RUMOR ALERT: This information is just RUMOR for now, so take this with a grain of salt.
Warner Brothers is currently prepping for production on the third ‘Fantastic Beasts’ film, but RUMOR has it, the studio is suddenly concerned with Johnny Depp backlash. Depp was never a popular choice for the role of Gellert Grindelwald, the major villain of the ‘Harry Potter’ prequels, but now his legal battles with ex-wife Amber Heard are getting more heated and nastier, and WB is worried about how this could impact their films.
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According to an insider who spoke to Page Six:
“Executives at Warner Bros. are wondering how to deal with the backlash of the Depp matter on the Harry Potter franchise. High-level female execs at the studio are extremely worried about working with Depp and the message it sends to the public, especially after the recent sordid departure of CEO Kevin Tsujihara. […] This is yet another blow to the morale of female employees at the studio. If Warner Bros. continues to stick by Depp, it would reveal a lot about the values the company holds.”
Heard first leveled accusations of abuse at Depp in May 2016, after filing for divorce and obtaining a restraining order. Warner Brothers announced his casting as Grindelwald in November 2016. Yet, they’re suddenly concerned NOW?
In legal briefs, Heard accused Depp of abusing alcohol and prescription and illegal drugs, causing him to become “the Monster” and physically and verbally abusing her. She also provided text messages that seem to implicate Depp, who she says typically could not remember his violent behavior after the effects of the substances wore off.
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Following the publication of an op-ed piece in the Washington Post written by Hear, Depp filed a $50 million anti-defamation suit against her, calling her claims a “hoax” meant to further her career, and claiming that it was Heard who was physically abusive to him. Depp’s lawyers went on to state that they could produce neutral witnesses and footage from 87 security cameras. Heard has since come forward with even more abuse allegations.
After the massive backlash from ‘Potter’ fans against Depp’s casting, creator J.K. Rowling came out firmly in support of Depp, which these sources now claim may have been a mistake.
As she initially wrote:
“I accept that there will be those who are not satisfied with our choice of actor in the title role. However, conscience isn’t governable by committee. Within the fictional world and outside it, we all have to do what we believe to be the right thing.”
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The sources state:
“Many at Warner Bros. wish that Rowling hadn’t come out so strongly behind Depp, because having made her opinion so public boxes them into a corner.
“Harry Potter fans had legitimate questions and concerns about our choice to continue with Johnny Depp in the role. As David Yates, long-time Potter director, has already said, we naturally considered the possibility of recasting. I understand why some have been confused and angry about why that didn’t happen.”
At this point, it seems that the damage is done. WB had their chance to select a different actor. And it isn’t as though all of the negative reactions stemmed from these personal conflicts– a lot of people just don’t like Johnny Depp, period.
Depp has claimed that Heard’s accusations have already caused Disney to fire him from further ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movies. (Question: Can I fire Disney from making any more ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movies?) Representatives for Depp say that Heard is using this situation to further her career. Heard has a considerably lower profile than Depp, with last winter’s ‘Aquaman’ being her biggest film so far.
What do you think? Should Depp’s personal life influence his career? Would Warner Brothers be justified in replacing him?