Johnny Depp’s victory in his lawsuit against Amber Heard, and her victory in one of the counts of her lawsuit against him, may have ended the couple’s six-week show trading bitter and often alarming allegations of abuse and assault. Now, however, attention will turn to the aftermath, including the possible consequences for their careers.
In fact, the future prospects of each actor were central to the trial itself: it meant pointing out that the legal action was not a criminal case, or a child custody battle, but for slander in which each side tried to show that their reputation was so. damaged by the other that it damaged their career and earning potential. Both Depp and Heard called witnesses to testify to the impact the other allegations had on precisely this issue, and a witness put considerations of each star’s career status into the public arena.
Depp launched this infamous act after Heard published an article in the Washington Post in 2018 in which she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse,” without mentioning Depp’s name; Heard sued, also for slander, and both claimed lost contracts and income.
The lawsuit exposed the short-term consequences for the careers of both actors in what offered rare insights into Hollywood’s internal workings. Depp’s agent Jack Whigham described the impact of Heard’s article as “disastrous” for Depp’s career, testifying that the actor missed the opportunity to appear in the sixth episode of the Pirates of the Caribbean series for which he would earn $ 23 million. Another witness, auditor Michael Spindler, said Depp lost about $ 40 million as a result of Heard’s allegations. Depp also resigned of the third Fantastic Beasts film after he lost a slanderous act against the Sun in 2020 after the newspaper called him a “wife batter”.
Heard, too, said that her career was badly hit by Depp’s accusationssaying she had to “fight” to retain her role as Mera in the sequel to the 2018 superhero film Aquaman and that she has been cast in just one other film in the last two years.
In both cases, however, industry figures suggested that other factors played a role in the reduction of his acting work. Depp’s former agent, Tracey Jacobs, testified that his future involvement in Pirates of the Caribbean 6 was already at risk due to his “behavior,” including a delay on acting: “Crews don’t like to sit around for hours and hours and hours waiting for the star to appear.” Moreover, Depp confessed while being cross-examined by Heard’s lawyer that he would not work on a new Pirates movie even if it were offered.
Conversely, senior Hollywood executive Walter Hamada, president of Warner Bros. DC Films, testified that Heard’s role in Aquaman 2 was reduced due to a “lack of chemistry” between her and the film’s star, Jason Momoa.
In fact, the delivery of a verdict is not likely to drastically improve the future prospects of either. Major Hollywood studios will take care of hiring an actor with so many distressing abuse allegations against him and that’s why Depp – by far the most successful and high-profile actor of the two – is unlikely to find work in a big-budget feature film in the foreseeable future. manpower is increasingly active and may well refuse to work on a Depp project, as Hatchette did with Woody Allen’s autobiography.
However, the same strikes will not apply to independent producers: the examples of Mel Gibson and Kevin Spacey show that it is possible for actors to continue to secure roles in smaller-scale films despite being mired in scandal. Throughout his career, Depp has always shown a predilection for smaller, unusual films and will no doubt continue to make them albeit by charging reduced fees. Inevitably, perhaps, the large number of ardent supporters of Depp on social media would lead producers to conclude that a market for Depp’s product definitely exists.
Heard, on the other hand, is in a different position: her acting career has largely consisted of a string of supporting roles, with occasional leads in smaller films such as the 2006 All the Boys Love Mandy Lane. Her most recent lead role, as Nicola Six in the Martin Amis adaptation London Fields, collapsed into disgrace after the director and producers fell out and launched lawsuits against each other, with Heard also sued by the producers, reaching a compromise in 2018. Heard’s acting career has been bolstered by her association with Depp (though she firmly rejected claims that Depp “got her” the role in Aquaman), and as that bond severed her career momentum consequently diminished.
Heard’s long-standing sincere defense of victims of domestic abuse is more likely to be the key to her future activities: as with, for example, actor and activist Rose McGowan, she now has a considerably higher profile as an activist than actor and may well wish. to concentrate her efforts in that sphere.
Depp still has considerable support in Hollywood, though few are ready to sign up. One intern told the Guardian, “I think he’ll work again. People love him and with the right project, he can still open a movie.” However, the situation for Depp may well change if, as with Spacey, criminal charges are filed against him as a result of Heard’s allegations of assault.