During his ongoing defamation trial, in which Johnny Depp is suing ex-wife Amber Heard for $50 million and she’s counter-suing for $100 million, the Hollywood star has spoken in court about his time as Jack Sparrow. This week, his talent manager Jack Whigham testified that Disney movie boss Sean Bailey and producer Jerry Bruckheimer had verbally agreed around 2016 to pay Depp a huge amount for Pirates of the Caribbean 6.
Whigham claimed this amount was $22.5 million, but it was not clear if Depp was set to receive a back-end payment from cinema profits.
So far, the 58-year-old is reported to have been paid over $300 million for the first five Pirates of the Caribbean movies, mostly thanks to a percentage of the box office.
Since Depp was dropped by Disney from Pirates of the Caribbean 6, he missed out on that salary, with the talent manager saying Heard’s op-ed had a severe effect on the actor’s career.
He said: “With respect to Johnny, it was catastrophic, because it was a first-person account. It was not from a journalist, it was not from an observer, it was from someone saying, ‘This happened to me.'”
Whigham went on to testify that since the autumn of 2018, Depp has only been able to work on lower-paying independent movies and hadn’t shot a film since 2020.
When cross-examined by one of Heard’s lawyers on Monday, the talent manager clarified that the $22.5 million fee for Depp was only a verbal agreement with Disney and Bruckheimer, not a written contract.
He added that before Heard’s op-ed was published, Bailey had been “noncommittal” on making Pirates of the Caribbean 6 with Depp.
Whigham said: “It was trending badly in the late fall on behalf of Disney, but Jerry Bruckheimer and I were lobbying to make it happen. So we had hope. And it became very clear in early 2019 that it was over.”
Depp continued: “My feeling was that these characters should be able to have their proper goodbye, as it were. A franchise can only last for so long and there’s a way to end a franchise like that and I thought that the characters deserved to have their way out, to end the franchise on a very good note. I planned on continuing until it was time to stop. There was a very deep and distinct feeling of having been betrayed by the people that I had been working with, the people I had worked hard for, people I had delivered a character to that they initially despised.”
The trial continues.