'Minamata' director accuses MGM of burying Johnny Depp film because of his personal life


Director Andrew Levitas penned a letter to MGM to reconsider doing a theatrical release of “Minamata” for the sake of the film’s importance and those involved in telling the story.

In the movie, Johnny Depp plays Eugene Smith, a famous photojournalist sent to Japan to uncover corporate negligence that caused thousands to suffer from mercury poisoning from polluted waters. It was originally scheduled for a “day-and-date theatrical/VOD release” in February, but it never came out.

In his letter penned to MGM and to backers of “Minamata,” Levitas said that he was told by acquisitions head Sam Wollman that MGM had decided to “bury the film” despite an already successful global roll-out, because the studios were “concerned about the possibility that the personal issues of an actor in the film could reflect negatively upon them.”

Depp is facing domestic abuse allegations from his ex-wife Amber Heard. He already lost his defamation case against British publication The Sun over an article that labeled him as a “wife beater.” He is also set to testify in another libel suit against her next year. The fallout of the accusations though had prompted Warner Bros to ask him to resign from “Fantastic Beasts.”