Johnny Depp, still reeling from what he calls a “surreal” court loss in his United Kingdom libel case this week, is out as dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in Warner Bros’ “Fantastic Beasts” film franchise.
The actor revealed the news Friday in an Instagram post.
“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,” Depp wrote in a short statement. He also thanked fans for their “love and concern.”
“The surreal judgement of the court in the UK will not change my fight to tell the truth and I confirm that I plan to appeal,” he continued.
“My resolve remains strong and I intend to prove that the allegations against me are false. My life and career will not be defined by this moment in time.”
A Warner Bros spokesperson confirmed the casting news Friday, saying, “We thank Johnny for his work on the films to date. ‘Fantastic Beasts 3’ is currently in production, and the role of Gellert Grindelwald will be recast.”
Depp played Grindelwald in 2016’s ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ and 2018’s ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,’ both of which starred Eddie Redmayne as novelist JK Rowling’s quirky “magizoologist” Newt Scamander.
The 57-year-old ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ star had been scheduled to return in the magical franchise’s third instalment, originally due out in November 2021. But that was before he lost his libel case earlier this week against a British tabloid that labelled him a “wife beater” in a 2018 article.
The court’s decision Monday came after a trial in which Depp and ex-wife Amber Heard, 34, presented scandalous conflicting testimony about their turbulent years together — testimony that included admissions of heavy drug use by Depp and allegations of violence on both sides.
One media lawyer said earlier this week that the trial had left both performers’ reputations “tarnished irrevocably.” Depp and Heard’s divorce was finalised in 2017.
‘Fantastic Beasts 3’ now is expected to debut worldwide in summer 2022, Warner Bros said Friday.
Meanwhile, Heard and Depp will face off again in a US court next year over a domestic violence article she wrote for The Washington Post. Depp is seeking $50 million (Dh183.6 million) in damages.