Hollywood on a good day is a fickle place, governed not so much by logic and reason as box office tallies and public opinion. Maneuvering Tinsel Town takes nerves of steel, hopefully good moral judgment and a whole passel of luck. Just ask actor Johnny Depp who, after ascending to the heights of moviedom, has experienced a breathtaking downfall over the last few years. Never was that more evident than with today’s announcement by Warner Brothers Studio that they would no longer be employing Depp in their money-making machine of a franchise known as Fantastic Beasts.
This move comes after a high-profile ruling against Johnny Depp in a libel suit the actor had brought against British News Group Newspapers. Depp had alleged that his reputation had been tarnished due to an April 17, 2018 article in the U.K. paper The Sun which trumpeted a headline heard ‘round the world. Entitled “How Can JK Rowling Be ‘Genuinely Happy’ Casting Wife-Beater Johnny Depp in the New Fantastic Beasts Film”, the not-so subtle article spurred Depp to sue on the grounds of defamation, a lawsuit he ultimately lost. The fallout for that loss became starkly clear today when Warner’s – the company behind the popular franchise – issued a statement effectively firing the embattled movie star: “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 studio concluded by plugging the worldwide release date of the new installment. Ah, Hollywood….
Distancing a major franchise from a controversial or troubled actor is nothing new, yet it is still a striking example of the heights Depp, a former teen heartthrob who graduated to more serious roles before assuming the title of Commercial Blockbuster King, has fallen from. In response to being handed his waking papers, Depp said that “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…The surreal judgment of the court in the UK 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 career will not be defined by this moment in time.”
Vents has no word as of yet who will be stepping into Depp’s shoes for the upcoming Fantastic Beasts 3(Joaquin Phoenix? Leonardo DiCaprio?), but we will continue to monitor any news on this and bring it to you as quickly as is possible.