The studio behind J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter spin-off book adaptions is reportedly ‘freaking out’ that documents leaked Thursday from Johnny Depp’s defamation lawsuit against ex Amber Heard could seriously harm the success of their movies.
The actress claims Depp – who plays Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts 3 – ‘beat, choked and tormented her’.
And a source at Warner Bros. has alleged they’re eager to disassociate themselves with the star, but his casting has had strong backing from the book’s author.
‘Executives at Warner Bros. are wondering how to deal with the backlash of the Depp matter on the Harry Potter franchise,’ a source told Page Six.
‘High-level female execs at the studio are extremely worried about working with Depp and the message it sends to the public.’
Warner Bros. is reportedly ‘freaking out’ about Johnny Depp lawsuit claims. Documents filed in court Thursday by ex Amber Heard (pictured November 2015) allege domestic abuse
Depp plays Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts 3 but studio source claims they’re reluctant to disassociate themselves with actor
The insider explained that allegations about abuse from Depp has piled on the pressure – especially after CEO Kevin Tsujihara left in March following an aleged casting couch scandal.
Page Six reports employees suspect Rowling’s choice to move past initial allegations against the actor might have something to do with the Warner Bros. stance on the November 2020 motion picture.
‘This is yet another blow to the morale of female employees at the studio,’ the source said. ‘If Warner Bros. continues to stick by Depp, it would reveal a lot about the values the company holds.
‘Many at Warner Bros. wish that Rowling hadn’t come out so strongly behind Depp, because having made her opinion so public boxes them into a corner.’
Rowling wrote on her website in December 2017 that she was ‘deeply concerned’ about stories in the press when Depp was cast in the first motion picture and acknowledged questions from Harry Potter fans about their choice to continue with Johnny Depp in the role.
‘As David Yates, long-time Potter director, has already said, we naturally considered the possibility of recasting. I understand why some have been confused and angry about why that didn’t happen,’ Rowling wrote online.
‘For me personally, the inability to speak openly to fans about this issue has been difficult, frustrating and at times painful. However, the agreements that have been put in place to protect the privacy of two people, both of whom have expressed a desire to get on with their lives, must be respected.
The company is reportedly concerned film won’t do well and that female employees won’t feel supported
‘Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the filmmakers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting, but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies.’
But Harry Potter spin-off book author J.K. Rowling praised Depp as Grindelwald in 2017
Rowling added that she ‘can’t wait’ for fans to see third installment The Crimes of Grindelwald.
‘I accept that there will be those who are not satisfied with our choice of actor in the title role,’ Rowling continued. ‘However, conscience isn’t governable by committee. Within the fictional world and outside it, we all have to do what we believe to be the right thing.’
Depp’s lawyer, Adam Waldman, has maintained that that Heard is orchestrating ‘a hoax’ as she insists the man she filed for divorce from in May 2016, tried to choke her.
‘Ms. Heard has a new problem besides defamation, perjury and filing and receiving a fraudulent temporary restraining order demand with the court: We are now interviewing other women who have come forward claiming they are victims of horrific acts of violence and other abuse at the hands of Amber Heard, in addition to Johnny Depp and Tasya van Rhee, the latter of whom Ms. Heard was previously arrested and incarcerated for assaulting,’ Waldman said in a statement to The New York Post Thursday.
‘We have now issued subpoenas to Amber Heard, her hoax assisting friends, Elon Musk and other witnesses to explain the avalanche of video, audio, photographic and testimonial evidence with which we intend to confront them.’
Some of the text messages Depp sent Heard during their turbulent relationship have been obtained by DailyMail.com.
In the texts, sent in May 25, 2014, he taunted her for filming The Adderall Diaries with James Franco, a movie she said she needed to take part in for the paycheck.
The exchange occurred at a time when, Heard claims, Depp had returned to drinking and using drugs. They met when he was sober, she says.
Heard and James Franco are shown filming The Adderall Diaries, a movie which Depp did not approve of and taunted her for making, text messages between he and Heard reveal
The texts started the day after Depp allegedly hit and kicked Heard on board a private jet. She called him Steve in her phone and he had her number saved as Slim
Heard, who was 28 at the time, said she needed to take the movie to support her family and herself but Depp was uncomfortable with it
Heard claims Depp kicked her in the back and hit her repeatedly on a flight.
His number was saved under ‘Steve’ in her phone and hers was saved under ‘Slim’ in his to try to protect their privacy, she explains in the documents.
In one exchange he told her about her decision to star in The Adderall Diaries in 2015, the year they married: ‘Were you hoping for my opinion on the James Franco piece??
This March 2013 text is what Depp allegedly said to Heard after hitting her for the first time. He called her a ‘c**t’
‘I’d rather you didn’t stoop to that level, but… you’ve already told me how much you like the material and that it’s not a money gig… So… it’s ‘art’… I’m not gonna tackle that greased up piggy….No m’am…You have to do that film!!! You really want it, obviously… I’m going to sleep. Goodnight…’
In other messages she exchanged with Depp that were included in court documents filed this week, he called himself a ‘f*****g savage’.
Other messages included in the documents Heard filed in court on Thursday are between her and nurses who were tasked with caring for Depp.
‘Issue has arisen again….he took the meds about 30 mins ago… all the sudden he’s flipping again.
‘Just started screaming. Don’t know what else to do. Sorry to keep at you guys.’
The nurse offered to come over and Heard took her up on her offer.
She then sent another message saying: ‘He works himself into a rage without any provocation.’
There are also texts between Heard and friends and neighbors where she apologizes for Depp and say she is ‘f****d up’.
In other messages, sent in December 2014 after a different fight, he said: ‘I’ve let it go’ then called himself a f*****g savage
She talks about him head butting her and him saying he just gave her a ‘knock on the head’.
Those texts were in December 2017 after him pulling clumps of hair from her head and leaving a hole in her scalp, she said.
Heard is trying to have Depp’s $50million defamation lawsuit against her dropped.
He claims it was defamatory for her to write in an op-ed for The Washington Post about being the victim of domestic abuse.
She did not name him in the piece and has never publicly spoken about how she says he abused her.
His attorneys say she is lying and that she has fabricated all of the evidence including photographs of damaged homes, text exchanged between multiple people and photographs of her injuries.
These are the messages she exchanged with friend Rocky Pennington on December 21, 2015, days after a different alleged assault