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Film

Where does Johnny Depp go from here?

@TomTaylorFO

The trial was a pig circus where justice was akin to a gameshow. Regardless of what you thought of it, how many chuckles you might have had, or where you stand on either Johnny Depp or Amber Heard, the whole thing turned a courtroom into a PR battle more so than a pursuit of justice. If such a thing as ‘a winner’ can emerge from something like that, then Depp was certainly the victor. So, where next for him?

Well, for a start, this has nothing to do with me and I don’t want to tell anyone how to butter their bread, but with a meek smile, I’d say he could do a lot worse than directing some of that defamation money he doesn’t need towards a domestic violence charity like Woman’s Aid (maybe he has even done so already). 

At the very least, this would bring a positive twist to the core issue of the trial. After all, Depp may not have been a perpetrator, but many others are victims—and yeah, you could argue that it might seem like an admission of guilt, but the courts have spoken, everything has been aired already anyway, and a benevolent act is a benevolent act. 

Aside from my own minor suggestion, the “jury gave [him his] life back”, and now it’s Depp’s decision to do as he pleases with it, but he would do well to tread lightly with his decision making. While most PR and career crisis management professionals (a 21st-century job title if I have ever seen one) have declared confidence that the verdict means he will be able to rebuild his career, nothing is foregone just yet. 

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The promising thing for Depp is that he won in a court of public opinion. While one single jury is an incredibly small sample it is nevertheless marginally indicative of the views held by the general population. Furthermore, the opinions weren’t just mildly in his favour, despite abhorrent text messages and other dirty laundry, he won in the equivalent of a landslide. 

What’s more the flip side to this particular court case is that he was constantly in the news. Not to be glib about a serious subject, but you could argue that things like ‘Megapint’ and ‘Officer Sqaurehead’ were better at raising his Hollywood profile with the TikTok crowd for Depp than the many misfires like Transcendence, The Tourist and The Lone Ranger which he was involved with before the trial given the verdict in his favour. 

However, with so much toxicity swirling around the case, it is likely that many production houses still think Depp isn’t worth the heat. This would be especially true if he was to rush back into a major production immediately. No matter where he goes a fraction of backlash would be inevitable presently.

On the other hand, I was actually at the concert venue he played in Newcastle at another show on the evening after the verdict was reached, and it was clear from just about everyone in attendance that he was once more a megastar as beloved as ever. In fact, he was cheered wildly when he went on stage by all accounts.

However, this was small scale and free of organised groups fervently against him. The same would not be true if he signed onto Disney again, for instance. A paradigm for this is how quickly Sam Fender, the musician present with Johnny Depp in Newcastle on the night the verdict was read, was forced to apologise for calling him a hero. 

Aside from speculation, it seems certain that he will return to acting at one point soon. He has been clear that he hopes he can “revive his career” and that “acting is his life”, concluding that the “best is yet to come.” Where that will be can’t be known, but the summary of expert opinion is that he will be able to act again and regain creditability, but it won’t be as a big fish straight away.

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