Warner Bros. executives are allegedly “freaking out” about the harm that Johnny Depp’s continued legal troubles is having on the Fantastic Beasts franchise.
Sources close to Page Six added, “High-level female execs at the studio are extremely worried about working with Depp and the message it sends to the public, especially after the recent sordid departure of CEO Kevin Tsujihara,” who was forced to step down after it was claimed he promised actress’ roles in exchange for sex.
“This is yet another blow to the morale of female employees at the studio,” the insider continued. “If Warner Bros. continues to stick by Depp, it would reveal a lot about the values the company holds.”
Recent court documents filed by Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard go into detail about how the Academy Award nominated actor physically and mentally abused her during their relationship. Depp denies the abuse.
But ahead of Fantastic Beasts 3, the prequel to the Harry Potter franchise that will see Depp reprise his role as the villainous Grindelwald, the powers that be at Warner Bros are reportedly “wondering how to deal with the backlash of the Depp matter.”
Those at the studio also wish that Rowling hadn’t backed Depp when the allegations first emerged, as making “her opinion so public boxes them into a corner.”
In regards to Depp and Heard’s divorce agreement, Rowling wrote that it had “been put in place to protect the privacy of two people, both of whom have expressed a desire to get on with their lives, [which] must be respected.”
“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.”
Warner Bros have a little bit more time to make a decision on Depp’s’s future, as even though Rowling has finished the script for Fantastic Beasts 3, filming has been delayed to the autumn of 2020, while it won’t hit cinemas now until 2021.