Johnny Depp is addressing his “comeback” and being canceled by Hollywood.
Speaking at a press conference for his new movie Jeanne Du Barry at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday, Depp, 59, said that while he did feel “boycotted” following his high-profile legal cases against ex-wife Amber Heard, people had been misled by “fiction.”
“You’d have to not have a pulse at that point to feel like, ‘No, none of this is happening. This is actually just a weird joke,’ ” said Depp, who arrived 15 minutes late for the event. “Of course, when you’re asked to resign from the film you’re doing because of something that is merely a bunch of vowels and consonants floating in the air, yeah, you feel a bit boycotted.”
“Do I feel boycotted now?” he continued. “No, not at all. But I don’t feel boycotted by Hollywood because I don’t think about it. I don’t think about Hollywood. I don’t have much further need for Hollywood myself.”
Jeanne Du Barry’s rollout in France comes one year after Depp’s controversial Virginia defamation trial with Heard over a 2018 op-ed she wrote about coming forward with domestic abuse allegations.
Addressing the impact that this and a previous 2020 libel case in London had on his career, Depp added, “I never went anywhere.”
“People have seen or heard the word comeback exchanged by folks and using that as a catchphrase. ‘He’s making a comeback,’ or ‘He’s made a comeback,’ ”
“I keep wondering about the word comeback because I didn’t go anywhere. As a matter of fact, I live about 45 minutes away. So yeah, maybe people stopped calling out of whatever their fear was at the time. But no, I didn’t go nowhere. I’ve been sitting around.”
“So ‘comeback,’ it’s almost like I’m going to come out and do a tap dance or some kind of spectacular feet on the table and dance my best for you guys, and hope that you will approve. The notion of something like that is a bizarre mystery.”
For Depp, the public perception of his personal life is based purely on what he described as a “fiction” created in the courtrooms of Virginia and London.
“With regard to me and my life, the majority of what you’ve read is fantastically, horrifically written fiction,” said Depp, alongside his costar and director Maïwenn. “It’s like asking a question, ‘How are you doing?’ But what’s underneath in the subtext is, ‘God, I hate you.’ Do you know what I mean? So that’s the sort of media thing.”
On Monday, Cannes Film Festival’s chief Thierry Fremaux addressed having Depp’s movie open the festival, telling reporters, “I don’t know about the image of Johnny Depp in the U.S. To tell you the truth, in my life, I only have one rule, it’s the freedom of thinking and the freedom of speech and acting within a legal framework.”
“If Johnny Depp had been banned from acting in a film or the film was banned, we wouldn’t be here talking about it. So we saw Maïwenn’s film and it could have been in competition. She would have been the eighth female director,” said Fremaux.
“This [controversy] came up once the film was announced at Cannes because everybody knew Johnny had made a film in France … I don’t know why she chose him but it’s a question you should ask Maïwenn.”
“As for the rest, I’m the last person to be able to discuss all this,” he added. “If there’s one person in this world who didn’t find the least interest in this very publicized trial, it’s me. I don’t know what it’s about. I also care about Johnny Depp as an actor.”
Back in November 2020, Depp lost his U.K. libel suit, in which he sued British tabloid The Sun for calling him a “wife-beater.” Heard testified to back up the claims, and a London judge upheld the outlet’s claims as being “substantially true.” In March 2021, his attempt to overturn that decision was overruled.
Separately, a jury in Virginia sided mostly with Depp in a trial last year. He won all three counts of defamation he brought against Heard, and Heard won one of three claims in her countersuit. Both appealed the verdict but reached a settlement in December.
Heard, 37, who will pay $1 million as part of the settlement, said in a lengthy statement at the time: “I have made no admission. This is not an act of concession. There are no restrictions or gags with respect to my voice moving forward.”