'Fantastic Beasts' is just the start. Johnny Depp's career is over, experts say.
- Days after losing his libel case against The Sun,
Johnny Deppsaid he was "asked to resign" from his role in " Fantastic Beasts3." But that's only the start of how the actor's career will be affected, experts said.
- His career as a leading man had already been on the downturn before domestic-abuse allegations from his ex-wife
Amber Heardbecame public in 2016.
- Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor, told Insider that he saw no way back for Depp and that he thought the 57-year-old actor would become "the next Harvey Weinstein."
- Depp has continuously denied the domestic-abuse allegations leveled against him by Heard.
Johnny Depp's career is over. At least, that's what experts are saying.
In a 129-page ruling last week, Judge Andrew Nicol of the High Court in London dismissed the former "Pirates of the Caribbean" star's libel claim against the UK newspaper The Sun over a 2018 article that referred to Depp as a "wife beater" in connection to domestic-abuse allegations leveled by his ex-wife Amber Heard. The judge found that the article was "substantially true."During the high-profile trial — a 16-day blockbuster — Depp and Heard's turbulent 15-month marriage was picked apart with excruciating detail, and the excesses of Depp's toxic, drug-fueled lifestyle were laid bare.
Depp's career was on a downward trend before any allegations of domestic abuseDepp first found fame on the hit '80s TV show "21 Jump Street." He ascended to Hollywood stardom with Tim Burton's cult-favorite film "Edward Scissorhands" in 1990, starring alongside Winona Ryder, a future partner.
Over the next few decades, he won acclaim for his roles as misunderstood, brooding loners and anti-heroes in films such as "What's Eating Gilbert Grape," "Donnie Brasco," and "Sleepy Hollow."Since 2003, Depp has been perhaps best known as the mischievous Captain Jack Sparrow in Disney's popular "Pirates of the Caribbean" film franchise. Depp was nominated for an Oscar in 2004 for his work on the first film, "The Curse of the Black Pearl," and by 2015, with the fifth installment of the series, Depp was estimated to be earning about $55 million per film. The "Pirates" films, thanks to Depp, were a jewel in Disney's box-office playbook; the five movies made a combined $4.5 billion worldwide.
But over the past few years, Depp has failed to reach similar box-office heights. New offerings such as "Transcendence," "The Lone Ranger," and "Dark Shadows" — directed by Burton, a longtime collaborator — tanked among critics and disappointed at the box office, signaling that the public had grown tired of his gothic shtick.While Depp's films have earned more than $4 billion domestically over the decades, experts said he might have reached the end of his road. "I predict his career may never recover," Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor, told Insider. "Disney has lost interest in Depp for its 'Pirates of the Caribbean' franchise, and I can't imagine any other major studio wanting to work with him. He's going to be the next Harvey Weinstein."
Warner Bros. wanted to split from Depp even before he lost his libel case
Days after the libel trial, Depp said he had been "asked to resign by Warner Bros." from the "Fantastic Beasts" series.Stacy Jones, the CEO of Hollywood Branded, a pop-culture influencer and branded-content marketing agency in Los Angeles, told Insider that while Warner Bros. appeared to move quickly in distancing itself from Depp after the trial, the plan to ditch the actor "was in fact a very well-orchestrated plan, built over time with the lead-in to the trial."
At first, it seemed the Potterverse would stand by its man and shrug off the serious allegations as another celebrity tabloid rift. In an interview with the "Harry Potter" fan site The Leaky Cauldron in late 2016, shortly after Heard's allegations became public, David Yates, the "Fantastic Beasts" director, defended Depp. "In this business, it's a weird old business," he said. "You're brilliant one week, people are saying odd things the next, you go up and down. But no one takes away your pure talent."
In a statement posted on her personal blog in 2017, the "
'Depp should get out of the defamation-lawsuit business while he still has a fragment of a movie career'
Though Depp was ousted from "Fantastic Beasts" and had shot only one scene since filming began in September, he will still receive full compensation because a "pay-or-play" clause in his contract means he must be paid regardless of whether he appears on screen, according to The Hollywood Reporter."While the fact that he still will be making his eight-figure fee likely made the pill of being asked (or more so told) to step aside and resign an easier one to swallow," Jones said, "that still isn't easy on the ego — or finances — especially with the knowledge that it may indeed be the last major deal for quite some time to come his way."
Jones told Insider that the only way forward for Depp would be to "admit fault, accept responsibility," and truly begin to reform. "At no point until then," she said, will Depp's career "have a fighting chance of survival."But Depp's lawyers have already announced that the actor will file an appeal in London. And he has filed a separate $50 million defamation lawsuit against Heard in Virginia over a column she wrote for The Washington Post in 2018 describing her experience with domestic violence. While Depp was not named in Heard's column, the actor's legal team has said it's strongly inferred to be about him. Depp has continually denied the allegations against him. Rahmani told Insider that he thought a second lawsuit was a waste of time for Depp.
"Depp should get out of the defamation-lawsuit business while he still has a fragment of a movie career," he said. "The Virginia case is also a loser, like many celebrity family-law cases that do little to show celebrities in a good light. Depp should stick to scripts written by others rather than airing his real-life drama in a courtroom."
The second case is likely to unravel with the same dramatic detail as the first, but that hasn't seemed to worry Depp and his advisors who are determined to pursue it. His case in the court of public opinion, however, seems to be done.So long, Jack Sparrow.
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