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In what will no doubt provoke some considerable noise, Johnny Depp’s latest film — Jeanne du Barry — is set to open the 2023 Cannes Film Festival.
The film, directed by Maïwenn, will have its world premiere in the Palais on May 16.
In Jeanne du Barry, Maïwenn plays herself as the title character alongside Depp, Benjamin Lavernhe, Melvil Poupaud, Pierre Richard, Pascal Greggory and India Hair. Recounting the life, rise and fall of the King Louis XV‘s favorite, the film will be released in French cinemas simultaneously with its Cannes bow.
The film follows Jeanne Vaubernier, 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 favorite of King Louis XV (Depp) who, unaware of her status as a courtesan, regains through her his appetite for life. They fall madly in love. Against all propriety and etiquette, Jeanne moves to Versailles, where her arrival scandalizes the court.
The decision to give Depp the Cannes opening night slot will likely raise a number of eyebrows, his red carpet appearance on the Croisette coming less than a year after the end of his hugely contentious and very public legal dispute with Amber Heard.
In what could well spark additional debate, the film also comes with a historic first, being the first Cannes opener to be funded by Saudi Arabia, having landed postproduction financing from the Red Sea Film Festival.
The film is being produced by Why Not Production Company’s Pascal Caucheteux and Grégoire Sorlat, Depp’s production company IN.2, La Petite Reine and France Télévisions. The Red Sea Film Festival serve as executive producers, with Goodfellas (formerly Wild Bunch International) handling world sales.
More to come…
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