Maïwenn Says It Was ‘Difficult’ to Shoot ‘Jeanne du Barry’ with Johnny Depp: ‘The Crew Were Afraid of Him’

On May 2, American theatergoers will finally get a chance to see “Jeanne du Barry,” Maïwenn’s take on the romance between King Louis XV and his eponymous lover, that opened the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. The film earned plenty of controversy for Depp’s casting and Maïwenn’s altercation with a journalist prior to its release. Now, its director is ready to speak about the chaotic filmmaking process.

In a new interview with The Independent ahead of the film’s theatrical release, Maïwenn reflected on the tumultuous experience of collaborating with Depp.

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“I have to be honest. It’s difficult to shoot with him,” Maïwenn said. “All the crew were scared because he has a different kind of humor 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.”

While both Maïwenn and Depp promoted the film during its Cannes premiere and the run up to its theatrical release, the director explained that she no longer maintains a relationship with Depp.

“There’s been no normal relationship since the shoot,” Maïwenn said. “Johnny for me is a huge genius but he’s in another world. I cannot communicate with him.”

Much of the discourse surrounding “Jeanne du Barry” focused on Depp’s acting comeback following his high profile defamation trial against Amber Heard. But once the film premiered at Cannes, critics pointed out that his role in the film is ultimately much smaller than many initially imagined.

“Zeroing in on a glamorous notable from this or that royal court, and using them a kind of mannequin over which to drape lofty themes and embellishments, ‘Jeanne du Barry’ is a perfectly serviceable entry in a genre born of the stage and perfected by Old Hollywood: the star showcase,” Ben Croll wrote in his IndieWire review of the film following its Cannes premiere. “That the icon in the spotlight is writer-director-lead actor Maïwenn, and not her American co-star Johnny Depp, should come as a relief to some, a crushing disappointment to others, and surprise to absolutely no one. Just look at the film’s title.”

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