Johnny Depp is addressing what he calls “Hollywood’s boycott of… me” in his first interview since losing his libel suit, and subsequent efforts to appeal it, against British tabloid The Sun over its characterization of him as a “wife beater.”
With yet another legal battle scheduled for next April — he’s suing ex-wife Amber Heard in a $50 million defamation suit stemming from her 2018 Washington Post op-ed about domestic abuse — the 58-year-old actor is prevented from speaking about the case or his relationship with the Aquaman actress. But during his Zoom sit-down with the Sunday Times he did open up about the “surreal five years” he’s had since being accused of abuse, including fallout from the Hollywood community.
After losing his libel suit last fall, Depp announced that he was “asked to resign” from the Fantastic Beasts franchise; Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen has since been to cast replace him as Grindelwald. As the Times notes, Depp’s new film, Minamata, won’t be released in the U.S.; the decision prompted its director, Andrew Levitas, to accuse distributor MGM of bowing to pressure and worrying that “the personal issues of an actor in the film could reflect negatively upon them.”
Depp — who plays real-life photographer W. Eugene Smith, who documented the mercury poisoning of Japanese villagers in the early 1970s, in the film — says his own woes are “like getting scratched by a kitten” compared to those poisoning victims, or “people who suffered with COVID.” But he appears to resent that his association with the film, which he also produced, is resulting in not getting the attention he feels it deserves.
“Some films touch people,” the actor — who the Times notes “talks in riddles” — says. “And this affects those in Minamata and people who experience similar things. And for anything… [pause] for Hollywood’s boycott of, erm, me? One man, one actor in an unpleasant and messy situation, over the last number of years?”
He later says that he’s now trying to “bring things to light.”
Elsewhere, Depp refers to his fall from grace as an “absurdity of media mathematics.”
“Whatever I’ve gone through, I’ve gone through,” he adds. “But, ultimately, this particular arena of my life has been so absurd…”
Despite the headlines and lost gigs, the actor hasn’t completely fallen out of favor. Just last week it was announced that the San Sebastian Film Festival would be giving him its highest honor, the Donostia Award, on Sept. 22; the festival’s director also defended Depp after a group of Spanish women filmmakers decried the tribute. The Edward Scissorhands star has also continued to receive support from his fanbase, who last year unsuccessfully petitioned to have Heard recast in the Aquaman sequel.
“They have always been my employers,” he says of his fans. “They are all our employers. They buy tickets, merchandise. They made all of those studios rich, but they forgot that a long time ago. I certainly haven’t. I’m proud of these people, because of what they are trying to say, which is the truth. The truth they’re trying to get out since it doesn’t in more mainstream publications. It’s a long road that sometimes gets clunky. Sometimes just plain stupid. But they stayed on the ride with me and it’s for them I will fight. Always, to the end. Whatever it may be.”