As noted in the comments of our article yesterday, quite a few of you were rankling at this weekend past’s surprising announcement that Johnny Depp had been asked to resign from his role as Gellert Grindelwald in the upcoming third Fantastic Beasts film. This came after Depp shockingly lost a libel case against British tabloid The Sun, the latest twist in a messy and public divorce from actress Amber Heard. While initially painted in a terribly abusive light by Heard, subsequent evidence has since turned the tables showing Heard to have been the aggressor in their admittedly toxic relationship. But that was apparently not enough stop Warner Bros. from giving him the chop.
And if you’re upset about that injustice, especially since WB still continues to do business with Heard, there’s a little bit of restitution. According to The Hollywood Reporter, despite only filming a single scene before his exit, Depp is getting paid his full eight-figure salary for the film. A salary that is even larger than that of co-stars Eddie Redmayne and Jude Law – who play Newt Scamander and a young Albus Dumbledore, respectively, and who were all set to share equal screen time with him. Reportedly, Depp has a pay-or-play contract, meaning that he gets paid upfront irrespective of whether there are any changes to the film. This includes the film not even being made or his role being recast – the latter being exactly what will happen here.
There are sometimes caveats to these types of contracts, which are common for A-list Hollywood stars, but in Depp’s case there was no morality clause included that could possibly have been triggered. Technically, Depp also wasn’t fired from the gig. I mean, he kinda was, but he wasn’t, which means the studio has to pay up. Things may have been different if Depp had dug in his heels and refused to go, but the actor acquiesced.
As to why WB decided to let him go now when the evidence was seemingly mounting in his favour, as opposed to the start of this fiasco when Heard’s now-proven-false accusations looked damning, sources tell THR that the studio “wanted to allow due process to take its course” first. And apparently, a single lost libel case, with a highly questionable ruling, against a tabloid rag is due course. In my opinion, WB messed up big time here in how it handled this situation, but at least it’s not messing with Depp’s livelihood.
The still-untitled next Fantastic Beasts film, the third entry in a planned five-film series, is now set for a new release date of 15 July 2022.
Last Updated: November 10, 2020