From historical reports of violent behaviour through to the accusations of domestic abuse from ex-partner Amber Heard, it’s difficult to conjure anything resembling sympathy for former nineties heart-throb Johnny Depp. Now he’s in the headline again for all the wrong reasons, with forthcoming fact-based drama City of Lies being pulled from release thanks to more legal action being taken against him.
The film, which co-stars Forest Whitaker, was set to be premiere on September 7. Now, distributor Global Road Entertainment has removed City of Lies from its slate, saying in a statement that “With the climate around Depp right now, the studio chose to hold back releasing the movie until the situation improves or is resolved.”
In this case the “climate” they’re referring to refers specifically not only to the ongoing controversy over Depp’s ongoing career — his casting in the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, The Crimes of Grindelwald, caused a major outcry from fans — but also to a lawsuit involving the production of City of Lies.
Depp is alleged to have attacked location manager Gregg “Rocky” Brooks on the film’s set, after Brooks informed him a night-time shoot would be coming to a close before a scene had been completed, thanks to their location permits expiring. Also listed in Brooks’s suit are director Brad Furman, and production companies Good Films and Infinitum Nihil.
City of Lies is a dramatic retelling of the investigation into the murders of rival rappers Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, aka 2Pac and The Notorious BIG. Both cases remain unsolved. Depp stars in the film as a retired LAPD detective who looks into the case with Forest Whitaker’s journalist. It is based on the non-fiction book LAbyrinth by Randall Sullivan.
Brooks’s lawsuit comes hot on the heels of Heard’s domestic violence case against Depp, as well as Depp’s own struggles with his former management company, who he accused of fraud.