Actor Johnny Depp will still be paid for his role in Fantastic Beasts 3, despite being axed from the film.
This comes after Warner Brothers asked the 57-year-old to step down from his role as Gellert Grindelwald in the Harry Potter spin-off series after he lost his "wife-beater" libel trial to The Sun and ex-wife Amber Heard.
Depp had shot one scene of the movie since filming began on Sunday, September 20, in London but will still receive his full salary of at least $10 million.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio must pay his full salary, and the crew was told last week that he was not returning to the franchise.
The film has also been delayed until summer 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic and other challenges, Deadline reported. It was initially due for release in November 2021.
Insiders told The Hollywood Reporter that the studio had wanted to see how the case played out before they made any decisions about Depp's role. Depp will still be paid due to a provision in his contract called pay-to-play, which means that he would get his full salary no matter what, even if the film was scrapped or the role was recast.
Warner Bros. announced last week that Depp "will depart the Fantastic Beasts franchise. We thank Johnny for his work on the films to date. Fantastic Beasts 3 is currently in production, and the role of Gellert Grindelwald will be recast."
The Edward Scissorhands actor took to Instagram on Friday, November 6, and confirmed the news.
"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 have respected and agreed to that request," he wrote.
He added that the "surreal judgment of the court in the U.K. will not change my fight to tell the truth and I confirm that I plan to appeal."
"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," he concluded.
In 2017, there were calls for Depp to be sacked from the Fantastic Beasts film when the allegations against him were made. Author J.K. Rowling, who is also involved in writing the screenplay, defended the Hollywood star by writing a lengthy statement. "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," she wrote. The author has yet to publicly acknowledge the studio’s change of heart.
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is a prequel to Harry Potter, which takes place in the 1920s before "The Boy Who Lived" was born. Ezra Miller and Jude Law are still slated to appear as Credence Barebone and Albus Dumbledore, respectively.
Depp was also dropped from his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean amid the abuse allegations. Disney is reportedly planning to reboot the series with Margot Robbie and Christina Hodson.