Johnny Depp's highly anticipated comeback movie 'Jeanne du Barry' to kick off Cannes Film Festival 2023

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Johnny Depp is set to portray Louis XV in the upcoming film Jeanne du Barry, premiering at Cannes 2023 (Credit: Getty Images)Johnny Depp is set to portray Louis XV in the upcoming film Jeanne du Barry, premiering at Cannes 2023 (Credit: Getty Images)
Johnny Depp is set to portray Louis XV in the upcoming film Jeanne du Barry, premiering at Cannes 2023 (Credit: Getty Images) | Getty Images
Cannes Film Festival has been known for rescuing the careers of many before - will it help Johnny Depp’s rehabilitation into the Hollywood A-list? 

The Johnny Depp comeback tour continues this year, with Cannes Film Festival announcing that the actor’s first film since his trial against Amber Heard will be opening the event on May 16 2023. The film marks the actor’s first big screen appearance in three years, with his last appearance in Andrew Levitas’ film Minamata, featuring Depp playing American photojournalist W. Eugene Smith.

Jeanne du Barry will see Depp, 59, portray Louis XV - known also as Louis the Beloved - as Maïwenn’s film sets to tell the tale of Jeanne, a young working-class woman hungry for culture and pleasure who uses her intelligence and allure to climb the rungs of the social ladder one by one. She becomes the favourite of King Louis XV who, unaware of her status as courtesan, regains through her his appetite for life. They fall madly in love and, against all propriety and etiquette, Jeanne moves to Versailles, where her arrival scandalises the court.

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The French production will also feature the director portraying Madam du Barry, the last royal mistress of Louis XV who was guillotined during the French Revolution for the crime of treason, while the Parisian acting talent continues in the form of Louis Garrel. Western audiences will be familiar with the actor through his performance in the 2003 Bernardo Bertolucci film The Dreamers, co-starring alongside Michael Pitt and Eva Green.

Speaking about the film during its production, Maïwenn was cautious to distance the style of the production from that of the works of Sofia Coppola, with the obvious Marie Antoinette comparisons a constant given the setting of the film. Speaking to French publication Le Journal du Dimanche, Maïwenn said that “our only common point is having wanted to take liberties, but my direction is neither pop nor rock. I wanted to create a tale about a magnificent loser who is heading towards her downfall.”

Jeanne du Barry joins Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Wes Anderson’s new film Asteroid City, Pedro Almodovar’s short film Strange Way of Life and Martin Scorsese’s later marathon Killers of the Flower Moon (feature Oscar winner Brendan Fraser alongside Leonardo DiCaprio) as confirmed features to have their world premieres at the illustrious film festival. 

Cannes Film Festival - home of the comeback

Robert Downey Jr. attends a photocall promoting the film 'A Scanner Darkly' during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival on May 25, 2006 in Cannes, France.  (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)Robert Downey Jr. attends a photocall promoting the film 'A Scanner Darkly' during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival on May 25, 2006 in Cannes, France.  (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Robert Downey Jr. attends a photocall promoting the film 'A Scanner Darkly' during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival on May 25, 2006 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Cannes Film Festival has already achieved a level of notoriety for being the film festival that has launched the comebacks of many an acting or directing career. Perhaps one of the most notable comebacks to springboard off a premiere at the festival is that of Robert Downey Jr. Despite the success of his appearance in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang opposite Val Kilmer, there was still some trepidation casting him into roles given his wild child history. 

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However, after the premiere screening of Iron Man in 2008, not only did Robert Downey Jr. get his flowers and solidify himself once again as a Hollywood A-lister, but whether he was aware or not, he ensured that superhero movies became a profitable franchise going forwards. Essentially, Cannes not only resuscitated Downey’s career, but gave birth to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Mel Gibson also used the Cannes Film Festival to take the heat off his controversies surrounding comments to both an estranged partner and anti-Semitic remarks when pulled over by a police officer. He chose the festival at the relaunch of his directorial career, with Hacksaw Ridge premiering in 2016 - the film would later go on to earn Mel Gibson a number of award nominations the following year, including several Academy Award nods.

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