A big payday. Johnny Depp‘s agent claimed that the actor would have received a huge sum for a sixth Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
Jack Whigham, who represented the Oscar nominee, 58, at Creative Artists Agency and later at Range Media Partners, testified on Monday, May 2, that his client would have made $22.5 million for a sixth Pirates movie. The agent claimed that Amber Heard‘s December 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post led Disney to go “in a different direction” with the franchise.
The Edward Scissorhands star and the Aquaman actress, 36, are in the midst of court proceedings related to a defamation lawsuit Depp filed against Heard in early 2019 over the Washington Post essay. Heard wrote about being a survivor of domestic abuse in the piece, but she did not mention her ex-husband by name.
“After the op-ed it was impossible to get him a studio film,” Whigham testified on Monday, claiming that the essay had a detrimental impact on Depp’s career. “It was a first-person account coming from the victim. It became a death-knell catastrophic thing for Mr. Depp in the Hollywood community.”
Last month, the Dark Shadows actor claimed that Disney dropped him from a planned Pirates sequel after Heard published her essay. In cross-examination, however, an attorney for the Magic Mike XXL star asked Depp about a Daily Mail report from October 2018 that claimed the actor was “out as Jack Sparrow.”
The Kentucky native told the court that he had not seen the Daily Mail article, which appeared two months before his ex-wife published her op-ed. “I wasn’t aware of that, but it doesn’t surprise me,” he testified in April. “Two years had gone by of constant worldwide talk about me being this wife beater. So I’m sure that Disney was trying to cut ties to be safe. The #MeToo movement was in full swing at that point.”
Heard, for her part, is expected to take the stand for the first time later this week after switching crisis management firms. The New York Post reported on Sunday, May 1, that the Texas native recently dropped Precision Strategies and hired Shane Communications instead.
The defamation lawsuit is separate from Depp’s libel suit against the U.K. newspaper The Sun, which was decided in November 2020. The Blow actor filed the lawsuit against the outlet in June 2018 after the paper referred to him as a “wife beater” in an article about the Fantastic Beasts film series.
England’s High Court of Justice eventually ruled that the article was not libelous because the allegations against Depp were “substantially true.” Shortly after the verdict, Depp exited the third Fantastic Beasts film, subtitled The Secrets of Dumbledore.
“I wish to let you know that I have been asked to resign by Warner Bros. from my role as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and I have respected and agreed to that request,” he wrote via Instagram at the time. Mads Mikkelsen replaced him in the movie, which hit theaters last month.