The protesters had been banned, the crimson carpet rolled out and Johnny Depp strolled into Cannes like a conquering hero. He blew kisses, shook arms and briefly dabbed at his eyes. He acquired a standing ovation that lasted practically seven minutes. “For a few seconds it scared me,” the actor advised reporters afterwards. “It was like being caught in a loop. The vitality of the response, it simply appeared to go on and on.”
Depp is on the town for the premiere of Jeanne du Barry, the opening image of the Cannes movie competition. For his supporters the go to marks step one within the redemption of a one-time Hollywood famous person, nonetheless bruised from an ugly legal battle with ex-wife Amber Heard and struggling to restore his broken fame. His opponents, nonetheless, view it in a different way. They accuse the competition of effectively handing a free pass to an alleged domestic abuser.
Shot by French actor-director Maïwenn and partly backed by Saudi money, Jeanne du Barry is a busy historic romp that casts Depp within the function of lovable, lusty King Louis XV. However the movie risked being relegated to the function of an informal bystander in a wider, off-screen storm because the 59-year-old arrived – fashionably late – to face the worldwide press. Jeanne du Barry is Depp’s first main function in three years. Because of Heard’s allegations of abuse – which Depp denies – he was dropped from the lucrative Fantastic Beasts franchise and shunned by the most important US studios. At Cannes, although, he appeared eager to border himself as a sufferer of groupthink and cancel tradition.
“Do I really feel boycotted by Hollywood?” he mentioned. “Nicely, you’d must not have a pulse to not really feel that approach. In fact, while you’re requested to resign from a movie due to [allegations] that’s simply vowels and consonants floating within the air, you do really feel a bit boycotted. However I don’t take into consideration Hollywood. I don’t have a lot want of Hollywood, as a result of it’s a bizarre time [there]. Everybody needs to be themselves, however they will’t, as a result of they really feel they must fall in line.”
Town of Cannes has banned public protests this yr, forcing Depp’s critics to take their objections on-line. Within the run-up to the competition, the journalist Eve Barlow – reportedly a buddy of Heard – launched a social media marketing campaign, #CannesYouNot, which fees the occasion with “supporting abusers” and posted footage of Depp alongside photos of Harvey Weinstein and Roman Polanski, each common Cannes fixtures in earlier years. Elsewhere the lately retired French actor Adèle Haenel published an open letter that claimed the competition has a historical past of institutionalised misogyny.
On the eve of Depp’s arrival, competition chief Thierry Frémaux pushed back on the criticism, insisting that the actor had a authorized proper to be in Cannes. “If Johnny Depp had been banned from performing in a movie – or the movie itself was banned – we wouldn’t be speaking about it right here,” he mentioned.
Depp, for his half, dismissed the allegations in opposition to him as “summary whispers”. He added: “Nearly all of what you’ve examine my life these previous 5 years is fantastically, horrifically written fiction.”
He gave the impression to be on safer floor when discussing the deserves of Jeanne du Barry, which necessitated him performing fully in French. “My first query to Maïwenn was: ‘Possibly you need to attempt a French man?’ he recalled. “So I assumed it was very courageous of her to decide on some hillbilly from Kentucky to play Louis XV.”
Along with selling Maïwenn’s manufacturing, Depp is in Cannes to boost monetary backing for a biopic of the Italian painter Amedeo Modigliani. His future is unsure. His profession could bounce again. “I’ve seen the phrase ‘comeback’ getting used,” Depp admitted. “And I hold questioning about that, as a result of I didn’t actually go wherever. Possibly folks stopped calling me out of concern. However I didn’t go nowhere. I’ve been sitting round.”