CANNES— Johnny Depp pushed back at suggestions he was making a comeback with the Cannes Film Festival’s opening movie “Jeanne du Barry” following a high-profile defamation trial a year ago, though he admitted people had “stopped calling” at the time.
“I keep wondering about the word comeback, because I didn’t go anywhere,” Depp said after arriving 45 minutes later than scheduled at the news conference for the film on Wednesday.
“Yeah, maybe people stopped calling out of whatever their fear was at the time but no, I didn’t go nowhere.”
“Jeanne du Barry,” in which Depp plays King Louis XV, received a seven-minute standing ovation at the luxurious Grand Theatre Lumiere, where it premiered on Tuesday evening.
The film, by French actor and director Maïwenn Le Besco, known as Maïwenn, chronicles the life of French courtesan Madame du Barry, who climbed the social ladder at Versailles to become the king’s favourite.
Maïwenn said she cast Depp, who speaks French in the film, because she would be hugging and kissing whomever played the part and wanted to feel strongly about the actor.
“I really fell in love with him in this part,” she said.
Depp was handed a near-total victory by a U.S. jury last year in his highly publicized defamation trial with former wife, actor Amber Heard, with jurors awarding him over $10 million in damages.
Less than two years earlier, Depp lost a libel suit in Britain against the Sun tabloid, which called him a “wife beater.” Shortly after, Depp was dropped from the “Fantastic Beasts” movie franchise, a “Harry Potter” spin-off.
Depp said on Wednesday that he felt boycotted after being asked to resign from the film over some “vowels and consonants floating in the air” and described media coverage of him during the trials as “fantastically, horrifically written fiction.”
“Do I feel boycotted now? No, not at all, I don’t feel boycotted because I don’t think about it, I don’t think about Hollywood,” he said.
—Reporting by Miranda Murray; Editing by Bernadette Baum