Johnny Depp's Jeanne Du Barry Director Explains Why It Was 'Difficult To Shoot' With Him

 Johnny Depp in French formal royal wear in Jeanne Du Barry.
Johnny Depp in French formal royal wear in Jeanne Du Barry.

Maïwenn is not afraid to talk about the difficulties that came with working alongside Johnny Depp on her movie Jeanne Du Barry. While she doesn't regret casting the actor – and he said he’s “endlessly grateful” for her taking a chance on him – ahead of the project’s premiere on the 2024 movie schedule, she opened up about the challenges that came with Depp being in her movie.

In the film, Maïwenn, the director, also plays the titular Jeanne, a sex worker who gets the attention of Louis XV, who is played by Depp. While speaking with The Independent, she went into detail about the challenges she faced while working with the Pirates of the Caribbean star. She claimed he wouldn’t show up to set on time, and they were “waiting for Johnny, a lot of the time.” She also talked about him showing up after rewriting parts of the script, not attending rehearsals and being hard to communicate with generally. Talking about this experience, she said:

I have to be honest. It’s difficult to shoot with him... all the crew were scared because he has a different kind of humour and we didn’t know if he was going to be on time, or if he was going to be OK to say his lines... I mean, even if he was there on set, on time, the crew were afraid of him.

Continuing on, Maïwenn said she hasn’t had a “normal relationship since the shoot" with Depp. While she called him a “genius,” she noted that communication did not come easily, and that was an issue.

While it was reported that he was hesitant to join Jeanne Du Barry, he also said he was “lucky” to have the part, and the director said that when they met the first time they had a great conversation. The story does note she had a good relationship with him before the shoot, which was during a time before Depp’s defamation trials.

It sounds like things got really rough when they started filming. She explained that there would be times when Depp would come to the set after rewriting the script. The director wasn’t going to rewrite her movie, so instead, she used the actor’s annoyance to her advantage, telling the outlet:

Johnny came with a new version of the script and I wasn’t happy with it. It didn’t work... So I shot it without making the changes he wanted… which he took as an insult.

This led to “distance” in the scene between Jeanne and Louis, and she liked that.

Maïwenn also explained that Depp lost lines in the film not out of spite, but because that’s simply what happens while making a movie, and when she tried to have rehearsal sometimes he wouldn’t show up.

Along with all this, there’s been a lot of hesitant discourse surrounding this movie, which is Depp’s first post-trial project. After facing criticism for being part of Cannes last spring, critics reacted to Jeanne Du Barry with middling to negative reviews.

Now, Jeanne Du Barry is about to premiere in the U.S. – on May 2 to be exact – and it will be interesting to see how it's received.