Why Johnny Depp Left Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
In 2017, Johnny Depp played the notorious dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts film, a spin-off of the Harry Potter franchise, much to the opposition of fans who objected to the star, who had been had accused of repeatedly physically and verbally abusing ex-wife Amber Heard, appearing in the film. Still, Depp was set to star in the follow-up, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
The defense of Depp came in part from JK Rowling, the film’s screenwriter, who told fans that “based on our understanding of the circumstances, the filmmakers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting, but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies.”
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Four days ago, Depp announced on Instagram that Warner Bros. had asked him to “resign” from the film. “I have respected and agreed to that request,” the actor wrote. Although Warner Bros. confirmed Depp’s withdrawal, Rowling has yet to make a statement.
The film, which had been shooting for two months in the UK, had only filmed one scene with Depp, so the decision is reportedly not a financial burden. According to Variety, the decision to terminate Depp came from AT&T, which has merged with Warner Bros.’ parent company Time Warner to form WarnerMedia, after Depp lost a libel suit against News Group Newspapers after an article in The Sun called Depp a “wife beater.”
Meanwhile, Heard is expected to reprise her role in HBO Max’s Justice League mini-series from Zack Snyder, and the Aquaman sequel, where she will star opposite Jason Momoa as Mera, the princess of Xebel, and Aquaman’s love interest.
Rowling herself has also been courting controversy lately after defending her stance regarding transgender identity, which has alienated many fans of the Harry Potter franchise. In a tweet, she had written, “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”
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