Friday, May 24, 2024

Cannes Opens: Johnny Depp is Still a King on the Red Carpet, Stars in “Jeanne DuBarry” from Controversial French Director Maiwenn, Gets Muted But Positive Reception in Solid Comeback


Maiwenn Le Bresco is a controversial director in France. Recently she confessed to attacking a journalist she didn’t like. in a restaurant. (I’m keeping this in mind, don’t worry.) She’s also famous for marrying director Luc Besson at 16. The marriage lasted four years and they have a daughter.

So why not have Johnny Depp in your movie, even for a few minutes? Two bolts of lightning for the same price. Tonight Maiween (she goes by her first name) premiered her film, “Jeanne du Barry” at the opening of the 2023 Festival des Cannes. Depp made a splash on the red carpet, taking perhaps a longer time than the minutes he appears in the film.

In “Jeanne du Barry,” Depp does not have a lot of lines. But after his divorce scandal, lawsuits he won and lost,, now a $30 million contract from Dior, everyone wants to see him again. In anything. So here he plays Louis XV, who died in 1774 at age 64. He was King for 59 years, and had many mistresses. Jeanne — hi final mistress — is played by Maiwenn. All of the other actors are French. Melvil Poupaud is best known to Americans, and stars later this year in Woody Allen’s “Coup de :Chance.” (He’s excellent.)

Depp has few lines in this comeback film. His visual presence works, however. Tonight’s audience gave him a muted but positive response. The real star of the night is Maiwenn. She stars and directs. It’s quite an achievement in an accomplished, beautifully made period piece.

For Depp this was a good move. In the right hands, Jeanne duBarry could be a hit, and cause a lot of discussion about strong women who took their own path in history. Depp, meantime, is still very much a movie star, and a king on the red carpet.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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