Johnny Depp says he tried to talk director out of casting him in new film


Johnny Depp has said he tried to talk the director of his new film out of casting him in one of the lead roles.

The Hollywood star plays France’s King Louis XV in historical drama Jeanne Du Barry, and attended the UK premiere in London on Monday evening.

Depp, 60, made his return to the red carpet for what is his first feature film since the conclusion of his high-profile defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard in the US in 2022.

The film follows the life of Jeanne, a working-class woman who uses her intelligence and allure to climb the social hierarchy, eventually landing on the radar of the king. The character is played by French actress Maiwenn, who is also a co-writer and the film’s director.

Johnny Depp in Jeanne Du Barry. Pic: Stephanie Branchu/Why Not Productions
Depp stars as King Louis XV. Pic: Stephanie Branchu/Why Not Productions

Depp spoke on stage at the premiere, saying he was surprised when he was approached about the film.

According to Hollywood trade publication Deadline, the actor, who is from Owensboro, Kentucky, told the audience: “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.

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Johnny Depp reading at MacGowan funeral

“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.”

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

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The film is Depp’s first major on-screen appearance following his lawsuits against Heard and the publishers of The Sun newspaper in the UK.

In 2022, he successfully sued 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.

However, his UK case two years earlier was not successful, with a High Court judge finding that Depp had assaulted Heard during their relationship.

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