After ex-wife Amber Heard accused him of domestic violence, Johnny Depp got “boycotted by Hollywood.” However, it looks like the tides are turning for the actor who will star in a new movie, and his first narrative feature in three years. He will be playing French King Louis XV in Jeanne Du Barry, which will be launched for pre-sales at the Cannes market.

Johnny Depp’s New Theatrical Film

Reportedly, the French period drama is about Jeanne Bécu, played by Maïwenn, a woman born poor but rose in rank to become the mistress of King Louis XV, also known as Louis the Beloved. He had ruled over France for 59 years but lost popularity after accusations of debauchery and corruption. Depp will play Louis XV opposite Maïwenn who is also directing. The cast also includes Louis Garrel, Pierre Richard, and Noemie Lvovsky. [1] The shooting is set to begin this summer at the Versailles Palace.

Depp’s tarnished reputation and waning career are a focal point in his current defamation case against his ex-wife Amber Heard. Depp is suing her over the 2018 post-op-ed she wrote identifying herself as a survivor of domestic abuse; she didn’t name him but she detailed events she had presented to the court during her and Depp’s divorce. At the time, she accused him of domestic violence and filed for a restraining order against him. Depp claimed that this op-ed caused him to lose roles and status in the film industry. “It’s been six years of trying times,” Depp stated during his April 19 witness testimony. “It’s pretty strange when one day you’re Cinderella, so to speak, then 0.6 seconds [later] you’re Quasimodo.” [2]

In a pre-recorded testimony, Christian Carino, Heard’s former agent and Depp’s agent for a short period of time, stated that Depp lost his role in Pirates of the Caribbean 6 because of the allegations. Carino said what happened to Depp’s career was due to “conversations with colleagues and studio executives… internal and external,” the agent said. “It is something within the industry that is understood.” [3]

“Hollywood’s boycott of me”

Disney cut ties with Depp a week after the publication of the op-ed. After he lost a libel case with The Sun who called him a “wife-beater,” he also lost his role in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, cutting his connection with Warner Bros. And his film from 2019, Minamata, got long-postponed and a meager theatrical release in 2021, which Depp blamed on his tarnished reputation. “Some films touch people and this affects those in Minamata and people who experience similar things. And for anything… for Hollywood’s boycott of me? One man, one actor in an unpleasant and messy situation, over the last number of years?” [4]

Minamata follows Johnny Depp playing an American photographer who documents the true story of mercury poisoning on Japanese citizens when a factory dumped chemicals into the water, spreading sickness to the locals through consumption of affected fish. The film depicts the real experiences of victims of industrial pollution and corporate wrongdoings. On July 26, 2021, director Andrew Levitas sent a letter to media company MGM, which alleged that they had opted to “bury the film” due to Depp’s public image at the time. He urged the company to give Minamata more promotion and wider distribution. [5]

“…I will fight. Always, to the end.”

Since his departure from Warner Bros and Disney, Johnny Depp’s only film and TV work was to voice the main character in children’s web series Puffins Impossible. His role in Jeanne Du Barry is his return to the silver screen after Heard’s allegations. However, despite his wavering popularity in the United States, he seemed to maintain his status in Europe. In 2021, the Karlovy Vary and San Sebastian film festivals honored him with lifetime achievement awards.

Depp has expressed his gratitude to his fans, who he considers his true “employers” not Hollywood studios. “I’m proud of these people, because of what they are trying to say, which is the truth. The truth they’re trying to get out since it doesn’t in more mainstream publications,” Depp said. “It’s a long road that sometimes gets clunky. Sometimes just plain stupid. But they stayed on the ride with me and it’s for them I will fight. Always, to the end. Whatever it may be.” [6]

 

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