Johnny Depp’s role as villain Gellert Grindelwald in the “Harry Potter” prequel series is being recast after he lost a libel suit that would have cleared his name as a villain in real life.
Depp was asked to resign from his starring role in 2022’s “Fantastic Beasts 3,” which is currently in production, after he lost his highly publicized lawsuit against British tabloid The Sun.
The actor sued the newspaper’s publishers and executive editor Dan Wootton over an April 2018 article that labeled him a “wife beater” for allegedly assaulting his then wife, “Aquaman” actress Amber Heard.
Ugly details from the couple’s marriage emerged in trial, including Depp’s alleged propensity to become abusive after his frequent drug and alcohol binges.
Heard accused the actor of “punching, slapping, kicking, head-butting and choking” her at various points in their relationship. “Some incidents were so severe that I was afraid he was going to kill me, either intentionally or just by losing control and going too far,” she testified.
On Monday the British High Court said while Depp had proved his cause for the suit in court, the defendants had been able to demonstrate “what they published in the meaning which I have held the words to bear was substantially true.”
Warner Brothers released a statement confirming that Depp’s role would be recast. “Johnny Depp will depart the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ franchise. We thank Johnny for his work on the films to date.”
The actor responded to the news in a lengthy Instagram post on Friday. “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 posted.
He thanked his supporters and announced plans to appeal the “surreal judgment” against him. “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.”
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