Actor Johnny Depp finally called out the movie powerhouses that booted him from his wildly successful film franchises after a smear campaign was launched against him by his ex-wife.
Perhaps there’s something magical–nay transformative–about a dark green bottle of San Pelligrino water, a microphone, and the visible support of a supporting cast, as that’s all it took for Johnny Depp to finally have his say about the way Hollywood, major film studios, and haters have responded toward him over the last five to six years during a press conference for his latest film at the 76th Cannes Film Festival in Southern France, which kicked off on Tuesday evening.
Johnny Depp has one of the most lengthy resumes in Hollywood. He began his career with a tiny role in Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) before appearing in Platoon (1986). But he began to see a rise in his fame and fandom when he played a constant role in the television series 21 Jump Street from 1987 to 1990. His role in Edward Scissorhands in 1990 seemed to be a springboard for Depp, opening the floodgates of Hollywood roles for the young actor. He starred in Cry-Baby (1990), What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), Benny and Joon (1993), Ed Wood (1994), Dead Man (1995), Donnie Brasco (1997), and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), and Sleepy Hollow (1999).
He went on to play the iconic Captain Jack Sparrow in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise (2003–2017). Depp received rave reviews for his role in Chocolat (2000) before starring in Finding Neverland (2004), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Corpse Bride (2005), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), Public Enemies (2009), and Alice in Wonderland (2010). And that’s just the beginning.
Depp’s most recent film, Jeanne du Barry, tells the story of King Louis XV and his love affair with a working-class woman during the 18th century. In the film, Depp takes the throne, breathing new life into Louis XV, who was known as “Louis the Beloved” and ruled as King of France from 1715 to 1774.
On Wednesday, during a press conference for the film at the Cannes Film Festival, Depp sat among a panel of actors, actresses, directors, and producers from the French film–including director and co-star Maiwenn–and fielded questions from a very captive audience. But none of the inquiries posed to the nearly 40-year Hollywood veteran actor related to Jeanne du Barry. Rather, Depp was subjected to a barrage of questions about his personal life–a personal life that has been cast into the very public spotlight in recent years.
In 2018, Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard penned a scathing opinion piece for The Washington Post in which she alleged–as a United States courtroom jury would decide during a defamation case against her in 2022–that she was a victim of domestic abuse and domestic violence. Though she never mentioned Johnny Depp’s name in her piece, she wrote it in such a way so that readers would draw that conclusion for themselves. And it worked, resulting in an immediate loss of income, loss of film roles, and loss of respect for the Hollywood actor who had worked tirelessly to make a name for himself.
During Wednesday’s press conference, Depp was initially asked how he felt knowing there were some who wanted him excluded entirely from the yearly French film event, and his answer was flawless.
“So, we’re talking theoretically about what I would do if there were people who didn’t want me at the Cannes Film Festival?” Depp clarified. And his answer was not only powerful, poignant, and on-point, but it was also delivered with Depp’s signature calm and grace.
“What if one day, they did not allow me, under [any] circumstances, no matter what, [to] go to McDonald’s–for life?” he asked. As laughter is heard in the audience, Depp continued, saying, “Because somewhere, if you got them all in a room, there’d be 39 angry people watching me eat a Big Mac on a loop, just for fun.”
“Who are ‘they?'” he continued. “Why do ‘they’ care?” Depp went on to paint an image with words for the audience–one in which a person–likely a social media troll–is seated behind a computer alongside a “tower of mashed potatoes covered in the light of that computer screen, anonymous, with apparently a lot of spare time.” Depp paused for a moment before finishing his response with, “I don’t think I’m the one who should be worried; I think people should really think about what it’s all about.”
Depp’s new film was to be the focus of Wednesday’s press conference, but with each new question, one thing became clear: reporters at the festival weren’t interested in the story of King Louis XV and his commoner-lover. They were, however, laser-focused on Depp’s personal life and how the accusations, opinions, and allegations of others affected him. He answered each question with grace and a natural charm.
But the most profound moment of the press conference took place as Johnny Depp responded to a question about whether he felt boycotted by Hollywood. Depp took the opportunity to have a last word of sorts with Disney and Warner Bros., the two filmmaking giants that excused the defamed actor, despite the fact that both franchises had long-standing and highly-lucrative relationships with Depp.
Disney made the egregious, premature, and unfair decision to drop Johnny Depp from the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise–a franchise for which he’d already made five super-lucrative films and which has become a nearly $5 billion enterprise over the years because of Depp’s portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow. In a similar fashion, Warner Bros. had Depp step down from his Fantastic Beasts role as Gellert Grindelwald in the Harry Potter film franchise.
Though Depp was gracious in response, choosing not to mention the studios by name, he talked about the baseless, senseless reasoning for being forced to step away from film projects.
“You’d have to not have a pulse at that point to feel like ‘no, none of this is happening.’ Of course, when you’re asked to resign from a 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.”
But Depp says he doesn’t feel boycotted by Hollywood because–well, he doesn’t pay too much attention to Hollywood.
“I don’t feel boycotted by Hollywood because I don’t think about it,” he said. “I don’t think about Hollywood, and I don’t have much further need for Hollywood myself.”
Throughout the line of questioning, Depp continued to point back to the focus of the press conference being on Maiwenn’s new French film. But his words simply did not resonate with reporters.
“You believe what you believe, [but] the truth is the truth,” Depp spoke somewhat candidly about the false allegations that have been used as a weapon against him. “What you’ve read over the last five or six years is fantastically, horrifically written fiction.”
As for Depp’s reported comeback, the famed actor says he’s perplexed. “I’ve had 17 comebacks, apparently,” he said with a smile. He says he doesn’t understand why the word “comeback” is being used about him, as it makes it sound like he’s planning to come out at the Cannes Festival and “dance my best and hope that you approve.” For Depp, “comeback” simply doesn’t make sense.
“I didn’t go anywhere,” Depp said.
You can see the press conference here: