In a new interview, actor Johnny Depp claims that he is being "boycotted by Hollywood", amid his recent controversial legal battle with ex-wife Amber Heard. Depp made the allegation in an interview with the Sunday Times, which covers the actor's career and his recent work in the historical drama Minamata. The film, which was just released in the UK, has yet to set a release date in the United States, something that Depp insinuates is due to his real-life legal drama, including the libel lawsuit he filed against British tabloid The Sun in 2018, over their coverage of allegations that he assaulted and abused Heard.
"We looked these people in the eyeballs and promised we would not be exploitative," Depp said in the interview. "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," Depp continued. "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 added.
The lawsuit, which was over The Sun referring to Depp as a "wife-beater" in a 2018 article, led to a highly-publicized trial in 2020, before Depp lost both the initial suit and the subsequent appeal. Days after the verdict, Depp resigned from his role as Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, and has since been replaced by Mads Mikkelsen.
Minamata chronicles the true story of photojournalist W. Eugene Smith (Depp), who helped expose decades of mercury poisoning caused by industrial pollution and contamination by a Japanese chemical company. This isn't the first time that someone involved with the film has claimed that it is being conspired against, as director Andrew Levitas wrote a letter criticizing the film's American distributor, MGM, which was publicly released last month. The complaint alleges that MGM exec Sam Wollman had told Levitas that the studio planned to "bury the film."
"Now, imagine the devastation when they learned this past week, that despite an already successful global roll out, MGM had decided to "bury the film" (acquisitions head Mr. Sam Wollman's words) because MGM was concerned about the possibility that the personal issues of an actor in the film could reflect negatively upon them and that from MGM's perspective the victims and their families were secondary to this," Levitas' letter reads. in part. "In a stark reminder of The Chisso Corporation's actions in Minamata and far too many other large corporations' unethical tactics, MGM stated that it would live up to its "legal obligation" and nothing more. In doing so, MGM is making a conscious decision to hurt these innocents yet again, callously trampling on their lives, their legacy, their dead loved ones, and their bravery."