In his first public interview since losing his ‘wife beater’ libel case against UK tabloid The Sun, Johnny Depp has explained that though he feels as if he’s being ‘boycotted’ by Hollywood, the support of his fans have given him the will to fight “to the end”.
Depp broke his silence in an interview with UK news outlet The Sunday Times published on August 14th, in promotion of his recently released film Minamata, which tells the real-world story of photojournalist W. Eugene Smith’s efforts in exposing the intense Mercury poisoning of the eponymous village by a nearby Chisso Corporation chemical factory.
“Whatever I’ve gone through, I’ve gone through,” Depp told The Sunday Times reporter Jonathan Dean when the actor eventually turned to the subject of his ongoing legal battle with ex-wife Amber Heard. “But, ultimately, this particular arena of my life has been so absurd…“What the people in Minamata dealt with? People who suffered with Covid? A lot of people lost lives. Children sick . . . Ill. […] But what I’ve been through? That’s like getting scratched by a kitten. Comparatively.”
To that end, Minamata director Andrew Levitas, who appeared alongside Depp for The Sunday Times’ interview, then told Dean, “With regards to journalism, it was important for us to put across in the film the power of truth.”
“The responsibility of journalists to look after citizens of the world,” added Levitas. “[Minamata] coincided with the moment important publications had to put Raquel Welch on a cover to get enough eyeballs to sell enough ads in order to put something meaningful inside. A result of that is clickbait — it’s destroying the purpose of journalism.”
“You said it beautifully.” Depp told Levitas “I couldn’t say it better than that.”
Speaking to MGM’s purchase of Minamata and their subsequent shelving of it in 2020, a decision which Levitas accused was based on the studio’s belief that “an actor’s personal life is more important than [telling the story of Minamata’s] dead children”, the director asserted that “It’s important that the movie gets seen and supported.”
“It’s important that the movie gets seen and supported,” he continued “And if I get an inkling it’s not going to be, it’s my responsibility to say so. Where it goes from there? I don’t know. But we have responsibility to these victims-”
Levitas was then interrupted by Depp, who also served as one of the film’s producers, who further noted, “We looked these people in the eyeballs and promised we would not be exploitative. That the film would be respectful. I believe that we’ve kept our end of the bargain, but those who came in later should also maintain theirs.”
“Some films touch people. And this affects those in Minamata and people who experience similar things,” Depp elaborated. “For Hollywood’s boycott of, erm, me? One man, one actor in an unpleasant and messy situation, over the last number of years? You know, I’m moving towards where I need to go to make all that…to bring things to light.”
Depp then offered praise to his fans for not only offering their vocal support throughout his ordeal with Heard, but also for actively speaking “the truth”, telling Dean, ““They have always been my employers. They are all our employers. They buy tickets, merchandise. They made all of those studios rich, but they forgot that a long time ago. I certainly haven’t.
“I’m proud of these people, because of what they are trying to say, which is the truth,” he declared. “The truth they’re trying to get out since it doesn’t in more mainstream publications. It’s a long road that sometimes gets clunky. Sometimes just plain stupid. But they stayed on the ride with me and it’s for them I will fight. Always, to the end. Whatever it may be.”
In conclusion to the interview, Depp spoke to the optimism he feels towards his future, stating, “I look forward to the new few films I make to be my first films, in a way.”
“Because once you’ve…Well, look,” Depp clarified. “The way they wrote it in The Wizard of Oz is that when you see behind the curtain, it’s not him. When you see behind the curtain, there’s a whole lot of motherf—ers squished into one spot. All praying that you don’t look at them. And notice them.”
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