Johnny Depp to Star as Disgraced King Louis XV in New Movie From French Director Maiwenn
Johnny Depp might still be persona no grata in Hollywood, but the Pirates of the Caribbean star has lined up his next project in France.
Depp will play French king Louis XV in the new, as-yet-untitled film from acclaimed French director Maiwenn ( Polisse ). The film will shoot on location at the Versailles Palace and around Paris starring this summer. The plot of the period drama is being kept under wraps.
Paris-based Why Not Productions ( A Prophet ) are producing. Wild Bunch International are handling worldwide sales and will introduce the project to buyers at next month’s European Film Market in Berlin.
Louis XV, also known as Louis the Beloved, ruled as King of France for 59 years, from 1715, when he succeeded his great-grandfather Louis XIV at the age of five, to his death in 1774. Despite his nickname, Louis XV’s reign ended in disgrace, with the king accused of debauchery and corruption, a legacy he passed on to his grandson and successor Louis XVI, who was beheaded after the French Revolution. French website Satellifax first reported the news of the Depp casting.
Depp has found himself out of favor among U.S. producers after his ex-wife Amber Heard accused him of domestic violence. Warner Bros. dropped him from the third installment of their Fantastic Beasts franchise, replacing Depp with Mads Mikkelsen. Depp’s last film was Andrew Levitas’s Minamata , in which he plays W. Eugene Smith, an American photographer who helped document the devastating effect of mercury poisoning in coastal communities in Japan in the 1970s. Minamata premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 2020 and MGM picked up the film for U.S. release but shelved it amid the controversy surrounding Depp. The studio eventually flipped the film to independents ILBE and Samuel Goldwyn, who did a limited release last December. The three-time Oscar nominee, however, hasn’t faced much of a backlash in Europe. Last year, both the Karlovy Vary and San Sebastian film festivals honored him with lifetime achievement awards.
Maiwenn, an actor-turned-director, won acclaim for the 2011 drama Polisse , which won the Jury Prize in Cannes. Her 2015 follow-up, Mon Roi , took best actress in Cannes for star Emmanuelle Bercot. DNA , her last film, was picked as part of Cannes’ 2020 official selection. The Depp film will be her first-ever period drama. The new project could also mark Depp’s French-language debut. The actor lived in France for many years and speaks French, albeit with a strong American accent.