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Johnny Depp’s Polarizing Comeback at Cannes


Johnny Depp’s Polarizing Comeback at Cannes

At the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, Johnny Depp returned with his historical drama “Jeanne du Barry,” marking his first public appearance post his legal battles with ex-wife Amber Heard, including a defamation trial, attracting both excitement and division.

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Upon Depp’s arrival on the red carpet, fans showed overwhelming support with applause, tears, and cheers, displaying their unwavering backing for the artist. They brandished signs expressing their affection for Depp and offering congratulations, a stark contrast to the rising criticism he faced both offline and online amidst the controversies encircling his personal life.

The historical romance “Jeanne du Barry,” helmed by Maïwenn Le Besco, features Depp in the role of Louis XV. This movie stands as a significant milestone for Depp, being his first major role post the legal disputes with Heard. Last year, Depp emerged victorious in a lawsuit against Heard, where the jury found her guilty of intentionally defaming him through her 2018 op-ed about her experiences as a survivor of domestic abuse.

Nonetheless, Depp’s legal battles have not all been in his favor. In 2020, he lost a libel case against The Sun, where the court ruled that the publication’s use of the term “wife-beater” to describe him was largely accurate. Despite these setbacks, Depp vehemently refutes the accusations against him.

While Depp received warm acclamation from fans at Cannes, a backlash emerged online and from Heard’s supporters, launching a social media movement with the tag #CannesYouNot, criticizing the festival for “celebrating abusers.” This backlash follows similar accusations against the festival and the French cinema industry for their perceived tolerance towards sexual offenders, including figures like Roman Polanski and Christophe Ruggia.

Thierry Fremaux, the head of the festival, addressed the criticisms during a press briefing, defending Depp’s presence and stressing the importance of freedom of expression and adherence to legal norms. Fremaux also expressed his disinterest in the Depp vs. Heard trial, focusing solely on Depp as an actor rather than the trial minutiae.

Despite the diverse responses, Depp’s Cannes appearance and his recent lucrative collaboration with Dior’s men’s fragrance line demonstrate ongoing support for the actor. His return to the limelight undeniably reignites discussions on his personal life and the industry’s duty to handle allegations of misconduct.

As the festival proceeds, the reception of “Jeanne du Barry” and Depp’s portrayal will undoubtedly continue provoking conversations on the divorce of art from actors’ personal lives and the industry’s stance on addressing misconduct claims.

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