CNN spoke to six entertainment industry experts for this story, some of whom spoke about the context of protecting professional relationships.
“I’m not sure what will happen until he comes forward, if anything, I believe it will only help his public image,” the source said.
Another top Hollywood publicist who has not worked with either Depp or Heard says none of their pictures are Had a great time.
“Both are highly dysfunctional. Money is toxic and greed destroys. Nobody wins here,” the publicist said.
A “tolerant” industry
Naturally, both actors will need to overcome obstacles once their legal battle is over.
Depp and Heard met on the set of their film The Rum Diary in 2009 and were married from 2015 to 2016 before getting divorced.
entertainment agency Daryl Marshak thinks studios may be hesitant, at least initially, to approach actors embroiled in such a public controversy.
“Robert Downey Jr. got an Oscar and then took his solo career out into the world, and people held back a little bit,” said Marshak, who has represented Leonardo DiCaprio and Hillary Swank Wait for the stars. “I think Hollywood is a weird place. When you’re drying the dirty laundry in front of the machine, the executives, all the people who make the parts move, they’re backing away from the blazing flames.”
Depp claims Hurd slandered him by calling himself a “public figure representing domestic abuse” in an op-ed published in 2018. Since that column did not mention him by name, he has starred in two films, Waiting for the Barbarians and Minamata, both independent films.
Marshak said he believes Depp’s “incredible talent” will help him return to the screen.
“Hollywood was also very forgiving, and as it moved forward, this thing stopped airing, and Johnny was able to get back into the business fluidly. I think he’ll come out again,” he said. “Hollywood is a fickle place.”
The performance of Depp and Heard’s legal teams in court — a live-streamed trial watched by millions — could also influence how the industry views the two stars.
Reese thinks Depp’s representation is more effective.
“Mr Depp’s legal and strategic communications team has done an excellent job of delivering a consistent message in court and in the media, which I believe has helped garner the support of his fan base.”
“For women, empathy for an abused survivor can be terrifying – for the victim, it’s re-traumatic. If violence really *is everywhere, and *feels* it could happen to anyone, Then a lot of women will start to worry that they will be next,” she wrote. “Is it surprising that so many women have come to defend Depp? No, not at all.”
For both working actors, once the court adjourns, the question is will producers send them scripts as reliably as bystanders send tweets?
Franchise Futures in Danger?
At the crux of the Hurd and Depp lawsuits are claims that their careers—especially their futures in their respective movie franchises—have been adversely affected.
In testimony over the past few weeks, Depp’s team has sought to prove that Depp, who played Jack Sparrow in five films, was excluded from the sixth film in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise because of Heard’s column.
The producers say the creative team is “working on two Pirates scripts” – one that may feature Margot Robbie and the other that may not.
The last movie was 2017’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Stories.
When Heard’s lawyer pressed Carino about other issues Depp might have had with the previous “Pirates” films, he dismissed them.
“I know he’s late, but he’s been late all his life,” Carino said. “I think it was a hassle for everyone, but everyone learned how to make movies to deal with it.”
Other witnesses thought his actions were more harmful.
“Given his reputation for being late and for other things, his star has dimmed because it’s getting harder and harder for him to get a job,” Jacobs testified. “People are talking, the problem is his behavior.”
A Hollywood director who hasn’t worked with Depp but has met him told CNN that he doesn’t think Depp will ever be in charge of another major franchise.
“I believe Johnny Depp will be able to star in a variety of independent films because he still has significant visibility and has audiences, but for insurance reasons and the possible cessation of protections and they would be more worried about the public backlash than the smaller independents company,” he said.
Speaking of Hurd, the director felt that the focus surrounding the trial didn’t help her image.
Currently, there is a petition calling for Heard to withdraw from the upcoming “Aquaman” sequel, which has already been filmed and is in post-production. (CNN and Warner Bros. are both part of Warner Bros. Discovery.)
He also said that the studio never planned to cast Hurd as a co-star in the second film, and that Hurd’s role in the upcoming film Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom has not diminished.
“His testimony, both true and deed, has sparked a resurgence of fans who miss him,” he said. “In terms of his reputation and career, the studio believes he still has a fan base,” he said.
As for Hurd, it’s hard to say when their relationship and the troubling allegations started, he wasn’t as mature in his career as Depp, according to sources.
About a decade ago, before her drama with Depp came to light, Heard told Vanity Fair that she was ready for the ups and downs of her acting career.
“Of course,” Hurd replied. “I really like your constant struggle…you’re always in a fight-or-flight situation. It’s a constant struggle. So I don’t know if I could get it any other way.”
CNN’s Sonia Moghe contributed to this report.