Movies

Depp dropped from Fantastic Beasts after losing libel case

LOS ANGELES – Johnny Depp on Friday was forced out of the Fantastic Beasts movie franchise days after losing a libel case in Britain against a tabloid that branded him a “wife beater”.

The US actor, 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 his role would be recast.

Depp recently resumed production on the third film in the spin-off from Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.

Warner Bros said on Friday its release date had been pushed back to summer 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.

Depp, 57, who plans to appeal the London libel judgment, wrote that his “life and career will not be defined by this moment”.

He had sued the publishers of the Sun newspaper after it said he had been violent toward former wife, US actress Amber Heard, 34. The publication also questioned his casting in the Fantastic Beasts franchise.

Rowling 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.

She 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. - REUTERS

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