Are Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s movie careers damaged by a lawsuit

Now that their bitter defamation lawsuit is over, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard must pick up the pieces of their careers. But how exactly they will choose to move forward — and what appetite Hollywood will have for hiring them — remains to be seen.

Six weeks of testimony over sensational allegations of domestic violence and emotional abuse have undeniably damaged public images of Depp, 58, and Heard, 36, with millions around the world following every step of the trial and taking sides. on social networks. On Wednesday, the Virginia jury found overwhelmingly in Depp’s favor, awarding him $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages for what it considered Heard’s defamatory allegations against him. (The latter was reduced by the judge to Virginia’s statutory cap of $350,000.) The jury also awarded $2 million in compensatory damages to Heard in his counterclaim.

Prior to trial, Depp boasted by far the biggest career between the two exes, having amassed more than $8 billion in worldwide box office revenue from blockbusters such as the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movies. “Alice and Wonderland” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In his lawsuit against Heard, in which he sought $50 million in damages, Depp claimed he lost tens of millions of dollars in income career because of her allegations against him.

The fact is, however, that Depp’s career had been on a downward trend even before Heard wrote the 2018 op-ed that sparked the litigation. During the trial, Depp’s former agent and business manager each testified that his unprofessional behavior — showing up late to set, relying on a headset for dialogue — as well as his reputation for substance issues had made major studios reluctant to work with the actor. In 2020, Depp was dropped by Warner Bros. of the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ franchise after losing its 2020 libel lawsuit in the UK

“I was really honest with him and said, ‘You have to stop doing this. It hurts you,'” Depp’s former agent Tracey Jacobs said of her off-screen issues, adding “His star had faded.

Indeed, even before Heard’s allegations surfaced, Depp had suffered a number of high-profile flops over the past decade, including films such as “Dark Shadows”, “Mortdecai”, “Transcendence” and ” BlackMass”. Since 2018’s ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’, he’s only appeared in three low-budget films, none of which received major domestic releases, with the most recent, ‘Minamata’, grossing just 1. .2 million worldwide.

Johnny Depp in the 2020 drama “Minamata.”

(Samuel Goldwyn Films)

Even though Hollywood has kept him at bay, however, Depp still commands an intensely loyal fan base. At this year’s Oscars, ‘Minamata’ – in which he played a photographer who documented the effects of mercury poisoning on the citizens of a Japanese town – placed third in the fan-favorite Oscar contest after that diehard Depp fans voted en masse via Twitter to show their support for the star.

Data compiled in recent weeks by insurance and finance group Spotted Media through surveys of a cross-section of hundreds of American adults found that regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit, many still want see Depp continue to act in films. Of those polled who were aware of the lawsuit, more than 86% felt that Johnny Depp should not be left out of future productions.

For Heard, the findings of the investigation were much more stark. Of those following the lawsuit, more than half of those polled said they were less interested in seeing the actress in future films, with nearly two-thirds saying they thought Heard should be removed from future productions.

Spotted Media chief executive Janet Comenos said film producers are interested in seeing what the data shows about public sentiment toward Depp and Heard as they weigh the risks of hiring the actors.

“It came up in many of our conversations with producers; they are curious to understand if there is a gap between the actions taken by the studios and the opinion of the public,” says Comenos. “I think the results show pretty clearly that Johnny Depp is extremely hireable and that it would be a risk for a production company to hire Amber Heard because of the precipitous drop in call she’s had since the start of the court case.”

At the moment, neither Depp nor Heard have many projects on the immediate horizon. While Depp has nearly two dozen projects listed as being in development on the industry site IMDb Pro, including an untitled Dr. Seuss project and an untitled Paul Revere project, it’s unclear how many are active.

Depp is currently playing a cartoon puffin in an international animated series called “Puffins Impossible” and is set to play King Louis XV in the French period drama “Jeanne du Barry,” which is being pitched to potential distributors at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes. This year.

In his lawsuit against Heard, Depp claimed he forfeited a potential $22.5 million salary he would have earned while starring in the sixth “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie. While it’s unclear what role Depp’s public controversies played in the decision, Walt Disney Studios production chief Sean Bailey said Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow would not be in the film, stating to The Hollywood Reporter in 2018 that the studio wanted to “bring new energy and vitality” to the series.

For her part, Heard — who most recently appeared in the Paramount+ limited series “The Stand” — is set to return as love interest Mera in the superhero sequel “Aquaman and the Lost.” Kingdom”, currently slated for release in March. 2023. During the trial, Heard testified that her role was “reduced” due to controversy over her domestic violence allegations against Depp. But, in separate testimony, DC Films president Walter Hamada said Heard’s role was never seen as central to the film, attributing his diminished role to a perceived lack of chemistry with the co. -starring Jason Momoa, who plays Aquaman.

As an indication of the animosity many Depp fans feel toward Heard — and their eagerness to band together online in support of the actor — a petition to remove the actress from the “Aquaman” sequel has garnered nearly 4.5 million signatures.

During the trial, Heard’s agent, Jessica Kovacevic, pointed to a role the actress lost in an Amazon Studios movie starring Gael García Bernal as evidence of the damage the controversy had done to her career, even though she admitted she couldn’t say for sure that Heard had lost work due to a backlash.

“No one can say out loud, ‘We’re taking this away from him because of this bad press,'” Kovacevic said. “But there is no other reason.”

Shortly before the start of the trial in April, Heard wrapped filming an independent period thriller titled “In the Fire,” about a late 19th-century psychiatrist who must care for a boy who seems to have special abilities.

The film does not yet have a release date. But after the murderous lawsuit between Depp and Heard, his title now has a whole new meaning.