Johnny Depp has said that “the majority” of words written about him are “fantastically, horrifically written fiction” while speaking about being “boycotted” by Hollywood.
Depp has returned to the screen for Jeanne du Barry, a French-language film which opened the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday night. The film received a seven-minute standing ovation, with Depp seen “in tears” in response.
The project, from French filmmaker Maiwenn, marks the Pirates of the Caribbean star’s first lead role since winning his highly publicised defamation trial against his former wife Amber Heard last year.
Depp sued Heard for defamation, claiming that she had falsely implied he was abusive towards her in a 2018 Washington Post opinion article.
The jury ultimately ruled in favour of Depp, although they also found in favour of Heard’s countersuit, in which she claimed that Depp’s lawyer had defamed her by describing her abuse allegations as a “hoax”. Heard later settled the defamation case with Depp.
On Wednesday, Depp appeared at a press conference alongside Jeanne du Barry’s cast and creative team. He was 42 minutes late.
Asked whether he still agreed with previous comments that he had been “boycotted” by Hollywood, the 59-year-old said: “Did I feel boycotted by Hollywood? You’d have to not have a pulse at that point to feel [like], ‘None of this is happening, this is actually just a weird joke – you’ve been asleep for 35 years!’
“Of course, when you’re asked to resign from a film you’re doing because of something that is merely a bunch of vowels and consonants floating in the air, you feel a bit boycotted.”
In 2020, Depp announced that he was leaving the Harry Potter spin-off franchise Fantastic Beasts, having been asked to resign by Warner Bros.
His departure came after losing a libel case against The Sun in the UK, in which he sued the paper after it published an article describing him as a “wife beater”. A UK court ruled that the claim was “substantially true”.
Depp has not been cast in a major US film since the UK trial.
Speaking in Cannes, Depp continued: “Do I feel boycotted now? No, not at all. I don’t feel boycotted by Hollywood because I don’t think about it. I don’t think about Hollywood. I don’t have much further need for Hollywood myself.
“It’s a very strange, funny time where everybody would love to be able to be themselves but they can’t, because they must fall in line. You want to live that kind of life? I wish you the best. I’ll be on the other side somewhere.”
Referring to the idea he was making a “comeback” with Jeanne du Barry, Depp said: “I didn’t go anywhere. As a matter of fact, I live about 45 minutes away… Comeback, it’s almost like I’m going to come out and do a tap dance.
“The notion of something like that, it’s a bizarre mystery.”