Johnny Depp’s libel case against The Sun kicked off in the U.K. court system this week. On Day 1, we heard testimony alleging Depp may have held one of Amber Heard’s dogs out a window as a joke during their relationship, which he denies. On Day 2, Depp revealed he was uncomfortable with Amber Heard’s contact with James Franco, whom he testified was “rapey,” though he says that was Amber Heard’s adjective and not his.
Over the past several months, it has become clear that James Franco would ultimately be a part of Johnny Depp’s big court cases. This has happened because Franco starred in Pineapple Express opposite Amber Heard and because he was spotted in an elevator in the same complex as Depp and Heard during a pivotal moment that’s come to light as part of the case. There’s evidence that James Franco was hanging out with the Aquaman actress when she has said she had bruises on her face from being hit by Depp, ergo the 127 Hours actor has already been roped into this drama.
However, the comments from Johnny Depp during Day 2 of his libel trial against The Sun (via The Evening Standard) had more to do with the time Amber Heard had spent with James Franco and why he didn’t really enjoy their time together. He noted they worked together on Pineapple Express back in 2008, a few short years before Johnny Depp starred with Amber Heard on The Rum Diary (2011). While Depp admitted in court he didn’t like Heard hanging around with Franco, he said it was because of things Heard had admitted to him, noting,
She told me many things that were very, very negative about Mr. Franco, that he had tried to kiss her and made sexual advances towards her on the previous film they had made together. She said he was a creep and a rapist. She said he was quite aggressive in his advances towards her.
When asked about the terms Amber Heard had actually called James Franco, Depp also clarified that he was not saying James Franco had raped Amber Heard but that the actual adjective she had used was “rapey,” noting,
She had to sort of run from the advances at one point, that he was kind of non-stop, she felt he was creepy and rapey, so I said a rapist.
However, despite what Amber Heard is alleged to have said about the actor, James Franco went on to star in a second movie with her, 2015’s The Adderall Diaries, which is when Depp says he became uncomfortable. Then in 2016, the aforementioned incident on the elevator after Heard says Depp had hurt her occurred. Previously, James Franco had requested a sealed deposition after the actor was asked by Depp’s legal team to make a statement in the case. Now, Johnny Depp himself has drug him into the case in a different way, noting he was "shocked" when the two started spending more time together.
James Franco has kept a fairly low profile after his movie The Disaster Artist quietly was snubbed at the Oscars following a Me Too profile accusing Franco of inappropriate behavior while teaching at his film school Studio 4, which is now closed. A lawsuit subsequently followed. In the time since, he’s starred in HBO’s now-cancelled The Deuce and lent his voice to Arctic Dogs in 2019.