be recast.

The third film in the spin-off from the author of Harry Potter, JK Rowling, recently resumed production. Warner Bros said on Friday its release date had been pushed back to the middle of 2022 from November 2021.

Rowling – herself a survivor of domestic abuse – declined to comment on Depp’s departure.

His exit marked a relatively rare move by Hollywood to recast an actor on ethical grounds.

Kevin Spacey’s role in, All the Money in the World, was reshot with Christopher Plummer in 2017 after Spacey was accused by more than 20 men of sexual misconduct. Spacey has not commented since making an apology to his first accuser.

Charlie Sheen was fired in 2011 from television’s top-rated, Two and a Half Men, after months of drink and drug-fuelled partying. He was replaced by Ashton Kutcher.

Depp wrote on his Instagram account that the allegations of domestic violence against him were false and that he planned to appeal the judgement against him in the London libel trial. “My life and career will not be defined by this moment in time,” he added.

Depp, 57, star of films including, Pirates of the Caribbean, and, Edward Scissorhands, had sued the publishers of the Sun newspaper which called him a “wife beater” and said he had been violent towards former wife Amber Heard, 34. The newspaper also questioned his casting in the Fantastic Beasts franchise.

The three-week libel trial in July heard lurid and damaging claims from both Depp and Heard about a tempestuous marriage marked by violence on both sides and of heavy drinking by Depp.

The judge on Monday ruled against Depp, and said he accepted Heard’s claims that Depp had violently assaulted her during their relationship.

There was no immediate comment from Rowling on Friday about Depp’s departure. The British author had come under fire in 2017 for casting Depp in the first Fantastic Beasts movie after initial details of his 2016 divorce from Heard were made public.

Rowling said at the time that the circumstances of the divorce were a private matter. Warner Bros also said in 2017 that it supported to decision to keep Depp.

Fantastic Beasts, based on the magical adventures of Newt Scamander, is set some 60 years before the Harry Potter films but features several of the same key characters when they were younger.

The first two films in the franchise earned $1.5bn at the global box office, according to Box Office Mojo

Source: Reuters


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