AAP Entertainment

Depp’s bad boy image becoming a liability

By AAP Newswire

Johnny Depp's bad boy persona used to help sell the movies he made.

He was a real life Captain Jack Sparrow, who could hit the press circuit with a few rococo anecdotes delivered with a rock'n'roll edge between drags on freshly rolled cigarettes. His act was charming and his mystique undeniable.

No longer.

A new Rolling Stone profile of the actor compares Depp's current, debauched existence to Elvis' last, drug-fuelled days.

The piece has left readers and Hollywood folk alarmed with its portrayal of Depp, a 55-year old man, drinking goblet after goblet of vintage red wine, smoking hash, and, it is heavily implied, partaking in even stronger substances, all from within a gated mansion cut off from reality.

Studios still in business with the actor are poring over the profile, assessing what - if any - fallout there would be from the piece.

It's a major distraction for the backers of Depp's upcoming films - including Global Road's September crime drama "City of Lies" and Warner Bros "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald".

Spokespeople for both studios declined to comment and Depp's spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Even before the Rolling Stone article was published, Depp had been viewed as out of step with the #MeToo and Time's Up movements after being accused by ex-wife Amber Heard of domestic assault. The backlash to those allegations prompted J.K. Rowling to defend casting Depp in "Fantastic Beasts".

"Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the film-makers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies," Rowling said in a statement.

A legal battle with his former business managers has laid bare embarrassing spending details and, worse yet, exposed him as an actor in desperate need of pay cheque roles to fund his lifestyle.

"His baggage is a huge concern," said Jeff Bock, a box office analyst with Exhibitor Relations.

The Rolling Stone story may have set off alarms, but an individual with knowledge of the "Fantastic Beasts" production said the article is not in keeping with Depp's on-set behaviour. He was on time, knew his lines, and was courteous to cast and crew.

Depp isn't the only actor causing headaches for studios.

Vertical Entertainment is soon releasing "Billionaire Boys Club", despite actor Kevin Spacey, who is accused of harassing and assaulting several men, appearing in it. Amazon is also pondering "A Rainy Day in New York", directed by Woody Allen, who is accused of assaulting his daughter, Dylan Farrow.