Johnny Depp is reportedly looking to star in smaller projects following rejection from both the Pirates of the Caribbean and Fantastic Beasts franchises. The Oscar nominated actor has apparently shifted focus away from such high-profile features and is instead looking to star in lower budget projects while also dealing with the ongoing legal case between himself and his ex-wife Amber Heard.
Legal fees for the civil suit are no doubt stretching the already vast wealth of Johnny Depp, and, with the case set to continue for some time along with the outcome potentially costing him even more, the actor will be looking to add some capital now that both the Disney and Warner Bros franchises have been taken away. Aside from big blockbusters, Depp has carved a career out of starring in smaller, more intimate movies across multiple genres including the likes of Ed Wood, Donnie Brasco, and Rango, and it should prove interesting to see the direction he takes without revolving around big budgets and familiar franchises.
Fans of the Fantastic Beasts franchise were shocked to hear that Depp had been asked by Warner Bros. to step down from the role of central villain Grindelwald. Depp has so far played the part twice, in the final scenes of 2016's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and the 2018 sequel Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Until now, the intention had always been for Depp to play the role throughout the rest of the movies, but, due to the actor losing a libel lawsuit against a British tabloid which had characterized him as being a "wife beater", the studio ultimately decided to distance themselves from any incoming controversy.
"In light of recent events, I would like to make the following short statement," Depp said at the time in a statement on social media. "Firstly, 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. Secondly, 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. Finally, I wish to say this. The surreal judgement of the court in the U.K. will not change my fight to tell the truth, and I confirm that I plan to appeal. 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."
Fantastic Beasts 3 recently began filming after a production delay, with Hannibal star Mads Mikkelsen set to take over the role of Grindelwald from Depp. He joins the likes of Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, Jude Law as Dumbledore, Ezra Miller as Credence, Alison Sudol as Queenie Goldstein, Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski, and Katherine Waterston as Tina Goldstein. Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling is penning the screenplay alongside Steve Kloves, with returning director David Yates at the helm. Fantastic Beasts 3 is due to hit theaters on July 15th, 2022.
As for the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, rumblings that Disney is planning a Johnny Depp-less reboot were recently met with chastisement from Kevin McNally, who played Captain Jack Sparrow's loyal first mate Gibbs, with the actor describing the rumors of Depp's exclusion as "criminal". This comes to us from known scooper Daniel Richtman.