Johnny Depp 'asked to resign' role as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts after 'surreal' libel case defeat

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Martha Fairlie

Johnny Depp has said that he was asked to resign from the new Fantastic Beasts film following his High Court libel case defeat against The Sun newspaper.

He confirmed that he would be stepping down from the role of Grindelwald in the Warner Brothers film and vowed to appeal the court judgement, which he branded "surreal".

In an Instagram post, the actor said he would like to thank everybody "who has gifted me with their support and loyalty."

He added: “I have been humbled and moved by your many messages of love and concern, particularly over the last few days.

“Secondly, 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 I have respected that and agreed to that request."

He added: “Finally I wish to say this.

“The surreal judgement of the court in the UK 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.

“Thank you for reading."

Warner Bros said that the role of Grindelwald in the films would be recast following news that Johnny Depp will stand down from the role.

In a statement, the film studio said: “Johnny 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 film will debut in theatres worldwide in the summer of 2022.”

The actor lost his blockbuster libel case against The Sun newspaper over an article which labelled him a "wife beater," after a High Court judge found 12 of the 14 alleged incidents of domestic violence against his ex-wife Amber Heard did occur.

On Monday, lawyers for the Pirates of the Caribbean actor said that he intends to appeal describing the ruling as "as perverse as it is bewildering" and "so flawed".