Johnny Depp is ready to return to the big screen.
After a tumultuous divorce from Amber Heard following domestic violence allegations, Depp is slated to portray King Louis XV in French director Maiwenn’s upcoming film, Variety reported.
The film is produced by Pascal Caucheteux and Gregoire Sorlat’s Why Not Productions, with Wild Bunch International handling world sales. Production will begin in summer 2022, mainly set at the Versailles Palace.
Though the movie’s title and plot have not yet been revealed, King Louis XV, who was nicknamed “the beloved,” ruled for almost 60 years before dying, after being accused of corruption.
Filmmaker Maiwenn is most recognized for her Cannes Award–winning films “Mon Roi” and “Polisse.” Her latest film “DNA” was part of Cannes 2020’s Official Selection.
Depp has not appeared in a film since 2020’s “Minamata,” which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in February 2020. Depp portrayed photojournalist Eugene Smith, who traveled to Minamata, Japan in the 1970s to document the effects of mercury poisoning stemming from pollution by the Chisso chemical company. Depp also produced the film.
“Some films touch people,” Depp previously told The Sunday Times of the project. “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? But, you know, I’m moving towards where I need to go to make all that…to bring things to light.”
“Minamata” director Andrew Levitas sent a letter to MGM condemning the studio for allegedly burying the drama because of Depp’s legal drama. The film reportedly had a day-and-date release for February 2021, but remained shelved.
Depp thanked his fans for being his true “employers,” and not the Hollywood studio system. “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.”
The Oscar winner also spoke out against cancel culture following the loss of his libel case against The Sun for referring to him as a “wife beater” in the midst of Depp’s divorce from Heard. Following the verdict, Depp exited Warner Bros.’ “Fantastic Beasts” franchise and was replaced by Mads Mikkelsen.
“It’s so far out of hand now that I can promise you that no one is safe. Not one of you. No one out that door. No one is safe,” Depp warned (via Deadline) while accepting the lifetime achievement Donostia Award at the San Sebastian Film Festival in September 2021. “It takes one sentence and there’s no more ground, the carpet has been pulled. It’s not just me that this has happened to, it’s happened to a lot of people. This type of thing has happened to women, men. Children have suffered from various types of unpleasantries. It doesn’t matter if a judgement, per se, has taken some artistic license.”
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