Johnny Depp exits Fantastic Beasts film franchise after losing his libel case

Naomi Gordon
·2-min read
Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

From Harper's BAZAAR

Johnny Depp has confirmed his exit from the Fantastic Beasts franchise, days after losing his libel case against The Sun over an article that described him as a wife beater.

The actor informed fans that he was "asked to resign" from his role as Gellert Grindelwald and had "respected that and agreed to that request".

In a statement posted on Instagram, Depp wrote: "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."

He also insisted his innocence and promised to continue his legal battle to prove it.

"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," he continued. "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."

Photo credit: Warner Bros
Photo credit: Warner Bros

Film studio Warner Bros confirmed Depp's departure and that his role would be recast.

"We thank Johnny for his work on the films to date," they said in a statement.

Depp had sued the publisher of The Sun newspaper over a 2018 article, which alleged he abused his ex-wife actress Amber Heard. The case has been described as the biggest English libel trial of the 21st century, and was widely documented by the press over the course of three weeks in July.

Mr Justice Nicol concluded: "The claimant [Depp] has not succeeded in his action for libel … The defendants [The Sun and News Group Newspapers] have shown that what they published in the meaning which I have held the words to bear was substantially true."

Depp starred as Grindelwald in 2016's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and returned in 2018's Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

The films, led by Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, are prequels to the Harry Potter films adapted from the books by JK Rowling.

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