Minamata began shooting in January of this year, with Johnny Depp set to play famed War photographer W. Eugene Smith. At the time, we were given a look at Depp in character just as the production was starting up. Now, we have a first look Depp in the actual movie.
Metalwork Pictures’ Minamata stars Johnny Depp as celebrated war photographer W. Eugene Smith in a redemptive thriller that is being called a real-life David versus Goliath story. Smith is pitted against a powerful corporation responsible for poisoning the people of Minamata, Japan in 1971.
Minamata is an extremely moving story of how one man’s powerful photograph impacted the world to take action. HanWay Films is handling international sales at the Cannes Film Festival this week. The movie is directed by Metalwork Pictures’ Andrew Levitas and also stars Bill Nighy, Minami, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tadanobu Asano, Ryo Kase, and Jun Kunimura.
With the glory days of World War II far behind him W. Eugene Smith (Depp) has become a recluse, disconnected from society and his career. But an old friend and a commission from “Life Magazine” editor (Nighy) convinces him to journey back to Japan to expose a big story: the devastating annihilation of a coastal community, victims of corporate greed and complicit local police and government.
Armed with only his trusted camera, Smith must gain the trust of this struggling community and find the images that will bring the story to the World. The victims’ case against the corporation responsible for this environmental disaster represents one of the biggest payouts of all time, with present day sufferers of Minamata disease still in court today seeking compensation. Production has spent time in Minamata meeting some of the victims and their families and the film is being made with their support.
Andrew Levitas is directing from a screenplay by David K. Kessler, who worked from the book by Aileen Mioko Smith and W. Eugene Smith. Producers include Johnny Depp and Sam Sarkar for Infinitum Nihil, Andrew Levitas under his Metalwork Pictures banner and Gabrielle Tana. HanWay Films is doing International sales at Cannes.
Johnny Depp has been a controversial figure in Hollywood over the past year due to his very public falling out with Amber Heard. He was accused of domestic abuse, and many wanted to see him replaced in the Harry Potter spin-off franchise Fantastic Beasts, where he plays the villain Grindelwald. He is already to confirmed for Fantastic Beasts 3 though, as he tries to get past his tarnished image. We recently got a first look at Johnny Depp in Waiting for the Barbarians, where he plays yet another villain.
The new image from Minamata comes from Hanway Films. It depicts Johnny Depp in photographer mode as he channels W. Eugene Smith surrounded by the Japanese locals in Minamata.