Despite insisting that his career was irreparably damaged in his court battle with former wife Amber Heard, Johnny Depp is seemingly more employable than he’s been in years.
Within a matter of days, the controversial actor re-upped his seven-figure, multiyear contract with Dior; started shooting a new period drama; and announced on Monday that he’ll direct his first feature film in 25 years.
Depp will return to the director’s chair to helm “Modigliani,” a biographical drama about Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani, which will be co-produced by Al Pacino. The two actors famously co-starred in the acclaimed 1997 crime drama “Donnie Brasco.”
Based on a play by Dennis McIntyre, the film will drop into the artist’s world over a “turbulent and eventful” two-day period that “will become a turning point in his life, ultimately solidifying his reputation as an artistic legend,” according to The Hollywood Reporter, which first reported news of the project. Jerzy Kromolowski and Mary Olson-Kromolowski will adapt the project for the screen.
“The saga of Mr. Modigliani’s life is one that I’m incredibly honored, and truly humbled, to bring to the screen,” Depp said in a statement. “It was a life of great hardship, but eventual triumph – a universally human story all viewers can identify with.”
Filming is set to begin in Europe in the spring of 2023. It’s unclear whether Depp will also star in the film, but casting details will be announced shortly.
Best known for his work in front of the camera, Depp has only dabbled in directing features once before with the infamous 1997 misfire “The Brave.” The film, which also starred Marlon Brando, received such scathing reviews from American critics that Depp refused to allow the film to be released domestically in theaters or on DVD.
Depp’s career has picked up major momentum after a Virginia jury awarded him $15 million in damages in his lawsuit against Heard. He alleged that she defamed him by describing herself as a victim of domestic abuse in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed.
The legal battle is still ongoing, however, as Heard officially filed to appeal the defamation suit verdict. Depp, meanwhile, has also filed a notice to appeal a verdict that awarded Heard $2 million in compensatory damages in her countersuit against the actor.
Depp is currently at work filming “Jeanne du Barry,” an upcoming historical love story from director Maïwenn. The actor stars as King Louis XV in the project, which will be his first feature film role since 2020’s “Minamata.” Earlier this month, Deadline unveiled the first image of Depp fully transformed into the French ruler.