CNN spoke to six entertainment industry experts for this story, some of whom spoke about the background to protecting professional relationships.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect before he took the stand and if anything I think it just helped his public image,” the source said.
Another top Hollywood publicist who hasn’t worked with either Depp or Heard said none of their pictures did fared well.
“Both are highly dysfunctional. Money is poisonous and greed destroys. No one wins here,” said this publicist.
A “forgiving” industry
Of course, there are hurdles both actors must overcome when their litigation ends.
Depp and Heard met on the set of their film The Rum Diary in 2009 and were married from 2015 to 2016 before divorcing.
entertainment agent Darryl Marshak thinks film studios might be reluctant — at least initially — to engage with the actors involved in a controversy that has played out so publicly.
“Robert Downey Jr. won an Oscar and then broadcast his personal business to the world and people kind of balked,” said Marshak, who has previously represented the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Hilary Swank. “I think Hollywood is a strange place. When you air your dirty laundry in front of the machine, the executives, all the people who move the parts, kind of shy away from a hot flame.”
Depp claims a 2018 comment by Heard, in which she described herself as “a public figure who represents domestic violence,” defamed him. He has acted in two films in which he was not credited since the comment, Waiting for the Barbarians and Minamata, both independent films.
Marshak said he believes Depp’s “amazing talent” will help him return to the big screen.
“Hollywood is forgiving too and as it moves forward and this thing doesn’t air anymore Johnny can smoothly get back into the business. I think he’ll show up again,” he said. “Hollywood is a volatile place.”
The lawyers’ appearance in the courtroom for Depp and Heard – a trial streamed live by millions of viewers – could also shape the industry’s perspective on the two stars.
Ruisi believes Depp’s representatives were more effective.
“Mr. Depp’s legal and strategic communications team did an incredible job of delivering a consistent message in the courtroom and across the media, which I believe helped secure the support of his fan base.”
“It can be frightening — and retraumatizing for victims — for women to empathize with an abuse survivor. If violence really *is* everywhere and if it feels like it could happen to anyone, then many women will worry that they will be next,” she wrote. “So it’s surprising that many women are coming to Depp’s defense? no Not at all.”
For two working actors, after the court adjournment, will the producers be as reliable in sending them the scripts as viewers have been sending tweets?
Franchise futures under threat?
At the heart of Heard and Depp’s lawsuits lies allegations that their careers — particularly their futures in their respective film franchises — have been adversely affected.
During the past few weeks of testimony, Depp’s team has been trying to prove that Depp, who portrayed Jack Sparrow in five films, was dropped from a potential sixth film in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise because of Heard’s comment.
The producer said the creative team is “developing two ‘pirate’ scripts” – one that would potentially star Margot Robbie and “one without” Robbie.
The last film was Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales in 2017.
And when an attorney for Heard Carino pressed for other issues Depp might have had while working on previous “Pirate” films, he dismissed them.
“I’m aware he’s late, but he’s been late for everything his entire life,” Carino said. “I think it’s annoying for everyone, but everyone has learned how to produce a film to deal with it.”
Other witnesses viewed his behavior as more harmful.
“His star was dimmed because it was getting harder to get him jobs given the reputation he’d built up for being late and other things,” Jacobs testified. “People were talking and the question of his behavior was out there.”
A Hollywood director who hasn’t worked with Depp but met him told CNN that he doesn’t think Depp will ever helm another major franchise.
“I believe that Johnny Depp can be cast in various independent films because he still has significant name value and there is an audience for him, but studios will be more cautious for insurance reasons and because of the possibility of protection being stopped They would worry more about public backlash than smaller independent companies,” he said.
As for Heard, the director believes the attention surrounding the trial hasn’t helped her image.
There is currently a petition to drop Heard 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 intended to cast Heard as a co-lead in the second film and that Heard’s role in the upcoming film called Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom was not reduced.
“His statement, whether true or fictitious, has caused a resurgence of fans who have missed him,” he said. “For his reputation and career, the studios see that he still has a following,” he said.
As for Heard, whose career was less established than Depp’s when their relationship and the troubling allegations began, that’s harder to say, according to sources.
Nearly a decade ago, before the Depp drama broke, Heard told Vanity Fair she was ready for the ups and downs of an acting career.
“Absolutely,” Heard replied. “I really love the battle you’re in constantly… you’re constantly put into a state of fight or flight. It’s a constant struggle. So I don’t know if I could have it any other way.”
CNN’s Sonia Moghe contributed to this report.