Johnny Depp says Jeanne Du Barry director had ‘great courage’ in casting him

‘It made no sense to me,’ remarked the Pirates of the Caribbean star

Kevin E G Perry
Wednesday 17 April 2024 07:20 BST
Jeanne Du Barry trailer

Johnny Depp has revealed that he tried to talk the director of his latest film Jeanne Du Barry out of casting him as King Louis XV.

The Pirates of the Caribbean star, 60, returned to the red carpet in London on Monday (15 April) night for the British premiere of his first feature film since the conclusion of his high-profile defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard.

In the new historical drama, Depp stars opposite French actress Maïwenn, who plays Jeanne, a working-class woman who uses her intelligence and allure to climb the social hierarchy, eventually landing on the radar of France’s King Louis XV.

The project, which was also co-written and directed by Maïwenn, is Depp‘s first major onscreen appearance since the defamation case.

It received a seven-minute standing ovation when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2023.

Speaking on stage at the premiere in London, Depp, who was born in Owensboro, Kentucky, told the audience he was surprised when he was approached for the role.

Maïwenn and Johnny Depp at the British premiere of ‘Jeanne du Barry’ (Neil P. Mockford/Getty Images)

“Instantly what happens in your brain is that you go back to eastern Kentucky... you realise that you come from the ‘ombelico nombril’, the belly button of nowhere and you’re playing the king of France,” said Depp according to Deadline.

“It made no sense to me, I tried to talk her out of it. She wasn’t hearing it, and she had great courage to take me into her cast.”

In 2022 Depp successfully sued his former partner Heard over a 2018 article she wrote for The Washington Post about her experiences as a survivor of domestic abuse, which his lawyers said falsely accused him of being an abuser.

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It followed a ruling by the High Court in London in 2020 that The Sun’s characterisation of Depp as a “wife beater” was “substantially true”.

On Monday night the Oscar-nominated actor reunited with British director Terry Gilliam, 83, who directed Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, which starred Depp as author Hunter S Thompson’s alter-ego Raoul Duke.

In clips shared on social media, Depp jokingly presents Gilliam to the photographers and videographers gathered around as director Tim Burton, whom Depp has worked with on films including 1990’s Edward Scissorhands and 2007’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street.

Gilliam, who is known for being a part of the original Monty Python crew, also directed Depp in his 2009 film The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus.

Additional reporting by agencies

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