Veteran actor Johnny Depp is set to step behind the camera and direct his first feature film in more than two decades.
Depp will direct the upcoming film Modigliani, and biographical film about Italian painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani. The artist lived from 1884 until 1920. He was best known for his modernist approach to capturing the human form through his surreal paintings. His work was never well-received during his short lifetime. But after his death at the age of 35 his work gained great popularity. The film takes place in 1916 Paris and revolves around an eventful 48-hour period in the artist’s life that becomes the turning point in his artistic career.
Not only will Depp direct, but famed actor Al Pacino is also set to serve as one of the film’s producers alongside Barry Navidi. Depp issued a statement to Variety about his excitement for the project. The outlet broke the news of the film’s development.
“The saga of Mr. Modigliani’s life is one that I’m incredibly honored, and truly humbled, to bring to the screen,” Depp said. “It was a life of great hardship, but eventual triumph – a universally human story all viewers can identify with.”
Johnny Depp’s Comeback
Modigliani is Depp’s latest effort to get his career back in motion after the very public and highly controversial defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard. The case concluded with the jury ruling that Heard knowingly defamed Depp in 2018 when she accused him of domestic abuse.
While the jury also found Depp to be liable for defamation against Heard, she was ordered to pay Depp $15 million in damages. Heard’s lawyers have since said they plan to appeal the ruling. But Depp is looking to move on by taking on his first major projects since the beginning of the suit.
Variety’s report did not indicate whether Depp will star in Modigliani in addition to directing. But his next acting role is confirmed to take place in French filmmaker Maïwenn’s next film, La Favorite. The French language stars Depp as King Louis XV as the controversial ruler of France from the 18th century. The film is currently shooting in Versailles.
The last time Depp stepped behind the camera to direct a film was 1997’s The Brave. Not only did he direct, but he co-wrote that film with his brother D.P. Depp. He also starred in the film alongside Hollywood legend, Marlon Brando. Despite the talent behind it, The Brave was critically dragged upon release. Variety’s review of The Brave called the film “a turgid and unbelievable neo-western.” The reception was so poor that the film never saw release in American theaters or on home video. Hopefully, Depp’s next turn as director is better received.