Johnny Depp is making his return to films, but this time, behind the camera. Following the shocking defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard, the Oscar nominee is looking to get back into filmmaking. The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Depp would direct his first film in 25 years, Modigliani. The upcoming feature is about Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani, though the exact plot details are currently unknown. Al Pacino and Barry Navidi are producing the movie. Depp expressed his gratitude for being allowed to direct a movie once again, “The saga of Mr. Modigliani’s life is one that I’m incredibly honored and truly humbled to bring to the screen. It was a life of great hardship, but eventual triumph – a universally human story all viewers can identify with.”
Depp is no stranger to stepping behind the camera, as the actor directed 1997’s The Brave, which also featured him as an onscreen talent alongside Marlon Brando. Unfortunately, the film never saw a wide release following its screening at Cannes. Currently, it stands at a low 33% on rotten tomatoes, with critics labeling the feature as atrocious: Screen International was especially harsh with their review about the feature, “Depp’s ignominious directorial debut crawls across the screen for two hours like a snail. Narratively inept and dramatically empty.”
Since then, Depp has mainly focused his directorial efforts on music videos. The Navidi further elaborated on the story and how much of a passion project this is for Al Pacino, “This is a slice of Modi’s life and not a bio. “The project has been very close to Al’s heart. Al introduced me to the play ‘Modigliani’ many years ago, and I instantly fell in love with it,” Navidi stated. “It’s been a dream of mine to work with Johnny again – he’s a true artist with an amazing vision to bring this great story to the screen.”
Following the ordeal of being labeled as a woman beater in his loss against Heard in his U.K. trial against The Sun Newspaper, the veteran was essentially blocked from Tinseltown, with Warner Brothers notably getting him to step down from The Fantastic Beasts franchise. While Johnny didn’t strictly come across as an angel himself in the defamation trial, it was clear that Heard was lying on multiple occasions, and the actor came across as relatable and likable. Since the judgment, Depp has slowly been invited back into Hollywood, with a shocking appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards.
“Hey, you know what?” Depp says at one point. Later in the show, he said, “I want you guys to know that I’m available for birthdays, bar mitzvahs, weddings, wakes, any old thing you need. Anything. You name it. Oh. I’m also a dentist.” The moments were met with a mixed reaction. Fans saw it as the actor’s big comeback to Tinseltown. Others weren’t happy with seeing him back in the limelight. Nevertheless, while the biopic isn’t an onscreen return for the Oscar nominee, it still marks a significant development and upswing in his career.
Amedeo Clemente Modigliani was a painter and sculptor known for his portraits and nudes with a unique style of elongated faces, necks, and total figures. The France native’s work wasn’t famous at the time; however, it became huge as years passed. Despite a celebrated life of paintings, Modigliani struggled with his health and alcohol and ultimately succumbed to his tubercular meningitis. He died on January 24, 1920. Thus far, there’s no word on when the feature will be released; however, once that information is revealed, we’ll surely get the news out.