Johnny Depp to Star as Controversial French King Louis XV in Maiwenn’s Next Film

Johnny Depp will star as French king Louis XV in the next film directed by French helmer Maiwenn (“Polisse,” “Mon Roi”) whose shoot will begin this summer, Variety has confirmed.

The movie, whose title and exact plot are kept under wraps, is being produced by Pascal Caucheteux and Gregoire Sorlat’s Paris-based Why Not Productions (“A Prophet”), with Wild Bunch International (“Titane”) handling world sales.

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Filming will take place for three months on location across Parisian landmarks, mainly at the Versailles Palace.

Maiwenn will star as Jeanne du Barry, a countess who was Louis XV’s last mistress.

Louis XV, who was nicknamed “the beloved” and reigned for 59 years, the longest in the history of France after that of Louis XIV. Paradoxically, Louis XV died as an unpopular king after being accused of corruption and debauchery. The project was first reported by the French website Satellifax.

The American actor, who has been accused by his ex-wife Amber Heard of domestic violence, hasn’t made a film since Andrew Levitas’s 2020 film “Minamata,” a film about war photographer W. Eugene Smith.

Although he’s fallen from Hollywood’s good graces since the accusations and his libel case against U.K. tabloid The Sun, Depp hasn’t faced much backlash in Europe. He recently received honorary awards at the Karlovy Vary Festival and San Sebastian Film Festival. Depp was also celebrated at the Deauville American Film Festival, in the French Normandy, in 2020, and received an award from the hands of Catherine Deneuve.

Unless Maiwenn’s film shoots in English, which is unlikely, this role as Louis XV will require Depp to work on his French. He lived in France for many years with Vanessa Paradis, with whom he has a daughter, Lily Rose Depp, but still has a noticeable American accent.

The period movie will mark a departure for Maiwenn, an actor-turned-filmmaker whose films are all contemporary and often personal. Her last film “DNA,” a thought-provoking ensemble family drama was part of Cannes 2020’s Official Selection. Her previous film, “Mon Roi” earned its star Emmanuelle Bercot a best actress award at Cannes in 2015; while her 2011 drama “Polisse” won the Cannes jury prize.

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