Johnny Depp, who headlines Harry Potter prequel series Fantastic Beasts for studio Warner Bros., reportedly tried to have ex-wife Amber Heard dropped from her role as Mera in James Wan’s Aquaman.
As multiple deposition notices are served to several top attorneys and executives in connection with a lawsuit filed by Depp against former representative Jake Bloom, a report from THR reveals recently-exited Warner Bros. chairman Kevin Tsujihara will be tapped to testify under oath about any role he may have played in “blacklisting” Heard at the studio.
According to THR’s writeup, Depp is alleged to have “personally lobbied” Tsujihara to cut Heard from Aquaman and prevent her from getting other roles in Warner Bros.-backed projects.
Bloom’s legal team has mounted a defense to battle Depp’s suit claiming Bloom gave the star bad advice regarding his split from Heard. The couple finalized their divorce in January 2017.
As THR notes, this lawsuit is separate from the $50 million defamation suit Depp filed against Heard in March, in which Depp claimed Heard’s headline-making abuse allegations were an elaborate hoax. In court documents obtained last month, Depp’s camp argued Heard’s allegations were “conclusively refuted by two separate responding police officers, a litany of neutral third-party witnesses, and 87 newly obtained surveillance camera videos.”
In addition to accusing Heard of public deception, Depp claimed he was abused by his ex-wife. Depp cited an incident that saw Depp deflect a glass bottle thrown by Heard that left Depp in need of surgery to reattach a severed finger.
Depp’s defamation suit centered around a Washington Post op-ed penned by Heard in which the actress “purported to write from the perspective of ‘a public figure representing domestic abuse,’” per lawsuit documents. “Following my highly-publicized separation from Johnny ... I lost a part for a movie in which I had already been cast,” Heard wrote in the piece.
Beyond that unnamed role, Heard wrote, “Questions arose as to whether I would be able to keep my role of Mera in the movies Justice League and Aquaman.”
THR notes the deposition requests “do not offer evidence Tsujihara took action to prevent Heard from securing roles in Warners movies,” explaining it would have been “extremely difficult” to oust Heard from Aquaman after she made her debut as Mera in Justice League, where she was cast by original director Zack Snyder.
That film had already entered into production by April 2016, more than a month ahead of Heard’s divorce filing and her subsequent temporary restraining order against Depp.
Citing industry gossip and a source, Page Six previously reported the bitter court battle and its revelations have Warner executives “extremely worried” about Depp and his continued major role in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, where he serves as leading villain Grindelwald.
“Executives at Warner Bros. are wondering how to deal with the backlash of the Depp matter on the Harry Potter franchise,” the source said.
“High-level female execs at the studio are extremely worried about working with Depp and the message it sends to the public, especially after the recent sordid departure of CEO Kevin Tsujihara. This is yet another blow to the morale of female employees at the studio. If Warner Bros. continues to stick by Depp, it would reveal a lot about the values the company holds.”
November’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the sophomore entry in the franchise, grossed $653 million worldwide, emerging as the lowest-grossing entry in the Wizarding World franchise. Aquaman, released in December, won $1.14 billion worldwide to become the first DC Comics-inspired film to earn more than a billion since 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises and the highest-grossing DC film.
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