1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Johnny Depp drops out of 'Fantastic Beasts'

November 6, 2020

Hollywood star Johnny Depp said he was asked to leave the "Fantastic Beasts" franchise after losing a case against a UK tabloid that claimed he beat his wife. The actor has also pledged to appeal the "surreal" ruling.

USA Johnny Depps Prozess
Image: Yui Mok/empics/picture alliance

Warner Bros. has announced it will recast Johnny Depp's character in the upcoming Fantastic Beasts movie, where the Hollywood star was set to reprise the role of evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald. Depp had portrayed Grindelwald in the two previous installments of the franchise.

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

The 57-year-old actor also said he was "asked to resign" from the role.

"I have respected and agreed to this request," Depp said in a statement on Instagram.

Depp in character as Gellert Grindelwald
Depp's character, Gellert Grindelwald, featured prominently in the last 'Fantastic Beasts' movieImage: Warner Bros./Heyday Films/imago images

Depp decries 'surreal judgment'

The move comes just days after the actor lost a high-profile court case involving his ex-wife Amber Heard and the UK tabloid, The Sun. Depp and Heard divorced in 2017 and have since accused each other of being abusive.

Depp sued the newspaper over a 2018 article that described him as a "wife beater." Earlier this week, however, the actor lost the libel case, with the London High Court finding that the article "substantially true."

In his statement on Friday, Depp said he would continue his efforts to prove the allegations are false.

"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 said. "My life and career will not be defined by this moment in time.''

Depp is also suing his ex-wife over a separate article in The Washington Post, claiming Heard implied he was violent to her.

Decadeslong career

The US actor scored his first hit with the 1984 horror film A Nightmare on Elm Street and has since starred in dozens of high-profile movies, including Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. His first appearance as Grindelwald was a brief scene in 2016 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,  followed by Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald in 2018. The next movie is set to be released in 2022.

The franchise is set in the same universe as the Harry Potter movies, which are based on the books by British author J. K. Rowling.

dj/sms (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)