After Johnny Depp was forced to exit the Fantastic Beasts franchise after his disastrous U.K. libel lawsuit loss — he asked for “vindication” over an article from The Sun that labeled him as a “wife beater,” and the court handed him the opposite of vindication by ruling that Heard’s several accounts of physical assault by Depp were “substantially true” — he managed to still keep his whole salary (eight figures) for the film. However, he’s not faring as well with an upcoming movie, as revealed by the Hollywood Reporter.
In a feature that deep-dives into “radioactive” Depp’s career implosion, the former Pirates of the Caribbean frontman gains even more of a bad look. Transcripts of his text conversations, in which he insulted Elon Musk’s manhood and tried to drag Paul Bettany into helping him “burn” Amber Heard (who he called a “50 cent stripper”), are really something. Then there’s a discussion of Depp’s salary on Minemata, which was “likely intended as a creative reset” but “appears to be something of a career humbling.” Depp started with a relatively low salary compared to his blockbuster movies, and then producers decided to cut that salary in half because financiers weren’t thrilled over a lawsuit, in which Depp was accused of punching a crew member on another film set:
Depp was to be paid $6 million — light-years from the $40 million he earned on each of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies after profit participation, but financiers became skittish about even that figure after a lawsuit filed by a crewmember on the actor’s City of Lies, a crime drama about the unsolved murders of The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur that was pulled before its September 2018 release by distributor Global Road Entertainment. (The crewmember claimed an intoxicated Depp punched him twice on set.) Depp’s Minamata salary was cut in half, and the film was shot in Romania instead of a more authentic-looking but also more expensive Asian locale, as originally envisioned.
The Minamata production itself sounds like a hot mess with Depp demanding “a personal sound technician to handle his earpiece needs — ‘so he doesn’t have to learn lines'” and three personal assistants (including one who was paid $200,000-a-year). The salary slashing went down in 2018, and the film went unsold for two years before MGM’s American International Pictures label picked it up in late 2020.
As for the City Of Lies-related lawsuit in question, The Wrap previously obtained legal documents, in which Depp’s attorneys don’t admit to the punching but still claim that location manager Gregg “Rocky” Brooks “provoked” actions that led to his injuries. This is some strange language, which appears to be a self-defense claim by Depp?
“The acts complained of by Plaintiff were provoked by Plaintiff’s unlawful and wrongful conduct in that Plaintiff willfully and maliciously acted out and conducted his activities in such a manner as to cause, Defendant Depp to fear for his safety, and according to Defendant Depp’s observations, Defendant Brad Furman for his safety.”
The full Hollywood Reporter piece on Depp’s career implosion is worth a read, if you’ve got a hankering to see how Depp has steadily torpedoed all chances for a comeback.
(Via Hollywood Reporter)