Johnny Depp’s talent agent took the stand this week with claims that Amber Heard’s 2018 op-ed about being a survivor of domestic abuse was “catastrophic” to the actor’s movie career.
Jack Whigham, Depp’s talent manager from Creative Artists Agency, detailed the ways in which Heard’s opinion piece for Washington Post sullied the actor’s reputation and led to the cancellation of a sixth Pirates of the Caribbean movie which would have seen the actor pocketing $22.5 million to reprise his role as Captain Jack Sparrow.
Depp, 58, is suing his 36-year-old ex-wife for $50 million claiming that Heard’s op-ed, while not naming him, irreparably damaged his career.
“After the op-ed, it was impossible to get him a studio film,” Whigham said.
Depp’s agent said the actor had a verbal deal in place for Pirates 6, but that in 2019 producers opted to go in a “different direction.” It was later announced that actress Margot Robbie would lead an all-female reboot written by birds of prey screenwriter Christina Hodson.
In her initial divorce filing in 2016, Heard alleged she was abused. But after their 15-month marriage came to an end, Heard pocketed $7 million and withdrew her request for protection from Depp.
“Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love,” the pair said in a joint statement at the time. “There was never an attempt of physical or emotional harm.”
Whigham said Depp continued to work after the splitlanding an $8 million payday for City of Lies$10 million for Murder on the Orient Express and $13.5 million for playing the villain in the Harry Potter spin off Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
Depp, who hasn’t worked since 2019, made $3 million for Minamata and $1 million for Waiting for the Barbarians.
But under cross-examination, Whigham admitted that there was no contract in place for a sixth Pirates movie.
“I have not seen ‘$22 million’ written down on a page, you’re correct about that,” he said.
During his testimony, Depp said that he was open to making more Pirates movies and that he wanted to give the character a “proper goodbye.”
Hollywood attorney Richard Marks also took the stand to further detail how Heard’s opinion piece essentially ended Depp’s ability to land acting jobs.
“You wouldn’t want negativity hiring an actor who quote-unquote had been cancelled,” Marks said.
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Douglas Bania, an expert in intellectual property damages, testified that Depp’s public image took a hit after the publication of Heard’s article. People “like him less,” he said.
Heard’s lawyers have pointed to Depp’s antics outside of his marriage that lead to the effective cancellation of his career, including his battles with drugs and alcohol and his eccentric behaviour.
For his part, Depp maintains that he never hit Heard and has alleged she was the abuser during their relationship, which began after the pair met while filming 2011’s The Rum Diary.
Several key witnesses have bolstered his claim, including Malcolm Connolly, one of Depp’s bodyguards, who recounted instances where Heard berated him calling him a “f—ing coward.” He also said that he noticed that Heard seemed to want to “wear the pants” in marriage.
“It’s not my business I just do my job, but I could see he’s not happy,” Connolly said, according to Newsweek. Commenting on bruises visible on Depp’s face, he said, “He’s walked into a door, or a door’s walked into him.”
Travis McGivern, another one of Depp’s security team, recounted several instances in which Heard was verbally and physically abusive with one exchange leaving the actor with a “nice little shiner.”
According to the new york postMcGivern said Heard called the father of two a “deadbeat dad” and a “f—ing c—.”
“You name it, she spewed it,” he said.
McGivern also testified how during one fight, Heard struck Depp in the face. “The initial look on (Depp’s) face kind of mirrored mine,” he said. “Like, ‘What just happened? Where did that come from?’”
Earlier in the trial, Depp revealed that he hid from Heard during an allegedly violent exchange while the couple lived in Australia in 2015 during the filming of the fifth Pirates movie.
“The house they’d rented for me in Australia was quite a large place. I think I ended up locking myself in at least nine bedrooms, bathrooms that day as she was banging on the doors and screaming obscenities and wanting to have a physical altercation,” Depp said, according to the post.
During his testimony last week, Depp denied ever hitting his former wife and said at the beginning of the trial that he is suing Heard in a bid to “clear my name.”
But in 2020, Depp lost a libel case against Britain’s The Sun after it called him a “wife-beater.”
After three weeks of hearings, High Court judge Andrew Nicol concluded Depp had violently assaulted his ex-wife, putting her in fear of her life.
Heard outlined 14 instances of violence when she said the actor choked, punched, slapped, head-butted, throttled and kicked her, with Nicol finding 12 of her accounts to be true.
Depp’s attempt to appeal the verdict in 2021 was denied.
On Tuesday, judge Penny Azcarate denied Heard’s bid to have the case tossed saying that sufficient evidence had been presented by Depp’s lawyers to keep the suit ongoing.
According to dead lineAzcarate noted that “if there is a scintilla of evidence that a reasonable juror could weigh, then the matter survives a motion to strike.”
Heard is expected to testify Wednesday.