Johnny Depp filmed only one scene for Fantastic Beasts 3 before he was asked to resign, but will receive his full salary of over $10 million.
Johnny Depp filmed only one scene for Fantastic Beasts 3 before he was asked to resign by Warner Bros., but will receive his full salary of over $10 million. Depp was cast in the Harry Potter prequel franchise shortly before Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hit theaters in 2016, with it later being revealed he'd joined the movie as dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald. At the time of his casting, the actor joining Warner Bros' family friendly franchise was already controversial due to allegations of domestic abuse levied against Depp by his ex-wife Amber Heard earlier in 2016. Warner Bros. and Harry Potter author/Fantastic Beasts screenwriter J.K. Rowling stood behind Depp.
That controversy continued to follow the Fantastic Beasts franchise through the release of the second film, 2018's Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which featured a much larger role for Depp's Grindelwald. The movie wasn't a hit with either critics or fans, and lead to Warner Bros. and Rowling taking some extra time to work on Fantastic Beasts 3. The threequel has also been delayed, like many Hollywood movies, due to the coronavirus pandemic. But in addition to its release date delays, the movie recently saw Depp exit Fantastic Beasts 3 as Grindelwald. Now new information about his exit has been revealed.
According to THR, Depp filmed only one scene for Fantastic Beasts 3 since production began on Sept. 20, but he will receive his full salary - which comes it at over $10 million - due to the actor's contract.Depp's contract stipulates that he must be paid his full salary even if the movie isn't made or if his role is recast, colloquially referred to as a pay-or-play contract. As THR indicates, this is common for big Hollywood stars.
Since Depp's contract stipulated he be paid his salary in full, there's little - if anything at all - Warner Bros. can do. Further, because the studio will recast Grindelwald for Fantastic Beasts 3, they'll need to pay out another salary as well, which will likely increase the cost Warners will pay for the film. Since it's a Harry Potter franchise installment, they probably expect to make the money back, especially given the time they were already taking to ensure the movie is the best it can be. Although The Crimes of Grindelwald wasn't as successful at the box office as Fantastic Beasts, it did still turn a profit. If Fantastic Beasts 3 is a better standalone film and is more positively received, it could outperform its predecessors in the prequel series. That would go a long way in recouping the cost of paying two actors to play Grindelwald.
As for the scene Depp filmed for Fantastic Beasts 3, it's unclear if it'll be used in the movie. Since Warner Bros. didn't know they were going to ask Depp to resign prior to the filming of it, it's unlikely the scene is specifically meant to explain Depp's exit as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts 3. Depending on the content of the scene and where it's meant to occur in the movie, a transformation could perhaps be explained through movie magic by cobbling together footage from the threequel scene and previous films to introduce the new actor. Or Warner Bros. could nix the scene entirely and reshoot it with the new actor cast as Grindelwald. How exactly Depp's exit will be explained in Fantastic Beasts 3 remains to be seen, but the movie may still feature the actor's Grindelwald.