Johnny Depp’s Hollywood future ‘uncertain’

Author: Editors Desk, Ashley Hume – Fox News Source: News Corp Australia Network:
May 3, 2024 at 10:36

As his comeback movie is marred with negative stories of his behaviour on-set, has Johnny Depp already blown his chances?

Johnny Depp is back on the big screen after emerging victorious in his explosive court battle with his ex-wife Amber Heard.

The 60-year-old actor is starring opposite French actor and director Maïwenn in the new French-language period romance Jeanne Du Barry, which premiered on Thursday.


Johnny Depp is making his comeback in Jeanne Du Barry. Picture by Neil P. Mockford/Getty Images.
Johnny Depp is making his comeback in Jeanne Du Barry. Picture by Neil P. Mockford/Getty Images.


The film’s limited theatrical run ends on Monday, but the movie will be available to stream on Apple TV+ at a future date.

Though Depp won his 2022 defamation trial against the 38-year-old actor, he was shunned by Hollywood for years due to Heard’s allegations that he physically and emotionally abused her. Brand expert Doug Eldridge shared his thoughts with Fox News Digital on Depp’s return and his future in the industry.

“From a strategic standpoint, I think it’s a brilliant move. It’s uncertain how bright his box office star shines right now, after being dragged through the defamation mud in front of the entire country,” Mr Eldridge said.

Jeanne Du Barry follows the story of the real-life Jeanne Du Barry (Maïwenn), an illegitimate commoner who becomes a courtesan and rises through the ranks of French society in the 18th century. Jeanne eventually catches the eye of King Louis XV (Depp), who makes her his chief royal mistress.

All the dialogue in Jeanne Du Barry is in French with English subtitles. Depp learned to speak French during his 14-year relationship with French actor Vanessa Paradis, with whom he shares two children. Though the Edward Scissorhands star received second billing in the movie, the story’s central focus is on Maïwenn’s character, while Depp appears as a supporting actor.

Mr Eldridge pointed out that Jeanne Du Barry as Depp’s comeback vehicle may not propel him back to his previous star status.


Depp stars alongside actor and director Maïwenn. Photo by Neil P. Mockford/Getty Images.
Depp stars alongside actor and director Maïwenn. Photo by Neil P. Mockford/Getty Images.


“Instead of attaching him to a leading role in a big budget movie — which brings high expectations with it — Depp is re-entering the pool from the shallow end, with a supporting role in a period piece,” Mr Eldridge said.

“The expected box office is small and Depp’s role is already being touted as the standout performance of the film.

“More than that, Depp is choosing to do it his way,” he added.

Depp’s Hollywood star began to fall in 2016, when Heard, to whom he was married for less than two years, filed for divorce from the actor and accused him of abuse. Depp denied the accusations, and their divorce was finalised in 2017.

However, Heard stood by her allegations, penning a 2018 op-ed in which she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse”.

That same year, Depp sued a UK newspaper for libel and lost. Film studio Warner Brothers. then asked him to resign from his role as Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts franchise.

After losing his UK case, Depp’s career came to an abrupt halt. Prior to Jeanne Du Barry, his last film role was in the 2020 independent film Minamata, which was completed before the UK trial.

Maïwenn had cast Depp in Jeanne Du Barry in the winter of 2019.

In a recent interview with UK publication The Independent, Maïwenn, who is known by her first name, recalled that Depp’s British assistant Stephen Deuters emailed her a week after the actor lost his case and asked her if she still wanted him to star in the film.

She told Deuters that she was not concerned with Depp’s “private life” and asked if he still wanted to participate in the project.

“Stephen answered in 30 seconds,” Maïwenn said.

After Depp and Heard sued each other for defamation in the U.S., the case was heard by a Virginia court in April 2022. During their bombshell, televised six-week trial, Depp and Heard both testified, lobbing shocking allegations of physical and sexual abuse against each other.

During the trial, Depp said he was also fired from the sixth instalment of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. He stated that Disney cut ties with him after Heard’s op-ed was published..


There’s already been some controversy about Depp’s behaviour on set of the new movie. Photo by LOGIC VENANCE / AFP.


On June 1, 2022, the jury ruled largely in Depp’s favour, as they found Heard liable on all three counts of defamation, while Depp was determined to be liable for one count of defamation. Heard was ordered to pay Depp $15 million in damages, and Depp was to pay his former spouse $3 million.

While Depp was vindicated in court by the verdict, Mr Eldridge noted that Depp’s reputation among the public and in Hollywood might not be easily salvaged.

“By winning his defamation case against his ex, Depp planted a flag, not only for himself, but for men who have been wrongly accused across the country,” Mr Eldridge added.

“In so doing, he galvanised an army of new fans — both men and women — who were inspired by his bravery and willingness to confront and combat the false allegations made against him.”

“Unfortunately, for Depp and others who are wrongly accused, the ‘court of public opinion’ renders a verdict by allegation, not evidence, and the blowback has a calculable impact in terms of dollars and cents.


Depp’s doomed marriage to Amber Heard marked the beginning of his downfall. Photo by EVELYN HOCKSTEIN / POOL / AFP.
Depp’s doomed marriage to Amber Heard marked the beginning of his downfall. Photo by EVELYN HOCKSTEIN / POOL / AFP.


“Depp’s vindication came in the courtroom, he doesn’t need validation,” Mr Eldridge added. “That said, the only thing worse than being accused of something you didn’t do, is being forced to pay for the sins that others have actually committed against you. It’s a paradoxical state of affairs, but one that Depp has had to navigate nonetheless.”

Eldridge pointed to Depp’s firing from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise despite playing the main character Captain Jack Sparrow.

“The films grossed a staggering $​​1.06 billion ($A1.6bn) for studio Disney, to which Depp was the driving force,” he said.

“To wit, he earned an estimated $300 ($A452) million from the franchise. Not only was he deprived of subsequent instalments in Pirates, he became an unwitting, innocent pariah among Hollywood decision-makers.”

Production on Jeanne Du Barry began one month after the trial, and the film was selected to open the 76th Annual Cannes Film Festival, held in May 2023. Depp made his return to the spotlight official when he attended the film’s world premiere.

During a press conference to promote the film, Depp opened up about how he felt he was treated by Hollywood amid his yearslong legal battle with Heard.

“Did I feel boycotted by Hollywood? Well, you’d have to not have a pulse to feel at that point like this was all just a weird joke,” he said, reported magazine Variety.

“Of course, when you’re asked to resign from a film you’re doing because of something that’s merely a bunch of vowels and consonants floating in the air, yes, you feel boycotted,” he added, referring to losing his role in Fantastic Beasts.

“Do I feel boycotted now? No, not at all,” Depp continued.

“But I don’t feel boycotted because I don’t think about Hollywood. I don’t feel much further need for Hollywood.”

Last month, Maïwenn made headlines after the publication of an interview with The Independent, in which the director said that the Jeanne Du Barry crew were “afraid” of Depp during filming.

“I have to be honest. It’s difficult to shoot with him … all the crew were scared because he has a different kind of humour, and we didn’t know if he was going to be on time, or if he was going to be OK to say his lines … I mean, even if he was there on set, on time, the crew were afraid of him,” Maïwenn said.

In a statement to Variety, Maïwenn clarified her remarks, saying that she felt “betrayed” by how her comments had been characterised in the article.


Maïwenn described Depp as “scary”, and was forced to later explain her remarks. Photo by Neil P. Mockford/Getty Images.
Maïwenn described Depp as “scary”, and was forced to later explain her remarks. Photo by Neil P. Mockford/Getty Images.


“When I made a remark about Johnny being ‘scary,’ I was talking about his charisma, his notoriety, his star status, etc,” Maïwenn wrote.

“I would like to make things very clear: Johnny is ‘scary’ in the sense that his charisma and his status as “king” is impressive,” she continued. “I should have used the word ‘impressive’ if I had known [the writer] would use my words in such a malicious way.”

In her interview with The Independent, Maïwenn claimed that Depp was often late to set and detailed clashes that she had with the actor during production.

Maïwenn told the outlet that Depp would often arrive with rewritten versions of the script, which she wrote along with Teddy Lussi-Modeste and Nicolas Livecchi.

She recalled one instance in which “Johnny came with a new version of the script and I wasn’t happy with it. It didn’t work … So I shot it without making the changes he wanted … which he took as an insult.”

Maïwenn also explained that she had to cut some of Depp’s dialogue after filming started because his French accent “wasn’t perfect”.

“There was no time for rehearsals,” she said. “I asked for time but, for whatever reason, he wasn’t available … He had a coach, but he couldn’t work with her beforehand. So. OK. I discovered his accent wasn’t perfect. So a few times I decided to cut his lines. But that also happened with the French actors. It happens!”

Maïwenn recalled that she and Depp got along “famously” ahead of production, but their relationship deteriorated during filming and has not been the same since.

“There’s been no normal relationship since the shoot,” she said. “Johnny for me is a huge genius, but he’s in another world. I cannot communicate with him”.

This story originally appeared on Fox News and is republished here with permission.

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