Johnny Depp: Director accuses studio of burying movie because of actor’s personal life

Andrew Levitas has sent a letter of complaint to MGM

Sam Moore
Tuesday 27 July 2021 12:31
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A director whose upcoming film stars Johnny Depp has accused the studio distributing it, MGM, of “burying” the movie because of the actor’s personal problems.

The film, entitled Minamata, was originally scheduled for release in February but it never came out.

Director Andrew Levitas, in a letter obtained by Deadline, writes: “MGM had decided to ‘bury the film’ (acquisitions head Mr Sam Wollman’s words).”

Levitas attempted to get the company to reconsider but alleges he was rebuffed.

MGM has offered a statement in reply: “The film was acquired for release via American International Pictures (AIP), a division of MGM which handles day-and-date releases. Minamata continues to be among future AIP releases and at this time, the film’s US release date is TBA.”

In the film, Depp plays Eugene Smith, a famous photojournalist who is sent to Japan to uncover corporate negligence that led to thousands suffering mercury poisoning from polluted waters.

As well as the Pirates of the Caribbean star, Minamata also features Bill Nighy and Army of the Dead’s Hiroyuki Sanada.

Johnny Depp arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice on July 24, 2020 at the trial suing News Group Newspapers and Sun Executive Editor Dan Wootton

Depp was previously replaced by Mads Mikkelsen for the third instalment of the Fantastic Beasts franchise, after a judge denied him permission to appeal the ruling in a High Court libel case against The Sun over claims he beat his ex-wife, actor Amber Heard.

Minamata is Levitas’ second directorial effort following Lullaby, which was released in 2013 and starred Amy Adams and Jennifer Hudson.