First Look: Johnny Depp as Colonial Oppressor in 'Waiting for the Barbarians' (Exclusive)

Waiting for the Barbarians - Still - 2019
Credit: AMBI

He stars as a sinister, murderous colonel alongside Mark Rylance and Robert Pattinson in the adaption of J.M. Coetzee's novel.

Johnny Depp, striding confidently ahead of co-star Mark Rylance, is decked out in his finest colonial attire and sporting a decidedly stern expression in this exclusive first-look image from Waiting for the Barbarians, the upcoming film adaptation of J.M. Coetzee's prize-winning novel.

Ciro Guerra directs the drama, which centers on the crisis of conscience of a character known as the Magistrate (Rylance) — a loyal servant of "the Empire" working in a tiny frontier town. A warrant officer for the Empire (Robert Pattinson) is set to replace the Magistrate after he's charged with treason — consorting with the barbarians.

Meanwhile, Depp plays the sinister Colonel Joll, who leads a special forces expedition beyond the frontier, capturing barbarians he later publicly tortures.

Waiting for the Barbarians is billed as a "startling allegory of the war between oppressor and oppressed," in which Pattinson's Mandel must choose between what he feels is right and his duty to the Empire in the midst of conflict.

The movie was produced by Andrea Iervolino and Monika Bacardi's AMBI Media Group, Ievolino's TaTaTu, as well as Michael Fitzgerald and Olga Segura. AMBI will be continuing sales of the film — which was shot in North Africa and Europe and is now in postproduction — in Cannes.

Waiting for the Barbarians also underlines Depp's return to the indie realm following a lengthy spell pirating in the Caribbean. His other upcoming projects include Minamata, playing famed photographer W. Eugene Smith.