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MGM Accused Of Burying ‘Minamata’ Film For Featuring Johnny Depp

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The director of new MGM feature ‘Minamata‘ has accused the studio of trying to “bury” the film because of issues in Johnny Depp’s personal life.

Depp stars in the new film alongside Bill Nighy and Hiroyuki Sanada. The story is based on a book by Aileen Mioko Smith and follows the scandalous mercury poisoning of Minamata’s citizens.

Deadline reports that Minamata was scheduled for release in February but the film never came out.

MGM allegedly acquired the film during the time of Depp’s heated libel case against The Sun. The British newspaper labelled Depp a “wife beater” in an article covering his relationship with ex-wife, Amber Heard. The case saw both Depp and Heard accuse each other of verbal and physical abuse.

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When the court ruled in favour of The Sun Depp resigned his role in the Fantastic Beasts franchise. He was replaced by Mads Mikkelsen.

Director Andrew Levitas wrote a letter to MGM expressing his anger and hurt at the suppression of the film. He challenged the studio to contact the victims of Minamata directly to explain, “why you think an actor’s personal life is more important than their dead children, their siblings, their parents, and all victims of industrial pollution”.

Levitas said that MGM was more “concerned about the possibility that the personal issues of an actor in the film could reflect negatively on them” and that the victims and their families were “secondary”. He wrote that while the studio was following it’s “legal obligation”, it had a “moral commitment” to support the film.

“Recognize your opportunity to make a substantive difference in the lives of those who continue to suffer in unfathomable ways.” Urged Levitas.

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Minamata arrives in UK cinemas on August 13.

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