Johnny Depp has finally addressed his Hollywood "boycott" in a rare interview promoting his newest movie Minamata. Directed by Andrew Levitas Minamata stars Depp in the lead as photojournalist Eugene Smith. It is based on the real-life mercury poisoning of the citizens of Minamata, Kumamoto, Japan, and the filmmakers had hoped to raise awareness about the horrifying effects the incident continues to have on people to this day.
Minamata was just released in the United Kingdom, but there's still no word yet on when it will be out in the United States. Recently, Levitas blasted MGM in a letter that made its way to the press, accusing the studio of "burying" the movie because of Depp's ongoing legal issues. MGM has since stated that Minamata is set for a U.S. release on an undetermined date in the future, declining to comment directly on if Depp's involvement is slowing things down.
Speaking out about the Minamata situation in a new interview with the Sunday Times, Depp backed up what Levitas had said about MGM holding the movie back. For his part, it's been rather upsetting, as Depp and the filmmakers had spoken directly with Minamata victims with assurance that they would tell their story honestly and with respect. Depp also alleges that MGM needs to respect these people by releasing the movie as well, as explained in the interview:
"We looked these people in the eyeballs and promised we would not be exploitative. That the film would be respectful. I believe that we've kept our end of the bargain, but those who came in later should also maintain theirs. Some films touch people. And this affects those in Minamata and people who experience similar things. And for anything... For Hollywood's boycott of me? One man, one actor in an unpleasant and messy situation, over the last number of years? But, you know, I'm moving towards where I need to go to make all that... To bring things to light."
Depp's comments echo what Levitas said previously, stressing that the story of Minamata is much more important than what's going on in one actor's personal life. He is of course referring to his highly publicized legal battle with his ex-wife, Aquaman actress Amber Heard, who'd made allegations that Depp had physically abused her. Depp insists he is innocent with evidence since released by his lawyers swaying public opinion largely in his favor.
Unfortunately, Johnny Depp lost a libel lawsuit against a British tabloid that had referred to him as a "wife beater" in an article based on Heard's allegations. This resulted in the actor losing his job as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts 3, a major blow to his career. He suffered another hit when his appeal was tossed in March of this year. Separately, he has a libel trial against Heard in the United States that's set to be heard in April 2022.
Meanwhile, not all has been bad for Depp, as Dior has continued their relationship with him. He is also set to receive the Donostia Award, the event's highest honor, at the San Sebastian Film Festival. Although some have criticized this decision, the festival's organizers have said they will stand by Depp as he's never been charged nor convicted of the allegations made by Heard. Time will tell when it comes to how MGM will release Minamata in the U.S., but it's definitely true that there has been a serious lack of marketing for the movie in the country. This news comes to us from The Sunday Times.