Johnny Depp and Amber Heard: will their careers stand the test?

CNN spoke to six entertainment industry experts about the story, some of whom spoke in the background to protect the professional relationship.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect before he took the position and if anything, I believe it only helped his public image,” the source said.

Another leading Hollywood publicist who did not work with either Depp or Heard said that none of their images performed well.

“Both are extremely dysfunctional. Money is poisonous and greed is destructive. Nobody wins here,” said the publicist.

“forgiving” industry

Naturally, both actors have hurdles to overcome once their legal battle is over.

Hurd verified that Depp had verbally and physically abused her. She also accused Depp of sexual abuse during their relationship.
Depp has stated several times in the stands that he has never hit a woman, denied Heard’s allegations of sexual assault, and has called himself a victim of domestic abuse by Heard, which she denies.

Depp and Heard met in 2009 on the set of their film The Rum Diary and were married from 2015 to 2016 before divorcing.

Photographs and audio and video recordings paint a picture of two people in a relationship that has been described as “mutually abusive” by Laurel Anderson, a clinical psychologist who worked with Depp and Heard in 2015 as their marriage counselor, in testimony played on 14 April. (To illustrate how contentious the trial was, the witness’ use of the term itself drew criticism.)

entertainment officer Darryl Marshak believes that film studios may — at least initially — be hesitant to engage with actors involved in the controversy that has played out so publicly.

“Robert Downey Jr. got an Oscar and then told the world about his personal business and people recoiled,” said Marshak, who has previously represented stars like Leonardo DiCaprio and Hilary Swank. “I think Hollywood is a strange place. When you air out your dirty laundry in front of the car, the executives, all the people who make the parts move, they kind of recoil from the hot flame.

Depp claims that Heard’s 2018 article, in which she called herself “a public figure representing domestic violence,” slandered him. He has appeared in two films since publication that does not mention his name: Waiting for the Barbarians and Minamata, both independent films.

Heard, whose counterclaim alleges she was defamed by Depp’s lawyer, who called her abuse allegations a “hoax”, will appear in the Aquaman sequel, which is scheduled for release in 2023.

Marshak said he believes Depp’s “incredible talent” will get him back on the screen.

“Hollywood is also forgiving and as it moves forward this thing is off air and Johnny can smoothly get back into the business. I think he will reappear,” he said. “Hollywood is a fickle place.”

Depp and Heard’s lawyers’ courtroom performance — a live-streamed trial followed by millions — could also influence the industry’s attitude towards the two stars.

“Around the world, people seem to have become polarized with the lawsuit, we watched it unfold in the press until it culminated in the courtroom,” Amanda K. Ruizi, founder and president of AKR Public Relations & AKR Ventures, told CNN.

Ruizi believes that Depp’s representatives were more effective.

“Mr. Depp’s legal and strategic communications team has done an incredible job delivering a consistent message in the courtroom and through the media, which I believe has helped build the support of his fans.”

Not that Depp’s supporters needed a push. The scales of justice on social media are tilting heavily in his favor, so much so that the imbalance has made headlines wonder why. One of the writers of The Cut asked: “Here is a woman talking in excruciating detail about how a hugely famous man allegedly abused her. Why in 2022 do so many people seem to hate her for this?”
Sociologist Nicole Bedera has proposed several theories, both of which Twitter and in an article for Harper’s Bazaar on why both domestic violence survivors and many other women support Depp.

“It can be frightening – for victims as well, re-traumatizing – for women empathizing with a victim of abuse. will start to worry that they will be next, ”she wrote. “Is it any wonder that so many women come to Depp’s defense? No. Not at all”.

Heard had supporters, but noticeably fewer supporters than Depp, both in entertainment and in the courthouse.
Former Heard co-star David Krumholtz publicly came to her defense, with actress Ellen Barkin testifying for her defense team and comedian Kathy Griffin. wrote in response to Heard’s pre-trial tweet, “I’m thinking of you and sending all my love.”

For two working actors, the question after the court closes is will producers send them scripts as reliably as viewers send tweets?

Future franchise in danger?

The essence of Hurd and Depp’s lawsuits is that their careers, especially their futures in their respective film franchises, have suffered.

Over the past few weeks, Depp’s team has been trying to prove that Depp, who played Jack Sparrow in five films, was left out of a potential sixth film in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise due to Heard’s comment.

Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Jerry Bruckheimer, producer of the Pirates of the Caribbean films, told The Times that “the future is not yet decided” regarding Depp’s involvement in a possible next installment.

The producer said the creative team is “developing two scripts for Pirates – one that could potentially star Margot Robbie, and ‘one without’ Robbie.

The last film was Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales in 2017.

In a taped deposition played for the trial, Depp’s former agent Christian Carino, who began representing Depp in October 2016 and even represented Depp and Heard at the same time, testified that he believed Heard’s domestic abuse allegations against Depp, cost the actor a salary that would be worth tens of millions of dollars.

And when Heard’s lawyer pressed Carino on other issues Depp might have had while working on previous Pirates films, he dismissed them.

“I know he’s late, but he’s been late for everything throughout his life,” Carino said. “I think it’s frustrating for everyone, but everyone has learned how to make films to deal with it.”

Other witnesses considered his behavior more pernicious.

Tracey Jacobs, who testified in a recorded deposition and represented Depp for 30 years as his talent agent before she was fired, said as a witness that she was honest with Depp about his constant lateness to the set. and his behavior, including drug and alcohol use, was damaging to his career.

“His star faded as it became harder for him to get a job, given the reputation he had for being late and other things,” Jacobs testified. “People were talking and the question was about his behavior.”

The Hollywood director, who hasn’t worked with Depp but has dated him, told CNN he doesn’t think Depp will ever helm another major franchise.

“I think that Johnny Depp will be able to do various independent films because his name is still of significant value and he has an audience, but the studios will be more careful for insurance reasons and because of the possibility of stopping protection and they will be more concerned public backlash than smaller independent companies,” he said.

Jason Momoa and Amber Heard in Aquaman 2018.

As for Heard, the director believes that the attention to the court didn’t help his image.

There is currently a petition to remove Heard from the upcoming Aquaman sequel, which has already been filmed and is in post-production. (CNN and Warner Bros. are part of Warner Bros. Discovery.)

This most likely won’t happen. But Walter Hamada, head of DC Films, which produced Aquaman, said the creative team feared Heard would return to his role in the franchise due to a lack of chemistry with co-star Jason Momoa.

He also said that the studio never planned to portray Heard as a co-host in the second film and that Heard’s role would not be reduced in the upcoming film titled Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.

Whatever the jury’s decision, Judah Engelmeier, the founder of Herald PR, who has represented celebrities like disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein, told CNN that Depp’s time in court, which included quirky, memorable moments involving doodles and jelly beans, kept him going. image.

“His testimony, whether true or fiction, sparked a resurgence in fans who missed him,” he said. “In terms of his reputation and career, the studios see that he still has a fan base,” he said.

As for Heard, whose career was less established than Depp’s when their relationship and troubling allegations began, it’s harder to say, according to sources.

Nearly a decade ago, before the Depp drama hit the spotlight, Heard told Vanity Fair she was ready for the ups and downs of her acting career.

“Do you think you would have pursued him if you knew it would be such a circus?” Hurd was asked in a 2013 interview.

“Absolutely,” Hurd replied. “I really like the fight in which you are constantly … you are constantly in a state of fight or flight. It’s a constant struggle. So I don’t know if I can do it any other way.”

Sonia Moge of CNN contributed to this report.


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