Depp quits Fantastic Beast films over wife beater claims

Movie star Johnny Depp has quit the Fantastic Beast film series after being asked to resign in the wake of losing a libel suit over being accused of being a "wife beater".

Depp was asked to vacate his role in the Harry Potter prequel series as the villain Gellert Grindelwald, which will be recast before the movie's 2022 release.

A Warner Bros. spokesperson confirmed the news in a statement to Fox News on Friday.

"Johnny Depp will depart the Fantastic Beasts franchise. We thank Johnny for his work on the films to date," the studio said.

"Fantastic Beasts 3 is currently in production, and will debut in theatres worldwide in the summer of 2022."

The 57-year-old Pirates of the Caribbean star reacted via social media on Friday. saying he had been "asked to resign by Warner Bros. from my role as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and I have respected and agreed to that request".

He said, "I'd like to thank everybody who has gifted me with their support and loyalty.

"I have been humbled and moved by your many messages of love and concern, particularly over the last few days.

"Finally, I wish to say this.

"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.

Johnny Depp was asked to resign from his role as Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Picture: Warner Bros
Johnny Depp was asked to resign from his role as Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Picture: Warner Bros

"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."

Depp lost his high-stakes libel case on Monday against The Sun newspaper, which had labelled him a "wife beater" over his volatile relationship with former spouse, actress Amber Heard.

At the end of an often lurid defamation trial in London's High Court, Judge Andrew Nichol found the newspaper's claims were "substantially true".

He said he believed the actor had abused Heard to such an extent that she frequently feared for her life.

 

The judge ruled Depp's feelings towards his wife during their turbulent three-year relationship were summed up in a text where the actor revealed he had "no mercy" for her.

Heard was The Sun's star witness in the trial, which lay bare extraordinary revelations about the marriage of Depp and Heard, 34.

They included an instance of faeces in a hotel bed - supposedly Heard's, but the judge ruled it was canine - and Depp smearing "I love you" on a mirror in blood.

In court, Depp accused Heard of making up her allegations, while acknowledging wide-ranging drug problems.

However, he insisted he is "not a violent person, especially with women," a characterisation that was backed up in statements from former partners Winona Ryder and Vanessa Paradis.

Judge Nichol concluded Depp beat Ms Heard on 12 out of the 14 instances of domestic violence alleged by Heard - starting in 2013 when he slapped the actress when she made a comment about his tattoo.

Depp and Heard met on the set of 2011 comedy The Rum Diary and married in Los Angeles in 2015. They separated the following year and divorced in 2017.

He sued The Sun over an article about his casting in the Fantastic Beast series, entitled, "Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be 'genuinely happy' casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?".

candace.sutton@news.com.au

 

 

Originally published as Johnny Depp quits Fantastic Beast films

Johnny Depp and Poppy Corby-Tuech in a scene from the movie Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Picture: Jaap Buitendijk.
Johnny Depp and Poppy Corby-Tuech in a scene from the movie Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Picture: Jaap Buitendijk.

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