(CNN)According to Johnny Depp, the past five years have been "surreal" for him.
Depp, who also served as one of the producers of the film, portrays real-life photographer W. Eugene Smith, whose work with Life magazine documented the mercury poisoning of Japanese villagers in the early 1970s.
The star reflected on his life recently -- he filed suit after The Sun called him a "wife-beater" in an article over his now ex-wife Amber Heard's claims of abuse that he has denied -- juxtaposed to both the Japanese villagers who had been poisoned and those who have suffered from Covid-19.
"That's like getting scratched by a kitten," Depp said of what he's been through. "Comparatively."
He also reflected on the film not being released in the US as it has in the UK, something he and director Andrew Levitas appear to blame, in part, on Depp's personal life.
He said of the villagers portrayed in his film "We looked these people in the eyeballs and promised we would not be exploitative."
"That the film would be respectful," Depp said. "I believe that we've kept our end of the bargain, but those who came in later should also maintain theirs."
He also referred to "Hollywood's boycott of, erm, me."
"One man, one actor in an unpleasant and messy situation, over the last number of years?" he said "But, you know, I'm moving towards where I need to go to make all that . . .To bring things to light."
Heard and Depp married in 2015 after dating for several years.
They split the following year in what became a months-long, contentious breakup with allegations of bad behavior by both sides before their divorce was finally settled.
Depp has consistently denied he abused Heard and has filed a $50 million defamation suit against her which is currently making its way through the courts.