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Why is Johnny Depp’s appearance at the Cannes Film Festival called a ‘slap in the face’?

Johnny Depp attends the red carpet for the premiere of Joan of Barry at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. (Photo: Getty Images)

Five years have passed since Johnny Depp was last seen in a major Hollywood blockbuster: 2018 Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald to be precise. Fast forward to 2023 and the controversial actor is getting the biggest bang for him since that ill-fated creative and commercial. Harry Potter prequel Depp stars in the historical epic, Joan of Barry, which served as the opening night film of the 2023 Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday. His return to the big screen via such a prominent platform has already sparked controversy – here’s what you need to know about the debate over Depp’s Cannes appearance.

the backstory

Dumbledore (Jude Law) sees his heart's desire, Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) reflected in the Mirror of Erised in 'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald'.  (Photo: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc./Courtesy Everett Collection)

Depp and Jude Law in 2018 Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. (Photo: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc./Courtesy Everett Collection)

Depp hasn’t exactly been missing-in-action in the middle Grindelwald’s crimes and Joan of Barry. Last year, starred in one of the most followed celebrity trials never when he and his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard, faced off in a Virginia court for six weeks. Depp had sued the aquaman star for defamation during a 2018 Washington Post opinion piece in which Heard stated that he was a victim of sexual and physical violence. Both stars took the stand during the hard-hitting trial, their grieving testimony drawing fire from lawyers in the courtroom, media pundits and fans on social media.

The trial ended on June 1, 2022 with the jury ruling in favor of Depp, an explosive decision that led some to speculate whether the gains made during the #MeToo movement it had been lost. Depp received a total of $15 million in damages, while Heard received $2 million for his counterclaim. After exploring various post-trial options, the two sides reached an agreement in December. Heard took to Instagram in the wake of the settlement to say that she had “lost faith in the American legal system” but that she still intended to use her voice to “effect change.”

TOPSHOT - American actress Amber Heard waits before the jury returns a split verdict in favor of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in their lawsuit and counterclaim in the Depp v.  Heard at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia.  on June 1, 2022. - A US jury found on Wednesday that Johnny Depp and Amber Heard defamed each other, but sided much more with the

Amber Heard waits before the jury returns a split verdict on her lawsuit and counterclaim in the Depp v. /AFP via Getty Images)

The protracted and bitter legal battle affected the careers of both artists: Depp was relieved of his fantastic beasts franchise duties, replaced by Mads Mikkelsen for the third film in the series, 2022 Dumbledore’s secretsand since then it has only appeared on international manufacturing rates as waiting for the barbarians and minamata. I heard, meanwhile, will continue to appear in the sequel to DC Studios, aquaman and the lost kingdom, although the size of his role is unclear. The actress was also the subject of an intense social media campaign during and after the trial that Heard publicly called unfair.

“Even someone who is sure I deserve all this hate and vitriol, even if you think I’m lying, you still couldn’t tell me, look me in the eye and tell me, what you think on social media. There has been fair representation,” heard said Today in June. “You can’t tell me that you think this was fair.”

The crisis point

Depp as King Louis XV in Jeanne du Barry.  (Photo: Stéphanie Branchu/Why Not Productions)

Depp as King Louis XV in Joan of Barry. (Photo: Stéphanie Branchu/Why Not Productions)

Depp’s appearance in Joan of Barry first announced in January 2022 and the film went before the cameras in july, after the trial. Directed by and starring French actress and filmmaker Maïwenn Le Besco, the film follows the life and scandalous times of King Louis XV’s mistress as she gains power at his court just before the French Revolution overthrows the monarchy. Joan of Barry was announced as the Cannes Film Festival 2023 Opening Night Screening in April and the festival’s director, Thierry Fremaux, has strongly defended the selection.

“I don’t know about the image of Johnny Depp in the United States”, Fremaux recently commented at a press conference prior to Cannes. “To tell the truth, in my life, I only have one rule, it is the freedom to think, and the freedom of expression and action within a legal framework.”

But Cannes jury member Brie Larson took a more ambivalent tone about Depp’s presence at the festival. During a jury press conference.he Room The Oscar winner declined to say if she would attend Joan of Barry premiere, although attendance is not mandatory for members of the jury as the film is not competing for the festival’s coveted main prize, the Palme d’Or.

In fact, Larson seemed to suggest that he might not see the movie. “You’ll see it, I suppose, if I see it,” she said. “And I don’t know how I’ll feel about it if I do.” (Larson has frequently spoken in favor of the #MeToo movementand famously refused to applaud Casey Affleck after his win for Best Actor at the 2017 Academy Awards after reports of sexual harassment complaints against actor).

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 16: Brie Larson attends the

Brie Larson attends the Joan of Barry Screening and red carpet of the opening ceremony at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)

Larson was finally photographed attending the Cannes premiere of Joan of Barryalthough it is not clear if the x fast star watched the movie. Depp’s fans were out in force, too. when he got to walk the red carpet, and the actor posed for selfies with the crowd. The crowd inside the theater reportedly gave him a standing ovation as he took his seat for the screening.

Meanwhile, Heard’s supporters took to social media to protest Depp’s red carpet welcome in Cannes using the hashtag #CannesYouNot. ahead of the Joan of Barry premiere, said one of the organizers of the campaign Variety: “He depp vs ear The trial became the vehicle through which the reaction against the #MeToo movement went viral. The Hollywood industries seem to be taking advantage of that reaction to return to the status quo. To open your festival with Johnny Depp? To be honest, it feels like a slap in the face.”

hot shots

Depp in a scene from Jeanne du Barry.  (Photo: Courtesy of the Everett Collection)

Depp in a scene from Joan of Barry. (Photo: Courtesy of the Everett Collection)

The first reviews of Joan of Barry outside Cannes indicate that, aside from the standing ovation, Depp’s performance isn’t much to write home about:

“Even the casting (some would say stunt casting) of Johnny Depp as the king delivers some early thrills and then mostly yawns, with Depp delivering what seems like a total of a dozen lines in respectable French, while remaining mute. the acting isn’t bad, and Maïwenn isn’t bad in the lead either. But for both of us, as in the movie, they rarely get our pulses racing. With all the recent controversy surrounding Depp…the result of their collaboration It’s a beautiful period piece that feels both flat and superficial, and certainly far from any scandal.” —Jordan Mintzer, the hollywood reporter

Though presented entirely in French and given plenty of screen time, the American star makes a strangely scant impression, offering a subdued, subdued turn that plays into her broader reputation in often fascinating ways. —Ben Croll, indiewire

“Depp isn’t the first Hollywood outcast to find work in Europe, but it would be a stretch to say this feels like the first spark of a glorious comeback.” —Robbie Collins The Telegraph

“For his part, Depp delivers his lines in well-crafted French, clad in powder and a stiff white wig, and yet seems strangely uncomfortable in the role: adequate but not especially compromising.” —Peter Debruge, Variety

While the film will open in France immediately after its release in Cannes, there is still no announcement as to when, or if, it will open in the US (Due to a prior license agreementNetflix will be the streaming home for the film in France, but not in any other territory.) And while Depp has revealed plans to direct a new film based on the life of Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani, in particular, he has no new Hollywood roles in the offing.

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