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The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival has become the second major European film festival to throw its support behind controversial actor Johnny Depp, announcing Tuesday that it will celebrate the Pirates of the Caribbean star at its 55th event this summer.
Karlovy Vary said it would pay tribute to Depp’s “significant contributions to film” by welcoming the actor to the festival, which runs August 20-28, and would screen his two more recent productions: Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan (2020), the Julien Temple-directed documentary about the Pogues frontman which Depp produced, and Andrew Levitas’ biopic Minamata (2020), a passion project for Depp, in which he stars as W. Eugene Smith, the Life photojournalist who helped to uncover the large-scale mercury poisoning of Japan’s coastal communities in the early 1970s.
“We’re incredibly honored to welcome to the Festival an icon of the contemporary cinema,” said Karlovy Vary’s executive director Krystof Mucha and the festival’s artistic director Karel Och in a statement. “We’ve admired Mr. Depp for such a long time and are thrilled to bestow this honor on him.”
Karlovy Vary follows Spanish festival San Sebastian, which yesterday said it would present Depp with its Donostia Award, a lifetime achievement honor, to recognize the actor’s “outstanding contributions to the film world.”
The accolades come after the three-time Oscar nominee and one-time box office champ has fallen out of public favor following Depp’s loss in a libel case against the publisher of The Sun newspaper in the U.K., which had described the actor as a “wife beater,” claiming he had been violent towards his ex-wife, actor Amber Heard. The court agreed, ruling the paper’s claims to be “substantially true”. The judge in the case said Depp put Heard in “fear for her life.”
Depp asked the Court of Appeal for permission to challenge the ruling but a judge refused his application, saying the appeal had “no real prospect of success”.
Days after the ruling was announced, Depp said he had been asked by Warner Brothers to resign from his role as Gellert Grindelwald in the third Fantastic Beasts film. He was replaced by Mads Mikkelsen.
MGM picked up Minamata for the U.S. but has yet to release the film, leading director Levitas to claim the studio wants to “bury” the film because of the controversy surrounding its star.
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