Four years after Johnny Depp’s ex-wife accused him of abuse and filed a restraining order, Warner Bros. has removed Depp from the “Fantastic Beasts” movie franchise.
Depp will no longer play dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, whom he played briefly in the original 2016 movie and prominently in the 2018 version. Warner Bros. planned for him to be in the next three installments of the Harry Potter prequel series.
The move comes days after Depp lost a libel case against British tabloid the Sun for a 2018 article calling Depp “a wife beater.” The judge called ex-wife Amber Heard’s accusations of domestic violence incidents against Depp to be “substantially true.”
“I wish to let you know that I have been asked to resign by Warner Bros. from my role as Grindelwald in ‘Fantastic Beasts’ and I have respected and agreed to that request,” Depp posted on Instagram.
The “Fantastic Beasts” series has been mired in controversy, with a viral video appearing to show star Ezra Miller choking a woman and throwing her to the ground. J.K. Rowling, the Harry Potter creator who wrote film adaptations for the first time on “Fantastic Beasts,” drew ire for transphobic comments. And in the heart of the #MeToo movement, Rowling and Warner Bros. defended Depp.
The “Fantastic Beasts” franchise’s gross sales dipped by $146 million with the second installment, which had the lowest ticket sales of any Rowling wizard movie, selling $645 million in tickets on a $200 million budget.
The Grindelwald recasting will push the movie’s theater debut back from November 2021 to summer 2022.
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