Depp ‘will be a leader again’
Following graphic allegations of abuse, vicious brawl recordings and nasty text message spreads, Will Hollywood be ready to welcome Johnny Depp or Amber Heard back?
Depp, the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ star, says an American jury restored his life when he awarded her a near total victory in his libel fight with his ex-wife Heard on Wednesday.
Jurors upheld Depp’s three claims that Heard defamed him and awarded him more than $10 million in damages. Heard won a counterclaim that Depp’s lawyer defamed her. The jury awarded Heard $2 million.
Verdicts have a cost. For six weeks, the televised trial provided startling details of a troubled marriage and the evidence that Depp and Heard admitted was embarrassing.
Still, Depp should be offered new movie roles now that the US jury has backed it after a years-long legal battle, said Clayton Davis, awards editor at Hollywood publication Variety.
“I think Johnny Depp will work again. He is going to have a big project“Davis said after the verdict, noting that Hollywood offers many examples of stars who have recovered from very public scandals. Robert Downey Jr., Mel Gibson, Hugh Grant, Roman Polanski and others have found new opportunities after serious allegations of inappropriate behavior, criminal convictions or missteps.
Kevin Spacey has starred in a handful of independent films after being accused in 2018 of sexual misconduct, which he denies.
“We have a culture that allows these people to work again“, said Davis. Less than two years ago, Depp lost a libel suit in Britain against the tabloid Sun, which called him a “wife beater”.
A London High Court judge has ruled that Depp repeatedly assaulted Heard. Shortly thereafter, Depp was dropped from the “Fantastic Beasts” film franchise, a “Harry Potter” spin-off.
Lawyer Neama Rahmani called the US lawsuit a ‘public relations genius’ by Depp and his team rebuild his reputation and his career. On the witness stand, Depp”was friendly. He was believable. He was charismatic. He was charming“, said Rahmani.
Depp denied ever hitting Heard, while she admitted to slapping Depp but said it was only to defend herself or her sister.
Juda Engelmayer, a crisis communications expert who represents Harvey Weinstein and others, said he believes Depp’s strong fan support on social media throughout the trial will strengthen his standing in Hollywood.
Producers ‘look at the millions of people who have rallied behind him, who have signed petitions against Amber Heard, and they’re going to say’are they ready to come to the cinema and pay at the box office?'” said Engelmayer. “I think they will test it.”
Lawsuit revelations could prevent Depp from playing in family fareEngelmayer said, although he predicted Depp “will be a top man again.”
Heard, who has a much lesser Hollywood background, was vilified on social media throughout the trial, but Engelmayer thinks she too will be offered new acting opportunities.
Before the trial, Heard filmed his role in “Aquaman 2”, scheduled for release in March 2023.
Engelmayer said he believes a the ‘socially conscious’ filmmaker will offer Heard at least a small role to give a fresh start to a woman who went public with allegations of abuse.
Given the MeToo movement of recent years, Hollywood would be considered ‘hypocritical’, Engelmayer said“if they don’t give him a role and give him an opportunity again.”