Johnny Depp's acting return revealed in first look at star as King Louis XV

·Contributor
·2-min read
Johnny Depp as King Louis XV in a first look image from Jeanne du Barry. (Why Not Productions)
Johnny Depp as King Louis XV in a first look image from Jeanne du Barry. (Why Not Productions)

The production company behind Johnny Depp's acting return has revealed a first look image of the star as French monarch King Louis XV.

Depp is set to portray the king in upcoming historical romance Jeanne du Barry, which depicts the relationship between Louis XV and the title character — his final mistress.

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The film marks Depp's first major movie role since he won his high-profile defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard over an op-ed she wrote in 2018, identifying herself as a domestic violence survivor.

Depp was awarded a $15m (£12.3m) judgment, which was subsequently reduced to $10.35m (£8.5m) because of Virginia's cap on punitive damages.

Johnny Depp recently won a defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard over claims of domestic violence. (Consolidated News Pictures/Getty)
Johnny Depp recently won a defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard over claims of domestic violence. (Consolidated News Pictures/Getty)

Why Not Productions, which made Rust and Bone and A Prophet, announced that filming on Jeanne du Barry began in July and is due to last for 11 weeks.

French filmmaker Maïwenn is directing the movie, co-wrote the screenplay and will also play the title character.

Read more: Johnny Depp says he is a victim of cancel culture "injustice"

Jeanne du Barry rose through the social strata of France from her roots in poverty to ultimately become the king's favourite companion.

The movie marks Depp's first screen role since playing American photographer W. Eugene Smith in 2020 drama Minamata.

Johnny Depp has been performing on stage with friend Jeff Beck since the trial verdict was made public. (Redferns)
Johnny Depp has been performing on stage with friend Jeff Beck since the trial verdict was made public. (Redferns)

A jury sided with Depp in May in the actor's defamation suit against Heard, with the former Pirates of the Caribbean star denying that he abused her during their relationship.

Heard has since argued that the trial was unfair, citing the weight of social media fervour behind Depp's cause throughout the televised court proceedings.

Read more: Judge denies Amber Heard claims of Depp mistrial

She said: "Even somebody who is sure I’m deserving of all this hate and vitriol, even if you think that I’m lying, you still couldn’t look me in the eye and tell me that you think on social media there’s been a fair representation. You cannot tell me that you think that this has been fair."

Depp lost a similar defamation case in the UK in 2020, with a judge ruling in favour of The Sun over an article in which the paper referred to Depp as a "wife beater".

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