Just a year ago, the image of Johnny Depp smiling and waving from the top of the steps of the Paley at the Cannes Film Festival would have been unimaginable to most people, including Depp.
“When you hit the bottom, you hit the bottom, you hit the bottom, you find the basement all the way down,” Depp told The Associated Press a day after “Jean du Barry”, in which he He played the role of King Louis XV. Ears open
This time last year, Depp was embroiled in a defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard, based on a 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which she described herself as “a public figure who represents domestic abuse.” referred to as “is”. A British court ruled in 2020 that a tabloid report labeling Depp as “a wife beater” was “largely true”. Soon after the UK ruling, Hollywood largely cut ties with Depp, ousting him from the “Fantastic Beasts” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchises.
“When it all fell apart, confusion is a good word. Shocked. Because it almost comes down to the Bugs Bunny experience,” Depp says now. “You say to yourself: Is this my life? What happened?”
Some greeted Depp’s Cannes gala with similar enigma.
A Virginia jury ultimately ruled that Heard had defamed Depp on three counts and awarded her $15 million in damages. In a countersuit, Depp was found guilty on one count of defamation and Heard was awarded $2 million. Depp may have won in court, but public opinion remains divided on the actor, who was once one of film’s most relatable stars, with many supporters of battered women and the #MeToo movement wondering whether assault victims were sexually assaulted. Partners will be more reticent to come forward. If they can be sued for defamation.
Outside the premiere of “Jean du Barry” in Cannes, fans sign autographs and chant “Long live Johnny!” The reception on social networks was more strained. Heard’s supporters rallied around the hashtag #CannesYouNot, arguing that Cannes, which has been criticized for welcoming men accused of misconduct, should not have invited Depp.
“If you support Cannes, you support hunters,” posted Eve Barlow, a journalist and friend of Heard’s. Heard herself has not commented on Depp’s Cannes premiere.
Depp has rarely spoken publicly since the trial, but on Wednesday he gave an interview with the AP after a day of interviews with most French media. (Depp is wildly popular in France, where he has occasionally lived and where the film industry is facing its own #MeToo reckoning.) He was eager to launch his fight in light of past Hollywood scandals.
“Never boring but an unpleasant, curious year. Getaways. Rumors. Allegations,” Depp said. “I read a lot about Fatty Arbuckle, but I ain’t seen no (Buster) Keaton save his ass.”
“One of the things that was on my mind was Hunter,” he continued, invoking his mentor Hunter S. Thompson. “I could hear her voice: ‘Buy a ticket, take a ride.'”
Depp said of Brando, “I don’t think Marlon would have survived.” “I don’t think I’ve ever come close to doing something like that. If I’d been alive to see it happen, I’d have freaked out. I’d have killed someone.”
One thing that wasn’t clear was whether Depp had any regrets about how a bitter and often dramatic legal battle unfolded in front of the cameras. Depp became a hero to some right-wing critics of so-called cancel culture. When asked if he had any doubts about attracting the following, Depp replied:
“I’ve seen people really open their mouths about it. At the time, that was brave.”
Depp said, “Unless I’ve done something terrible to somebody, I won’t regret it for a second.” “I will not regret following a strange path during that time because I learned a lot about myself.”
“Jeanne du Barry,” directed by French actor and filmmaker Maiwen, is Depp’s first film in three years. Maven plays Jeanne Vaubernier, a working-class woman who becomes Louis XV’s mistress. Depp speaks French in the film, which has not yet been distributed in the United States. Maiwen is also a controversial figure. He recently admitted to assaulting prominent French journalist Edvi Planel in a cafe, pulling her hair back and spitting in her face.
That’s not Depp’s only business in Cannes. He is seeking financing for “Modi,” a biopic of Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani, which he hopes to shoot this fall with Al Pacino. Depp, who will pay tribute to late close friend Jeff Beck in London next week, also recently renewed his $20 million contract with Dior.
“I don’t know about Johnny Depp’s image in America,” Cannes director Thierry Fremaux said Monday. “If Johnny Depp had been banned from acting in a film, or if the film had been banned, we wouldn’t be here talking about it.”
And Depp’s appearance at Cannes has generated a lot of talk, even with reviews that haven’t been kind. Time’s Stephanie Zacharek called it “less a return to form than a dreary wobble in a very short spotlight”. But the general reception has been warm. Depp, who said he lives 45 minutes away, was appalled by the slavery.
“I didn’t know what planet I was on,” he said with a smile.
Speaking to reporters at the festival press conference, Depp scoffed at the idea held by many critics, comparing anyone protesting his presence at Cannes to “some species, some tower of mashed potatoes, some tower of the sun”. Covered in Light”. Apparently with a lot of free time.
Later, sitting on a terrace facing the Croisette in Cannes, Depp seemed relaxed and jovial, though his thoughts remained fixed on his legal battle with Heard.
“You are not impotent, but you are adjourned,” he said of how he felt before the trial. “At that point, I thought: Fuck it. I’ve been lucky. I’ve been around a long time. I’ve made a lot of movies. That is, I guess, my legacy. OK. I’ve been able to live with that. I did nothing wrong”. But he said that after years of swimming through “that awful molasses”, he came out much stronger.
Depp said at the press conference that he “doesn’t need Hollywood anymore.” In interviews, he stated that he was determined to make more films, but outside the studio system. At the same time, Depp denied that he was ever really a movie star.
“That’s the last thing he calls me,” he said. “For 20 years he never mentioned that until ‘Pirates 1’. Oh, now he’s a movie star! We wish!”
Many have characterized Depp’s return to Cannes as an attempt to win back moviegoers following his fully revealing trial. Depp says he is not trying to convince anyone of anything. For him there is no such thing as an impeccable film star.
“You mean people’s obsession that everyone has to be Doris Day? Even Doris Day wasn’t Doris Day. They need to know that,” Depp said. “And Rock Hudson certainly wasn’t Rock Hudson. I can only try to present what I think might be interesting or different.”