The actor’s first major on-screen role since his controversial defamation trial
Johnny Depp experienced a range of emotions during the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. The prestigious event kicked off with the premiere of Depp’s French-language film, “Jeanne Du Barry,” in which he portrays the character of Louis XV, the King of France from 1715 to 1774. The movie was directed by Maïwenn, adding to the excitement of the occasion.
Maïwenn portrays Jeanne du Barry, a working-class woman who cleverly utilizes her intelligence and charm to gradually climb the social ladder. Eventually, she becomes the favored companion of King Louis XV, who remains oblivious to her true identity as a courtesan. This rekindles his passion for life, as reported by Variety.
Following the film screening, the audience erupted into a seven-minute standing ovation. A video clip shared by Variety captured the poignant moment when Depp, aged 59, was visibly moved and shed tears of emotion.
— Variety (@Variety) May 16, 2023
The premiere of “Jeanne Du Barry” at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival marked a significant moment for Johnny Depp. This event took place nearly a year after the conclusion of a highly controversial defamation trial involving his ex-wife, Amber Heard. The trial centered around a 2018 op-ed where Heard publicly accused Depp of domestic abuse. While the film’s release date in the United States is still pending, its screening at the festival served as a noteworthy milestone in Depp’s career.
Supporters of Heard voiced their discontent on social media regarding the inclusion of Depp’s film at the festival. In response to the controversy, Thierry Fremaux, the chief of the Cannes Film Festival, addressed the issue during a press briefing on Monday.
Fremaux expressed, “I am unaware of how Johnny Depp is perceived in the United States. Frankly, I live by one principle which is freedom of thought, freedom of expression, and freedom to act within the boundaries of the law. If Johnny Depp had been prohibited from acting or if the film had been banned, we wouldn’t be discussing it here. After watching Maïwenn’s film, it became apparent that it could have been included in the competition section at Cannes. Interestingly, this sparked controversy only after the film’s announcement, as it was widely known that Johnny Depp had been involved in a French production. The reasons behind Maïwenn’s choice to cast Depp remain unclear and would be better addressed to her directly. Nevertheless, the film’s reception and subsequent discussions have stirred debate within the industry.
He further added, “Regarding the remaining aspects, I am the last person who can provide insight. If there is one individual in the world who has no interest in this highly publicized trial, it is me. I am unaware of its nature. My concern lies solely with Johnny Depp as an actor.”