Depp plays the role of photographer Eugene Smith, who helps uncover the activities of the Chisso Corporation. In the 1950s, the company released wastewater containing methylmercury in the Minamata Bay area of Japan. The cast include, among others Jun Kunimura, Ryo Kase, Minami, Tadanobu Asano, Akiko Iwase and Bill Nighy.
The film premiered at the Berlinale and was bought by MGM. There were plans for an American premiere in cinemas and on VOD in February. In the meantime, Depp lost, among others defamation lawsuit against the publishers of The Sun newspaper, which accused him of violence against Amber Heard, and later lost the role of Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts series.
Levitas says that in light of Depp’s problems, the studio decided not to promote the film. The director sent his letter not only to the studio, but also to the supporters of The Eugene Smith Foundation and the Minamata Foundation. He asks the label to rethink his decision due to the seriousness of the subject. He writes that the film was a chance to publicize the case and bring justice to the victims.
MGM studio representatives fear that the personal problems of the actor playing in the film may have a negative impact on the studio. From the MGM’s point of view, victims and their families are secondary, we read in the letter. The label made a conscious decision to harm these innocent people once more.